Friday, 18 March 2011

Church in Wales recommends action against 'homophobic' clergy

UPDATE: the full report is here.

The relevant paragraphs would appear to be 22, 29 and 35:
22. It is necessary to provide a policy with guidance to clerics on the dangers of emotional abuse arising out of the inappropriate use of pastoral supervision or theological teaching.

29. The cleric as role model, as seen by children and young people is significant. This needs to be fully recognised and appreciated by the Church in Wales. Inappropriate and unacceptable conduct such as discriminatory behaviour involving aggression, bullying or attitudes such as homophobia should not be tolerated and can in some instances be emotionally abusive. This should be a professional development issue and where necessary, subject to disciplinary procedures.

35. Reference has been made earlier to the need for policy and guidance in relation to certain approaches to ministry within the Church in Wales (see 21 and 22 above). It would be appropriate to initiate a debate on the subject which would include exploring the importance of ensuring responsible attitudes towards age appropriate emotional and spiritual growth. This would ensure that the Church in Wales exercises its duty to protect children and young people from spiritual and emotional abuse.

From the Church of England Newspaper, March 18th:
On March 9, the church released the findings of an 18-month investigation conducted on its behalf by social worker Elaine Cloke of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales’ office. It called for stricter sanctions for clergy engaged in physical, emotional and spiritual abuse, including homophobic attitudes.

The investigation reviewed 1381 clergy files. Of these 219 were referred for further action.

However, the “majority of these referrals related to incomplete service records and other complaints in relation to clergy conduct and personnel issues. Of these cases only five files were identified as containing information relating to child protection and safeguarding which required further action. These were referred on to the appropriate agencies following discussions with the relevant Bishop,” the report said.

The police declined to take any action against the five clergymen.

The report offered 36 recommendations for strengthening the Church’s child protection policies, including compulsory child abuse prevention training, increasing awareness of domestic violence, and providing guidance to clergy “on the dangers of emotional abuse arising out of the inappropriate use of pastoral supervision or theological teaching.” [My italics]

Hmmm. Any further information, anyone?

Please give a full name and location when posting. Comments without this information may be deleted.


  1. Hi John,

    Can you confirm that the italicisation is the CEN's and not your own?

    Dan Baynes
    Barton Seagrave

  2. Am I right in thinking that the issue is abuse of this measure by liberal bishops, as surely we should be supporting moves to stop homophobia?

    Mike, Lancs

  3. Mike - above all I'd support moves to DEFINE homophobia.


  4. Mike, Dan has picked up the point. What is homophobia? Lord Justice Laws says it is not any and every opposition to homosexuality and homosexual practice. On the other hand, Derby City Council seems to think it is!

  5. Thanks Dan and John,

    Here is a link to Peter Ould's website, a priest who describes himself as 'post-gay', and an interview he did on homophobia:


  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. That was quick removal John. Sorry I missed it. What was the troll saying exactly?


  8. Well, it wasn't really trolling. In fact, it was quite an imaginative little poem, which had obviously been worked on.

    But on the other hand it was also simply negative, and I do get tired of asking people to give a name and a location, which I think is the least you can do if you're having a dig at everyone else.

    If whoever it was wants to put it back up with a name and location, they're welcome to do so!

  9. Satan is claiming victories he has not won, through his mouthpiece, the newspaper. The juxtaposition of unrelated paragraphs creates a false context, making it seem like the report is saying something it is not saying.

    Paragraph 22 does NOT establish that disapproval of homosexuality is a form of child abuse, theological, emotional or otherwise.

    Paragraph 29, which suggests that “homophobic attitudes” may be a form of “emotional abuse” refers to bullying by others. The role of the priest as a role model, divorced from Paragraph 22, appears related to his role in correcting the abuse of others. Properly read, then, Paragraph 29 calls for proper intercession by the priest to prevent bullying and emotional abuse among children, such as homophobic bullying. It does NOT establish that recognizing the sinfulness of fornication, such as homosexual sex, constitutes homophobia.

    (Apologies if this double posts.)

  10. Latest Anonymous, you nee to read the introduction to the Report, which makes it clear that it arises out of a comprehensive and historic review of clergy and lay worker service records, with a specific concern for child protection issues and clergy training and development.

  11. Isn't this debate all so 20th century in its outlook?

    Surely all disciples of Christ want to model the unconditional love he showed in reaching out to all people? Well, OK. If not all disciples, then surely all ministers of the gospel?

    I suggest it is a Christian's duty to break down the barriers that cause division, in order that we may offer a warm, friendly welcome to all, accepting everyone as they are; not seeking to force anyone to adopt our own cultural mores, but instead moving ourselves in order that we may become as Christ to them.

    I know I've not expressed myself very well; I'm sure that others could do better. But the words of the hymn "Jesus, take me as I am. I can come no other way..." spring to mind and I want to pray: "Father, by the power of your holy spirit, help each person that I meet today to see and feel the inclusive, accepting love of Jesus Christ through my actions, my words and my attitude to them."