True or False?
What do you think? I propose:
(1) The one, holy, catholic and apostolic church has over most of its history knowingly ordained sexually active homosexuals.
(a) Indeed, the church may have ordained all manner of persons--patricides, kleptomaniacs, string fetishists. But of none of them could we make an assertion parallel to (1); they appear among the ordained, but with nowhere near a comparable frequency. Remember, I'm talking "knowingly" here.
(b) The church did so knowingly, even if officially disapproving. Prima facie, the church has a long history of hypocrisy around ordaining sexually active homosexuals. But an apologist for the church might reply "So what? Over most of the church's history, this was not widely known. It could be, and was, kept on the DL."
(c) "Sexually active" does not imply intercourse.
Now here is the kicker:
(2) The church will continue through most of its future history ordaining sexually active homosexuals.
How do I know? I am guessing, but I have some evidence. Despite protestations to the contrary, I bet the Church of England's stand on civil unions for gay priests institutionalizes the practice described in (2). Nor do I think the Roman Catholic Church will defrock its sexually active gay ordained. Here the church has a tradition--an immoral tradition, one that should not stand, but most likely will stand until Christ returns in Glory--of tolerating a contradiction between praxis and theory. Pious platitudes aside, this rank hypocrisy is a "fact on the ground" that you may, if you wish, chalk up to the hardness of our hearts.
But above all, you should keep (1) and (2) in mind when pious purple shirts proclaim brave new worlds of purity--whether speaking from Pittsburgh or Lagos or Canterbury. They are all of them already implicated; they will--I bet you, gentle reader--not repent. They could, you know, adopt either a tolerant stand, roughly with TEC and Canada, or they could bring back an Inquisition aimed at rooting out all sexually active homosexual priests and bishops. And remember, they will not just be looking for intercourse--unless we're friends of Bill, sex includes a little more than that. Indeed, I bet at the end of the day, precious few, if any, homosexual ordained would truly count as sexually inactive.
It seems to me that either stand is morally consistent, at least, even if the prospect of a new Inquisition aimed directly at sexually active homosexual priests and bishops is odious. But genuine Christian sobriety cannot know any other way. Tolerance--pastoral or doctrinal, as you will--or the Inquisition. I bet we shall see neither in the upcoming months and years. The real "Anglican Fudge"--alas--will be an altogether predictable survival of ecclesial hypocrisy, with Rowan Willaims leading the way.