The office of the Archbishop of York is sending a pro-forma email response to people who have emailed him about the revocation of Jeremy Pemberton’s PTO:
Thank you for your email in response to the Acting Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham’s decision to revoke the Permission to Officiate of The Revd Jeremy Pemberton, following his civil marriage to his same sex partner.
The Bishop’s action, and more recently his decision to withhold of a licence in relation to an NHS Chaplaincy post in the Diocese, is consistent with the Pastoral Guidance issued by the House of Bishops earlier this year. The relevant sections are Sections 25-28, below.
25. The Church of England will continue to place a high value on theological exploration and debate that is conducted with integrity. That is why Church of England clergy are able to argue for a change in its teaching on marriage and human sexuality, while at the same time being required to fashion their lives consistently with that teaching.
26. Getting married to someone of the same sex would, however, clearly be at variance with the teaching of the Church of England. The declarations made by clergy and the canonical requirements as to their manner of life do have real significance and need to be honoured as a matter of integrity.
27. The House is not, therefore, willing for those who are in a same sex marriage to be ordained to any of the three orders of ministry. In addition it considers that it would not be appropriate conduct for someone in holy orders to enter into a same sex marriage, given the need for clergy to model the Church’s teaching in their lives.
28. The Church of England has a long tradition of tolerating conscientious dissent and of seeking to avoid drawing lines too firmly, not least when an issue is one where the people of God are seeking to discern the mind of Christ in a fast changing context. Nevertheless at ordination clergy undertake to ‘accept and minister the discipline of this Church, and respect authority duly exercised within it.’ We urge all clergy to act consistently with that undertaking.
It is clear, above, that whilst clergy are able to argue for a change in the Church’s teaching, they are expected to fashion their lives according to it. Bishop Inwood has acted entirely in accordance with the House of Bishops guidelines.
With every blessing,
The Most Revd & Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu,
Archbishop of York.