Hypocrisy: Private Acceptance, Public Censure

The openly homosexual Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire has flung down a gauntlet at the Church of England.

The Bishop of New Hampshire in the US, the Right Rev Gene Robinson, who is divorced and lives openly in partnership with a gay man, said he found it “mystifying” that the mother church of the Anglican Communion was unable to be honest about the number of gay clergy in its ranks.

He said many of the English church’s clergy lived openly in their rectories with gay partners, with the full knowledge of their bishops. But he criticized the stance of bishops who threaten the clergy with enmity should their relationships become public.

Speaking in an interview in London, Bishop Gene said: “I have met so many gay partnered clergy here and it is so troubling to hear them tell me that their bishop comes to their house for dinner, knows fully about their relationship, is wonderfully supportive but has also said if this ever becomes public then I’m your worst enemy. The Times Online

All other important considerations aside, and there are many, this, if true, shows the depth of corruption at the heart of the English Church. Sin is not important unless it becomes public and the public doesn’t like it. Talk about the depths of hypocrisy! That is not honorable in the least. It is far from Christian and the responsibilities those in authority have before God and man.

I believe this was inevitable. The Church is an institution (whatever denomination or expression) and this failing is the nature of institutions. Christ did not found an institution, but the family of God, a brotherhood of believers. However, before long, as the size of the family grows, it slowly institutionalizes itself. Eventually the bureaucracy reaches the point where its own existence is primary and the fundamental mission it was brought into being to support becomes clouded and compromised. Then the bureaucracy’s primary mission is sustaining itself, not its original mission, no matter how important.

That does not mean there will not be people who believe in the original mission, who take its demands to heart. However, they will be fewer in number as time passes, until they become a danger in themselves and are actively repressed. In the end, all institutions become hypocritical. It appears to be the nature of things and we now live in a world completely run by institutions. That draws me up short and gives me pause…

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