Moratorium attacked

Juan Kinnear
Juan Kinnear
A gay Dunedin Anglican priest has attacked a move to observe a moratorium that would mean no more ordinations of partnered gays and lesbians for the time being.

The Rev Juan Kinnear, whose ordination at St Paul's Cathedral in 2006 sparked controversy in the Church, has argued the Church has not reached consensus on other issues, such as the ordination of women, but those went ahead.

He said yesterday gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (GLBT) people were an easy target and, in a church that had discarded so many religious taboos, discrimination against gay people remained "the most enduring holy prejudice".

Mr Kinnear was responding to a decision by the bishop-elect of the Anglican Diocese of Dunedin, the Venerable Dr Kelvin Wright, to stick to the Church's guideline, and observe the moratorium on the ordination of partnered gays and lesbians.

Mr Kinnear was ordained by the Bishop of Dunedin, the Right Rev George Connor, who decided not to observe it when he performed the ceremony.

The Ven Dr Wright, whose election to the position was announced on Sunday, yesterday stepped back from the debate and said he not yet had an opportunity to canvass his diocese on the matter.

Mr Kinnear said, by email, the churches which made up the Anglican communion had never recognised a centralised ruling body in the same way the Roman Catholic Church did.

The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, among others, had resisted a shift from local autonomy to centralised accountability, and continued to admit gays to positions of leadership within their communities, and to affirm same-sex relationships in their churches.

"In a New Zealand context, the canons [rules] of the local church do not outlaw the ordination of people in same-sex relationships."

He said Dr Wright's decision not to ordain suitable candidates in same-sex relationships was "presumably in an attempt not to upset conservative local church leaders and to remain in the good books of those Anglican churches in New Zealand, and globally, who oppose the inclusion of GLBT Christians in the leadership of the Church".

To suggest, as Dr Wright did on Sunday, the Church would at some point come to a consensus on the issue was "highly implausible".

"The Church has yet to reach consensus on the ordination of women, yet the Anglican Church in New Zealand has ordained women for many years.

"The church has yet to reach consensus on the re-marriage of previously divorced people, yet the Anglican Church of NZ has proceeded with these marriages for many years.

"Why did it not wait for the whole church to come to one mind on these matters, as the bishop-elect suggests?"

Responding to Mr Kinnear, Dr Wright described the argument as "thoughtful and well-considered views".

"From my perspective, I am not yet a bishop, have not yet had an opportunity to canvass the whole mind of our diocese on this matter, and would greatly welcome Juan's obviously well-researched opinions on this matter any time he wishes to meet with me and share them.

"Apart from that, I feel I have clearly stated my position and, at this point, do not have anything further to add."

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