Letter: Gay priests fear betrayal too

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The Independent Online
Sir: Robert Runcie fears that gay clergy might "stab me in the back because I wasn't one of them" ("Runcie feared gay betrayal", 7 September). Acknowledging that a "large" percentage of Church of England clergy are homosexual, and that he has knowingly ordained gay priests, his anxieties should have given him a keen insight into that fear of betrayal that gay clergy constantly live with.

Vulnerable people often make sensitive pastors. Fear can also paralyse them. That Robert Runcie and some of his fellow bishops knowingly ordained gay priests (albeit not asking too many questions) suggests they felt that the current discipline of the Church of England was wrong. The sorrow of their position is not that they ordained these priests, but that they continued to give public support to a policy their hearts distrusted.

The gay priests that Robert Runcie and other bishops have ordained still fear betrayal into the hands of those who would deny their ministries, and they find it very hard to take part in the current debate because honesty may cost them their priesthood.

They need the advocacy and the protection of those bishops who, like Robert Runcie, are willing to endorse the ministry of gay priests. When will these bishops speak the truth that is in their hearts?

REV SIMON TATTON-BROWN

Westhoughton

Greater Manchester

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