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Australian Bishop defends appointment of gay priest

Bishop speaks out against church group’s criticism of appointment of openly gay priest

Australian Bishop defends appointment of gay priest

An Anglican bishop in rural Australia has defended his decision to appoint an openly gay priest, despite criticism from a church group.

Bishop John McIntyre of Gippsland in rural Victoria appointed Reverend David Head to the Heyfield parish. The Sydney-based Anglican Church League, who describe themselves as ‘evangelical’, called on McIntyre to ‘rescind’ on his appointment.

‘The Anglican Church League expresses its dismay at the appointment of an openly homosexual man as priest in charge of a parish in the Diocese of Gippsland,’ a statement from Mark Thomson and Robert Tong, respectively president and chairman of the league, said. ‘The teaching of Scripture about appropriate sexual behaviour for disciples of Christ and the appointment of elders who are “beyond reproach”, is quite clear.’

The statement went on to say the Bishop was contradicting a resolution at the Anglican church’s 1998 Lambeth conference and resolutions of the General Synod of the Anglican Church.

Bishop McIntyre responded to the criticism by denying that he was going against any resolutions because he was not involved in the ordination of Rev Head, he had just appointed him to a different parish. Rev Head previously served in a parish in Melbourne living openly with his partner in the vicarage with the knowledge of his parishioners.

‘I see myself simply as having appointed to a position in this diocese a person who was, to use the formal language, “a priest in good standing in his previous diocese”,’ Bishop McIntyre told ABC Gippsland. ‘To that extent I don't see myself as having acted against either the Lambeth statement, nor do I see myself as having acted against a resolution of the general synod of our national church here in Australia.’

Bishop McIntyre also told Star Observer that he took the Lambeth resolution very seriously, and that the resolution also calls on Anglicans to condemn homophobia, minister sensitively to homosexual people, and assure that homosexual people know they are loved by God.

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