C of I out of touch, dean claims as he prepares to leave Ireland


The Church of Ireland is out of touch with society and is not prepared to tolerate liberal views, the Dean of Tuam, Ian Corbett, has said.

The Co Galway dean, who gained widespread attention last year for his paper on homosexuality for the Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops, has decided to leave Ireland to work with native Americans in Canada.

His church has "shrivelled into a sect" in the west, he says, and the Catholic Church is now far more willing to change.

"I am not running away," Dean Corbett, who has held the post in Tuam and parts of Connemara for 18 months, told The Irish Times. "But I feel that it is morally wrong to use my position as a platform for views which my congregation does not share." After he aired his views on homosexuality last year, his bishop received complaints from his parishioners, and he experienced considerable verbal aggression, he said. Dean Corbett believes the Church of Ireland is caught in a time warp, and is in danger of dying out altogether if it does not take a close look at itself. He has had support from individual bishops, but has found that the progressive nature of the church in Dublin is not matched elsewhere. He believes that homosexuality is an important theological, ethical and human rights issue which should be faced positively for the sake of future generations.

The dean, who organised a successful arts festival in Tuam last year, believes the Church of Ireland has a death wish and has become little more than a club.

Before coming to Galway, he served in South Africa and in Westminster.

He will leave his posting on April 4th.