Churches and sexuality

 

Sir, – There is no doubt that the Presbyterian Church in Ireland has adopted measures which encourage kirk sessions and presbyteries to deny full church membership to those LGBTI people who are in long-term same-sex relationships, and to deny baptism to their children, discriminating against them on grounds of sexuality and marital status, which is wholly in contravention of the principles of Ireland’s equality laws. This discrimination will be done behind closed doors, supposedly for reasons of confidentiality.

Some of us do not see the Gospel in authoritarian terms, or as a means of rewarding the self-righteous. We try to pay loyal attention to the firm and repeated biblical instructions to treat each other with love and respect. It is encouraging that the Presbyterian Church of Canada has recently joined those Churches in the reformed church community who permit clergy to conduct same-sex marriages, and also ordain clergy and elders who are themselves partners in same-sex relationships. I hope enthusiastically that the Presbyterian Church in Ireland will before long come to share the same gracious attitudes. – Yours, etc,

ROBIN SIMMONS,

Dublin 14.

Sir, – Your editorial “A relentless obsession – Churches and sexuality” (June 10th) is thought provoking indeed.

The role of the Christian Church is to be the Sacrament of Christ; to proclaim His Gospel and to promote and live by Kingdom values.

In carrying out its mission it endeavours to be catholic (ie all embracing), inclusive and welcoming to all.

There can be no room for bigotry or any kind of cultural or religious prejudice.

Galatians 3:26-28 provides the template.

For past hurts and present failures, it humbly seeks pardon.

Kindly be patient. It is trying to remove the plank from its ecclesial eye. Yes, it is deeply embedded, but out the plank will and must come. – Yours, etc,

Fr LAURENCE CULLEN,

Geevagh,

Boyle,

Co Sligo.