The Archbishop of Perth, Kay Goldsworthy, chose on Wednesday evening to continue with and preside over the ordination to the priesthood of a man living with his civil union partner despite receiving a formal objection from a large number of members of the diocese, both clergy and lay.
The letter of objection, forwarded to davidould.net, is signed by 25 clergy, 12 wardens, 18 parish councillors and 64 other church members. It asks the Archbishop to not proceed with ordaining the candidate:
With regard to The Reverend Andrew Milne, we note that he is presently in a civil union with another man, with whom he currently lives. While assurances have been given that this relationship is not sexual, we nonetheless regard this as unacceptable on the following grounds:
- Marriage is fundamentally the lifelong commitment of two persons to one another, to the exclusion of all others, in which a new family is created. It is the doctrine of the Anglican Church of Australia that marriages are contracted between one man and one woman. A same sex civil union establishes a marriage-like relationship contrary to this definition and to the teaching of Scripture.
- Faithfulness in service, states the following: “You should avoid situations where you are vulnerable to temptation or where your conduct may be construed as a breach of the standards of sexual conduct in this Code.” The candidate’s current living arrangement is a clear breach of this provision.
The letter accompanying the objection also mentions another candidate for ordination who had only been married shortly before being made a deacon, despite having lived for many years previously with a women with whom he had fathered children and having been accepted for ordination while living in that manner. We previously reported on that ordination of deacons. During that original ordination of deacons an objection was voiced at the appropriate point in the service. The livestream of the service was cut at that moment and returned when the Archbishop made her response.
This time, the objection (which had been provided in advance to the Archbishop) was included in the livestream along with a written response by the Archbishop.
Archbishop Goldsworthy had also written to the objectors, represented by EFAC WA Chair Marc Dale. davidould.net has been sent copies of both the EFAC letter of objection and Archbishop Goldsworthy’s response:
The clergy objecting represent more than 15% of clergy in the diocese (based on 2022 General Synod delegate numbers). The laity represent a variety of the largest parishes and the overwhelming majority of financial contributions for the diocese from the parishes.
At the recent diocesan synod Archbishop Goldsworthy had stated that there was no definition of the terms “chaste” and “disgraceful conduct of a sexual nature”. She went on to assert that “It is for the Professional Standards Board to assess on the facts of each case what is “chaste” or not and what is “disgraceful conduct” or not.”
I understand that, relying upon the Archbishop’s answer above, a complaint has been made to the Professional Standards Board. Nevertheless the ordination has continued. It appears that the Archbishop has chosen to continue despite her own acknowledgement that the Professional Standards Board process would be able to provide a definitive response to the complaint.
I am also unable to identify any other occasion in the history of the Anglican Church of Australia where such a large number of objections to an ordination have been made, let alone the ordination continuing.