From Greg outta England:

The comments from Ripon and Leeds are shocking. In 2004 I wrote a Masters dissertation which proposed a study of the bullying of homosexual clergy in the CofE. the study itself hasn't happened, but in writing this dissertation II found several studies in my literature review suggesting that if anyone looked they may well find an issue. Three sources I drew upon were:

Sani, F. Reicher, S. (2000) ‘Contested identities and schisms in groups: Opposing the ordination of women as priests in the Church of England’ British Journal of Social Psychology 2000, 39, pp95-112, British Psychological Society

Manufacturing Science and Finance Union (1998) ‘Report on the experience of women following ordination to the priesthood in the Church of England’, in BBC News, 5 April 1998.

Fletcher, B. (1991) Clergy Under Stress, A study of homosexual and heterosexual clergy, London, Mowbray

To quote my dissertation:

"Church attention has begun to focus openly on bullying in the past six or seven years, notably with a survey in six dioceses (the regional administrative regions of the Church) by the Manufacturing Science and Finance Union (1998), now merged into the trade union Amicus. This survey consulted several hundred women priests out of approximately two thousand now working in the Church, and from the sample found over 70% had experienced some form of bullying since 1992 when they had begun to be ordained as priests. This bullying, only rarely physical in nature, came from a range of sources: Parishioners, colleagues and managers. In addition to this, the national press occasionally reports instances of bullying in the Church, such as in an article about bullying that quoted one male priest speaking of his relationship with his Bishop:
“For three years now I have been harassed and bullied and then left to stew in turn…” (The Times, 17 December 2002)

As this report goes on to record, the National Secretary of Amicus, Chris Ball, considered that bullying is an issue for employees of the Church just as in any other workplace. What is different about the Church is its special status as a religious institution, which until 2003 was largely exempt from employment regulations.

The Church’s reaction to such disclosures has been to condemn bullying and make clear its intention to combat it, while also observing that because so much evidence is anecdotal or partial, it cannot be treated as conclusive. Whether such promises, while very positive, extend convincingly to gay employees is contested, given that the Church is currently campaigning to be exempt from the relevant legislation. In practice, does, for example, ‘simple’ disadvantage like not being allowed to be a cleric and have a same-sex partner, or to be a cleric, openly have a same-sex partner and therefore be required to turn down preferment (Fletcher, 1991) constitute bullying, institutional homophobia or a right application of God’s holy law?" (2004)

I know these sources are now old, but the evidence has been around for years and it is disappointing to see bishops still appparently unaware - unless they think things have improved for some undefined reason. How do these people get to be bishops? Thank God for Bishop Alan too.

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