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Therapy, sexual orientation and picking the next ABC

Therapy, sexual orientation and picking the next ABC

Thinking Anglicans points us to an article in the Guardian about a member of the Crown Nominations Commission, psychiatrist Dr. Glynn Harrison, believes that therapy might work for clergy and others with “unwanted” same sex attraction.

A leading member of the Church of England who believes some gay people can be counselled to suppress or possibly change their sexual orientation is helping to select the next archbishop of Canterbury.

Glynn Harrison, emeritus professor of psychiatry at Bristol University, is on the Crown Nominations Commission, which will recommend a successor to Rowan Williams, to be approved by the prime minister and the Queen. His role on the 16-strong commission has alarmed some liberal Anglicans who fear it could deepen divisions over homosexuality in a church riven by the issues of holding gay civil ceremonies in churches and the consecration of gay bishops.

In a statement through the church, Harrison stated that he did not believe in a “gay cure” and had himself never offered formal counselling or therapy.

The Rev Colin Coward, director of Changing Attitude, the campaign for the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the Anglican communion, said Harrison’s position on the commission appeared “cranky in the extreme”.

Harrison’s supporters insist his views reflect a substantial section of Anglican opinion about homosexuality and it would be impossible to elect a leader of an estimated 50 million churchgoers worldwide without such views being represented.

Harrison has written recent articles saying that gay relationships “fall short of God’s purpose in creation”. He argues that using that therapy and pastoral ministry may be remedies for those clergy drawn to a gay relationship but who feel it is unchristian, saying “there is evidence that some people with unwanted same sex attractions can achieve significant change”.

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Roger Mortimer

Makes you wonder again who on the Commission was leaking to the press – notably the Telegraph – during the 2010 search for the new bishop of Southwark, to the detriment of Jeffrey John’s candidacy.

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