Church fires cleric for views on ordination of gay priests


Clearly this is only half the story. When the full story is told, the fat will be really in the fire for ACSA. It is time for truth and reality.

Leila Samoden In Cape Argus 12th February 2011 (page10)

A CLERIC has been fired from the Anglican Church after speaking out against the ordination of openly gay priests.

The Reverend Clifford Felix, a priest at the Simon of Cyrene church in Parkwood Estate near Grassy Park, had his licence revoked and is “no longer permitted to serve as a priest”, according to the Diocese of False Bay, under whose authority the church falls.

He was brought before an ecclesiastical tribunal which found him guilty on three charges.

The charges were levelled against Felix last July, after he’d delivered a sermon to the congregation and distributed e-mails to a number of people – some of them outside the diocese – denouncing the ordination of gay priests.

Felix acknowledges his actions, saying he stands by his statements.

“We’re the only country in Africa that is unopposed to (gay priests being ordained). As an Anglican and as a priest, I could never agree to it. You cannot remove the ancient landmarks of the faith.” Many other Anglican clerics felt as strongly as he did, but were reluctant to speak up, he said.

“There is fear among clerics. They fear they’ll lose their cost-free homes – and I’m obviously the example of what will happen to them if they do say something. However, I refuse to be untrue to God’s word.”

Felix has appealed to both the Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba and the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to set aside the tribunal’s ruling. The hearings were presided over by the Reverend Peter Lee, bishop of the Diocese of Christ the King in Joburg.

Felix’s sacking has split the Church of Simon of Cyrene down the middle, and when the announcement was made during Sunday’s service, half the congregation walked out.

A displeased member of the congregation, who asked not to be named, said it was unacceptable that they had not been informed sooner.

She, too, has written a letter of complaint to Makgoba.

The issue has divided the Anglican church inter nationally too. Most African countries have refused to accept the progressive stance adopted in the West.

In a statement, issued in response to Weekend Argus questions, the False Bay diocese saidFelix was not charged for his personal beliefs and views.

“He has an inalienable right to those views, and like other clergy has been free to express them in synods and other forums,” it read.

“It is for the disruptive and destructive way in which he has gone about raising issues that he was charged. He was bound to uphold and respect the structures of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, and to observe canonical obedience to those set in authority over him, and this he failed to do,” the statement said.

The three charges on which he was found guilty were:

Causing scandal and offence by sending e-mails, the purpose of which was to bring the diocese, its bishop Mervyn Castle and its management into disrepute.

Causing dissention and disunity in his parish and the diocese through “unruly, rude and abrasive conduct”.

Deliberately disobeying Bishop Castle’s instructions and those of other senior ministers.

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