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Title: Vocation that transcends hypocrisy : explorations of attitudes to homosexuality in the Church of England 1967-2007 through the voices of retired and serving clergy
Author: Maxwell, Sarah
ISNI:       0000 0004 2742 8795
Awarding Body: University of Chichester
Current Institution: University of Chichester
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis examines the ways in which homosexual clergy transcend the hypocrisy identified by the study as inherent within the Church of England's approach to them. It explores ways in which the homosexual respondents employ strategies to negotiate cognitive dissonance caused by the Church's stigmatisation of their lifestyle. It concludes by exploring reasons, hitherto largely unidentified, that explain why homosexual clergy choose to remain within the homonegative Church, presenting the Transcendent Vocation as their overarching motivation. This term, coined by the thesis, represents a conviction of God's calling felt so strongly by the homosexual respondents that they were determined to remain within the institution regardless of its treatment of them. Since the decriminalisation of homosexual acts in 1967 and despite subsequent secular liberalisation,' the Church of England has continued to maintain its traditional homonegative teaching. Successive reports have' . expressed the Church's desire to listen to the experiences of homosexuals. Focussing on the lived experiences of twelve heterogeneous homosexual clergymen, this thesis makes an important contribution to the 'listening process' as it explores how attitudes to homosexuality· shown to have developed during the period 1967-2007 have affected them. It provides evidence that homosexual clergymen are victims of hypocrisy on the part of the Church of England, and identifies reasons why they choose to tolerate this situation." Through analysis of interview data, not only from homosexual clergy but also from ten retired heterosexual clergymen whose ministries spanned the forty-year period, the thesis examines how, as secular attitudes became progressively more liberal and legal reforms outlawed discrimination, the Church made increasing use of hypocrisy in its approach to homosexual clergy. It is shown how the Church hypocritically manages to continue to use the services of practising homosexual clergy while officially forbidding them to exist, and that remarkably such clergy accept this state of affairs because of their Transcendent Vocation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BR Christianity ; HQ75 Homosexuality. Lesbianism