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Desmond Tutu’s daughter forced to leave priesthood

Desmond Tutu’s daughter forced to leave priesthood

Mpho Tutu-van Furth, daughter of one of the world’s best-known Christian leaders, has given up her right to officiate as a priest in South Africa following her marriage to her female partner, atheist Marceline van Furth, a Dutch academic.

According to this report, she said said the move had been forced on her following her wedding. She said in a statement:

The canon [law] of the South African church states that marriage is between one man and one woman.

After her marriage, the South African bishop who had given her permission to officiate as a priest in his diocese was:

Advised that he must revoke my licence. I offered to return my licence rather than require that he take it from me.

Although South Africa legalised same-sex marriage in 2006, the Anglican church in the country teaches that marriage is a union of a man and woman. The church will decide this year whether to adopt guidelines drawn up by its bishops on welcoming members who have entered into same-sex civil marriages.

The South African church is deeply divided on LGBT issues. However, Thabo Makgoba, the archbishop of Cape Town, has said:

We overcame deep differences over the imposition of sanctions against apartheid and over the ordination of women, and we can do the same over human sexuality.

The global Anglican communion has threatened to split over the issue. This year it imposed de facto sanctions on the US Episcopal church, which allows its clergy to conduct same-sex marriages.

Tutu-van Furth married Marceline van Furth in a civil wedding in the Netherlands in December. The couple – both of whom are divorced and have children – held a second ceremony at a vineyard owned by Richard Branson in Franschhoek this month.

desmondtutu_3

Desmond Tutu, above, who won global respect and admiration for his part in the struggle against apartheid, was permitted to give the couple a “father’s blessing”.

The former archbishop of Cape Town has campaigned in favour of gay rights and has backed same-sex marriage. The 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner said at the 2013 launch of the Free and Equal campaign in Cape Town:

I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place. I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this.

He added:

I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid. For me, it is at the same level.

Tutu-van Furth, who was ordained in the US in 2003, is the executive director of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation. Van Furth, an atheist, is a professor of paediatric infectious diseases at Vrije University in Amsterdam. She also works with the Tutu Foundation.

Tutu-van Furth said:

My wife and I meet across almost every dimension of difference. Some of our differences are obvious; she is tall and white, I am black and vertically challenged. Ironically, coming from a past where difference was the instrument of division, it is our sameness that is now the cause of distress. My wife and I are both women.

The Franschhoek celebration was conducted by Charlotte Bannister-Parker, a clergywoman from Oxford and a friend of the family. Clergy in the Church of England are banned from conducting same-sex marriages.

The diocese of Oxford said in a statement that:

The event was not a wedding, and nor was it a blessing of the couple. It was simply a celebration of a wedding that took place in the Netherlands in December last year.

Andrew Symes of Anglican Mainstream, a conservative grouping, called on Bannister-Parker to also resign as a priest. He insisted that she had:

Acted in a manner contrary to her ordination vows where she promised to uphold the doctrines of the church and abide by the teachings of scripture.

Cape Town bishop Raphael Hess said he was “vexed” by the need for Tutu-van Furth to renounce her clerical duties, but that he hoped it would be short-lived.

The time has come for us to exercise pastoral care, for us to demonstrate a shift that is reflected in the law. At the moment she cannot [minister] and she has accepted that but we are hoping that there might be a window for us to change it.

20 responses to “Desmond Tutu’s daughter forced to leave priesthood”

  1. CoastalMaineBird says:

    I feel my own heterosexual marriage crumble a bit further…

    Oh, wait – No I don’t.

    Just a big truck going by…

  2. Trevor Blake says:

    “I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this.”

    Guess what, my friend.

  3. Werret says:

    More nasty stupidity here …
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-36378690

    If only there was a place from which the pious were banned.

  4. Werret says:

    Why aren’t pedophile priests dealt with like this?

  5. Werret says:

    The arrogance and delusion of the pious are breathtaking …
    I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place. I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this.

    Does he really have a choice about heaven or hell?
    I thought archbishops know what god is and what god wants.

    Unbelievable ….

  6. Angela_K says:

    An atheist marrying a Christian, that sounds as though there is potential for conflict. Hopefully Ms M. van Furth will persuade Ms Tutu to abandon her superstition.

  7. barriejohn says:

    What on earth can one make of these people? While we all applaud their progressive, liberal stance, it is at complete variance with what their Bible says. Do they ever read it, or do they live in a little fantasy world where they can conjure up a god with all the attributes that THEY want him/her/it to have? Not only is JHWH implacably homophobic, he also emphasises the need for racial purity throughout the Old Testament:

    “Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons.” (Deut. 7:3)

    I could see all this from my teenage years onward. What Bible are THEY reading?

  8. Stuart H. says:

    Anglican Mainstream has to be the most misleading name ever. Even my Anglican friends admit that it is little more than half a dozen mad bats in an attic wittering away like so many Miss Havershams.

    Anyway, can’t see that anything Tutu’s lass does would satisfy them, given that they also don’t recognise women priests and refuse to work with them.

  9. barriejohn says:

    Stuart H: I thought that Anglican mainstream was Anne Atkins. If it weren’t for her dangerously bigoted views where homosexuality is concerned, this would be hilarious:

    http://anglicanmainstream.org/anne-atkins-on-women-bishops-and-church-of-england-vote/

  10. Bob says:

    Tutu is NOT saved – he is an apostate.

  11. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    BarrieJohn, Conjuring up gods who have the attributes that they want is what all the religious do, all the time. It’s the only way that they can believe in their nonsense.

  12. Brian Jordan says:

    “The couple – both of whom are divorced and have children – held a second ceremony at a vineyard owned by Richard Branson in Franschhoek this month.”
    Does he supply Virgin Wine for communions? It has a nice ring to it!
    As for
    “The South African church is deeply divided on LGBT issues.”, what’s new? Schism,whizm, what’s it matter so long as you’re divided? Cue Baptist on Bridge joke.

  13. AgentCormac says:

    If we must have religion in the world then it’s a pity there aren’t more religious leaders like Desmond Tutu.

  14. Broga says:

    @Bob: Well done, Bob, I suppose you have a contact with God that tells you that Tutu is an apostate. I wonder why your God is not doing something about the following:

    “Mainstream churches are haemorrhaging worshippers around 11 times as fast as they can attract new converts, stark research on the state of faith in Britain shows. ” From a study by researchers at St Mary’s University in west London.

    Could it be because there is no God to do anything about it. Or, perish the thought, perhaps your God prefers honest atheism to the deceits, inventions and paedophilia that are such an obvious and shameful part of religion.

  15. Bob says:

    @Broga

    It is foretold in the New Testament that, in the period leading up to Christ’s 2nd coming there will be a great falling away – 2nd Thess 2 v 1-3. Therefore, if your figures are correct that proves the Bible is true.

  16. Broga says:

    @Bob: Thanks Bob. I’m pleased to be put right by an expert. I usually have to rely on barriejohn and, between you and I, I have wondered at times whether his faith is a bit shaky.

    Now, on the 2nd coming can you help me? Didn’t Jesus say his 2nd coming would be in the lifetime of his listeners? Well, if that is so why are we still waiting after 2000 years?

    Help on this from an expert like you will no doubt satisfy me on that. Thanks.

  17. gedediah says:

    I have serveral Christian friends who have similar views to me on, literal reading of the Bible, miracles, the gay, etc. Yet they still consider themselves Christians. It makes no sense to me.

  18. gedediah says:

    Haha Bob. There you go using the Bible to prove the Bible again. It doesn’t work.

  19. John says:

    The more I witness the spectacular mental gymnastics of religionists, the more I conclude they live in La-La-Land.
    Their world is one which is completely constructed to suit their own bizarre beliefs.
    They really are pure examples of clinical insanity.
    I include Desmond Tutu in that too.
    Some of his utterances in the past made sense.
    But, overall, he is as crazed as all the rest of them too.

  20. barriejohn says:

    AgentCormac: I’m afraid that, likeable though he may be, I see Desmond Tutu as being more dangerous than the late Fred Phelps and co. He presents an image of Christianity that is warm, cuddly and inclusive, whereas we all know that that is very far from the truth. I’m not suggesting for one moment that he is in any way deceitful or devious, but that he and his kind are the “acceptable face” of a bigoted and reactionary organization, which wields far too much power in modern society.