I insist that wherever you draw the lines, bounding lines must exist, beyond which your doctrine will cease either to be Anglican or to be Christian: and I suggest also that lines come a great deal sooner than many modern priests think. I think it is your duty to fix the lines clearly in your minds: and if you wish to go beyond them you must change your profession. This is your duty not specially as Christians or as priests but as honest men. There is a danger here of the clergy developing a special professional conscience which obscures the very plain moral issue. Men who have passed beyond these boundary lines in either direction are apt to protest that they have come by their unorthodox opinions honestly. In defence of those opinions they are prepared to suffer obloquy and to forfeit professional advancement. They thus come to feel like martyrs. But this simply misses the point which so gravely scandalizes the layman. We never doubted that the unorthodox opinions were honestly held: what we complain of is your continuing in ministry after you have come to hold them.
Monday, September 17, 2007
C.S. Lewis on Unorthodox Priests
From a paper read "to an assembly of Anglican priests and youth leaders at the 'Carmarthen Conference for Youth Leaders and junior Clergy' of the Church in Wales at Carmarthen during Easter 1945," contained in the essay entitled "Christian Apologetics" in God in the Dock.