Anglican Church bishops adhered to the traditional teaching that marriage can only be between a man and a woman in the movement, which aroused the indignation of the activists of the gay rights movement and the risks of further alienation of the Church from society.
After two years of intensive internal debate with the participation of clergy and laity and at least two decades of painful division in the Church, the bishops produced a report affirming that marriage is “a permanent Union of one man and one woman.”
‘Business as usual’ for the Bishop of Grantham after gay Declaration
The Church should not “adapt his doctrine to the fashion of any particular time,” said Graham James, Bishop of Norwich, at a press conference to introduce the report.
However, Church law and the guide should be interpreted to guarantee “maximum freedom” for gays and lesbians without changing the doctrine – meaning clergy will have some leeway in some cases, the message reads. “Maximum freedom has no definition, but it’s part of the exploration we’re doing,” said James.
During a call with “fresh tone and a culture of welcome and support” for lesbians and gays, the report no specific changes.
Gay activists in the Church have condemned the report as “cruel” and “complete failure” that could Herald an increase in clerical disobedience is the problem with sexuality.
The bishops met four times since July last year when two-year process of “shared conversations” on sexuality is over. Their report will be discussed in next month’s Synod, but no vote will be taken on its content.
The report says that everyone seeking ordination and appointment of bishops should decide questions about their lifestyle, regardless of their personal sexual orientation. At the moment, gay ordinands and clergy are required to do is celibacy, even if they are in a long term relationship.
James denied the bishops were offered a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. All ordinands and the clergy had to rely on “fashion [their] own life … the word of Christ,” but, James said, the current interrogation was too focused on sexual activity, with a clear expectation of what gay and lesbian priests should be celibate.
Instead of “survey on sexual morality should be part of a wider examination” or Heterosexual and gay ordinands and clergy.
The bishops also say that the Church needs to repent of homophobic sentiments and anti-homophobia.
Current advice to the clergy, which allows them to provide “informal prayers” for same-sex couples in civil partnerships or marriages, to be clear, the bishops said. However, the report does not offered by the official Church.
The Church, said the document represented the General opinion among the bishops and not the unanimous opinion. The bishops also emphasize their report was part of the process, not attempt the final decision.
However, James admitted, “quite possibly, will never end [in the process]”.
He said: “we hope the tone and register of this report will help to Express gratitude, while we acknowledge it will be difficult for some value.
“This is not the last word on the subject. Because there are very different views on same-sex relationships in the Church and in the house of bishops, mainly on the basis of different understandings about how to read Scripture.”
At a press conference, the Bishop acknowledged the Church faced the tension between “loyalty to the Scriptures the traditions and culture of our time. This is why it is a problem of testing for the Church. But I don’t think that if the Church is to adapt their teaching to fashion a certain time, that will mean that she will Express the historic faith.”
Jane Ozanne, a prominent campaigner for equality With E, said the report was “unbelievable, unacceptable and ungodly”.
“Be good for us, while the US attacks continue to abuse,” she said, adding: “the nation will look on incredulous, and once again turned away from the Church do not show love and understanding to the fact that it is constantly marginalization and violence.”
The report “does not recognize the evidence that was given because of extended and institutionalization of spiritual abuse that was meted out against the LGBT community. Require them to be celibate for life because of their sexual orientation, and to admit only one interpretation of Scripture on this question is cruel, unjust and wicked.”
Andrew Foreshew-Cain, the priest who married his partner in 2014, in violation of Church rules, said the report was “a complete failure of leadership.”
Trust that the bishops demanded that gay and lesbian Christians committed, he said, adding: “now it’s time to get her to start trying to imagine that they are unable to provide a real Welcome to gay Christians.”
It calls for an increase of clergy, and offering a de-facto services blessing same-sex couples in civil partnerships or marriages.
The Church said it recognized that some priests were contrary to the rules of the Church at the moment. “But there is much less disobedience than people imagine,” said James. “Rebel clergy” will be considered on an individual basis bishops, the Church said.
Simon Sarmiento, Chairman of the mission of LGBT people, said that a key feature of the report was procrastination. But he added: “the intention of the bishops to change the key from the email discussion will be a major test for conservative Christians.”
Reform, conservative organizations in a E – said he is grateful that the bishops have not made any changes to the Church’s teaching on marriage. But he expressed concern about the “possible maximum freedom in the framework of this law. By adopting the structure, which seeks to take a middle path between biblical truth and cultural tradition, the bishops have made a theological inconsistency and hypocrisy will prevail in the foreseeable future.”