The Church of England Finally Supports Same-Sex Marriages.
Archbishops apologize for “damage” done to the LGBT community as the Church of England legalizes same-sex unions.
After three years of discussions on the subject behind closed doors, the Church of England yesterday approved same-sex marriages, prompting archbishops to express regret for the “harm and suffering” they have caused to the LGBT community.
A decision on revising Anglican doctrine that declares homosexual sex to be immoral will be made within two years, according to leaders who acknowledged that “language of truth, purity, and discipleship has been wielded cruelly.”
Those involved will develop a “path forward for the Church in respect to human identity, sexuality, relationships, and marriage,” under the direction of the Right Reverend Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London.
To examine the topic, church leaders have written a 480-page book and developed associated movies, podcasts, and educational programs.
Since 1987, when the General Synod, the Church’s legislative body, passed a resolution affirming the long-held belief that homosexual acts are sinful, the Church has been bitterly divided on LGBT rights. Bishops reiterated the teaching earlier this year that civil unions should be “sexually abstinent friendships” and that sexual activity is only permitted between married couples.
Civil partnerships, which have all the benefits of marriage except for the name, were adopted in 2005, while same-sex civil weddings were introduced in 2014. However, the law provided a legitimate opt-out for religious organizations.
Archbishop Welby stated in the preface to the book he co-wrote with the Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York, that the Church should be ashamed of hurting LGBT people.
They said: “We need to address the enormous damage and grief that have been inflicted where the rhetoric of truth, holiness, and discipleship has been wielded brutally and not ministered as a healing balm as soon as we begin to explore concerns of sexual identity and behavior.
Despite our best efforts, every word we use, particularly when referring to LGBTI+ people, has the potential to be painful. This includes the words in this preface.
Hurt and needless suffering have been caused by us and still are. We should all be extremely ashamed and remorseful for such actions, as should the Church as a whole. We, as archbishops, sincerely regret whatever role we may have had in this.
There is little question that the Church will have to make some decisions in 2022, according to the Right Reverend Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry, who contributed to the creation of yesterday’s new material.
He added: ‘There are some who feel this doctrine of marriage is ripe for development.’