Dozens of bishops back same-sex marriages for priests

(Photo: Unsplash/Tomas Robertson)

UK: Dozens of bishops have signed a public statement saying that pastoral guidance should be issued to allow priests to enter into same-sex marriages. 

The statement, published in Church Times, has been signed by 44 bishops, 15 diocesan and 29 suffragan.

Among them are the Bishop of Bristol, Vivienne Faull, the Bishop of Buckingham, Alan Wilson, the Bishop of Chelmsford, Guli Francis-Dehqani, the Bishop of Liverpool, John Perumbalath, the Bishop of Manchester, David Walker, and the Bishop of Oxford, Steven Croft. 

They said there was a "need for a swift end to the current uncertainty for LGBTQIA+ clergy and ordinands".

"We look forward to Guidance being issued without delay that includes the removal of all restrictions on clergy entering same-sex civil marriages, and on bishops' ordaining and licensing such clergy, as well as granting permissions to officiate," they wrote. 

The statement has been published just days before the November General Synod, when the Church of England's parliamentary body will discuss the work done by the House of Bishops on the Prayers of Love and Faith since February, when they were backed in principle by Synod.  

"We know that we will not all agree, but it is our longing that we will find a way that will recognise and honour our different perspectives and the gift we are to each other within the life of the Church of England, such that no one is expected to act against their conscience or theological conviction," the statement from the bishops adds.

The Prayers of Love and Faith mark a departure from biblical Christianity by offering blessings for same-sex couples and have been strongly opposed by evangelicals in the Church of England, including 11 bishops who have marked their dissent.

They are the Bishop of Blackburn, Philip North, the Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, Rob Munro, the Bishop of Guildford, Andrew Watson, the Bishop of Hereford, Richard Jackson, the Bishop of Islington, Ric Thorpe, the Bishop of Lancaster, Jill Duff, the Bishop of Oswestry, Paul Thomas, the Bishop of Rochester, Jonathan Gibbs, the Bishop of Sheffield, Pete Wilcox, and the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, Paul Williams. 

"Sharing the profound concerns of many in the Church of England and in the wider Communion, with heavy hearts we find it necessary to dissent publicly from the decisions of the House," they said.

Meeting next week, Synod members will discuss the steps being taken to implement the Prayers of Love and Faith and draft pastoral guidance that is being drawn up in light of the prayers.

The full process to implement the prayers is not expected to conclude until 2025, following consultation with Church of England dioceses and the approval of General Synod.

Republished from Christian Today UK.