In contrast, the Archbishop of York said that he would personally use the new blessings for same sex couples…
The Archbishop of Canterbury has revealed that he will not personally bless same sex marriages following the “historic” proposals announced by bishops.
The Most Rev Justin Welby made the comments after earlier this week Church of England bishops refused to endorse same sex marriage, but instead agreed to “apologise” to LGBTQI+ people for the “rejection, exclusion and hostility” they have suffered, as well as to offer same sex couples blessings in churches following a civil marriage or partnership.
Explaining his decision, the Archbishop, who is also the head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, said during a press conference to discuss the proposals earlier this morning: “I have a pastoral responsibility for the whole Anglican Communion.
“While I will be extremely joyfully celebrating these new resources, I will not personally use them in order not to compromise that pastoral care.”
However, regarding the apology and the blessings, he added: “I’m really pleased we’ve done what we’ve done.”
In contrast, the Archbishop of York said that he would personally use the new blessings for same sex couples because the Archbishop of Canterbury’s “position is different to mine”.
The Archbishops’ comments come after tensions within the Anglican Communion – which represents 85 million Anglicans worldwide – came to a head at last year’s Lambeth Conference in which Anglican bishops from all over the globe descended on Canterbury for the once-a-decade event.
The conference was dominated by divisions and debate over the issue of same sex marriage. Same sex spouses were also excluded from attending.
In August, Archbishop Justin also appeared to appease conservative bishops by “affirming the validity” of a 1998 declaration, known as Lambeth 1.10, that says gay sex is a sin as he told more than 650 bishops that, for “a large majority” of conservative Anglicans, questioning biblical teaching was “unthinkable”.
However, following six years of consultation and deliberation, earlier this week bishops rejected calls for gay marriages in churches, and instead proposed, for the first time, that same sex couples can receive blessings after being married in a civil ceremony. The measures form part of a new set of “prayers of thanksgiving, dedication” and “God’s blessing for same-sex couples”.
The decision prompted fury and disappointment from both equality campaigners who claimed that “we’ve had a tonne of apologies, and no action” as well as traditionalists who said that the institution is paving the way for same sex marriage “in all but name”.
The bishops’ proposals will be debated next month at General Synod, the Church’s legislative body. Following the debate, the House of Bishops will refine the prayers and then commend them for use.
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