Church of England Will Not Perform Gay Marriage Blessings

The Church of England will not perform gay marriage blessings. It also will not ordain clergy who are in gay marriages.

The Pastoral Guide detailing this position affirms that Our Lord taught that marriage is an indissoluble union between one man and one woman. It allows homosexuals and their families, including those who are not living a life of chastity, to participate in the sacraments.

From The Church of England’s House of Bishops Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage:

… As bishops we have reflected and prayed together about these developments.  As our statement of 27th January indicated, we are not all in agreement about every aspect of the Church’s response.  However we are all in agreement that the Christian understanding and doctrine of marriage as a lifelong union between one man and one woman remains unchanged.

… ‘The Church of England affirms, according to our Lord’s teaching, that marriage is in its nature a union permanent and lifelong, for better for worse, till death them do part, of one man with one woman.”

… The victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us. We assure homosexual people that they are children of God, loved and valued by him, and deserving of the best we can give of pastoral care and friendship.

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    I have problems figuring out the various Anglican subgroups. Won’t this cause a rift with the groups that have already ordained gays in long committed relationships?

    • FW Ken

      Official Anglicanism is a collection of national churches associated with Canterbury, the primary See of the Church of England. It gets tricky in the U.S., with our tradition of denominations fragmenting into ever smaller groups. The Episcopal Church is the official Anglican franchise, but it’s rapidly dying, so lots of alternate groups are coping up.

      Basically, if it confuses you, you are in good touch with reality.

    • Almario Javier

      The CoE and the ECUSA have a long history of antagonism, since the Revolution, in fact. This sort of thing is nothing new.

  • FW Ken

    This is absurd. In 1991, the CofE issued a statement saying that same-sex couples were fine for last people, but not for clergy. Later, they said that civil unions were ok. In the case of clergy, the clergy person had to tell the bishop s/he and the partner were contingent. This is a fig leaf to keep the evangelicals (the only growing part of the church) from vomiting. Fundamentally dishonest, the whole business.

    • Bill S

      Ken,

      What about this decision troubles you? They are not condoning same sex marriage but they are extending their welcome to gays to participate. That seems fair to me.

      • FW Ken

        Let your yes be yes and your no be no.

        They have been conducting.gay weddings for years using weasel words. One former Episcopalian said it well: just one before the Church of England dies, they need to offend someone… anyone.

        If I believed in gay marriage, I wouldn’t have anything to do with this hypocrisy. I don’t know why any self-respecting gay person would have anything to do with them.

        • Bill S

          So, you are writing off the whole Church of England. Are they not our (your) separated brethren?

          • FW Ken

            I was Episcopalian before I was Catholic, and retain a great love for Anglicanism. Unfortunately, they seem determined to destroy themselves.

            • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

              Bear in mind, however, that American Episcopals don’t reflect Anglicanism. They have always been a minority, upper-class church, with none of the claims to national value that the Cof E has from its name onward. In the nineteenth century, they were deliberately encouraged by the other Protestant group to emphasize rituals and vestments, in a way that would have given scandal in England, in order to draw in the Catholic immigration (on the expectation that European Catholics were illiterate morons who could be swayed by whoever swayed his censer higher, and had no notion of the difference between Catholic and Protestant). This idiotic attempt failed comprehensively, but left behind a mentality where Episcopalians felt that the important thing was to perform the ritual correctly – that is, an even further devaluation of the meaning of dogma and belief. They even invented a damned weasel word for it – “orthopraxy”. The CofE has two things goind for it that the Episcopal Church does not: one, the remaining belief that it is a national church, and so that people committed to both Jesus and England are called to serve in it, however unpleasant to them it may be; and the mass immigration of African Anglicans – the Archbishop of York is from Uganda, even.

  • Bill S

    “It allows homosexuals and their families, including those who are not living a life of chastity, to participate in the sacraments.”

    That seems fair enough. It might not provide gays the marriage equality they are seeking but it doesn’t relegate them to second class members if they enter a civil union or civil marriage. It is much better than the way the Catholic Church treats same sex married couples.

    “… The victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us. We assure homosexual people that they are children of God, loved and valued by him, and deserving of the best we can give of pastoral care and friendship.”

    The Pope should say something like this. It would mean a lot.

    • Carla Greensmith

      Marriage in Church is the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. So what they should say is: “It allows homosexuals and their families, including those who are not living a life of chastity, to participate in the sacraments, apart from the sacrament of Holy Matrimony.” Denying anyone access to one of the sacraments does distinguish that person as a second class member of the church, sorry.

      • Bill S

        That is a very good point. They do not have access to Matrimony or Holy Orders / ordination, whatever they call it. Still, they do seem to accept same sex couples in kind of a wink wink nudge nudge way. But that isn’t true acceptance. You’re right.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    Wow, I did not expect this. I thought for sure the CofE would submit to cultural pressure. Well Queen Elizabeth is still alive. I bet they change this after she’s gone.

    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

      No. More to the point, the last white generation of CofE faithful is dying out. The next generation will be made up largely of African immigrants from the inner cities, with their Evangelical background. The Church will no longer find enough middle-class white English recruits for the clergy, and will be forced to promote increasing numbers of African Evangelicals, or even to import them from Africa (where today the Anglican Church of Nigeria is already the largest church in the Anglican Communion). Call it “the Empire strikes back”. The CofE is no longer the property of an inward-looking set of faddish upper middle class failed intellectuals (it is well known that the theology faculties in Oxford and Cambridge are where you send a child for whom you want an Oxbridge degree but who is not good enough for any other subject).

  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    This is rather surprising, if you are aware of the enormous pressure being put on the CofE both by the Government and by the formidable more or less closeted gay presence within the clergy. Archbishop Welby, in spite of the obviously corrupt tale of his career, is proving rather more loyal to Christian teaching than we had a right to expect; possibly in some measure because of the growing immigrant – largely African and Evangelical – presence within the CofE.


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