Church of England to allow gay bishops in civil partnerships

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LONDON—The Church of England has dropped its opposition to gay clergymen in civil partnerships becoming bishops, provided the men concerned promise to remain celibate, it confirmed on Friday.

The announcement by the Church’s House of Bishops is likely to reignite a row which has split England’s state Church since 2003, when gay cleric Jeffrey John was forced to withdraw as bishop of Reading under pressure from traditionalists.

“The House has confirmed that clergy in civil partnerships, and living in accordance with the teaching of the Church on human sexuality, can be considered as candidates for the episcopate,” said the Bishop of Norwich, Graham James.

All women, regardless of their sexuality, remain banned from becoming bishops in the Church of England after its governing body, the General Synod, failed to vote through the change in November.

Gay men and women who are in civil partnerships — legal unions giving them similar rights to those of married couples — have been allowed to join the clergy since 2005 so long as they vow to remain celibate.

The Church has spent the past 18 months determining whether these conditions should also apply to gay clergymen who wish to become bishops.

The House of Bishops announced the change on December 20 but it was brought to light by the Church Times, an Anglican newspaper, on Friday — to a mixed reaction.

Ruth Hunt, director of public affairs for gay rights campaigners Stonewall, said: “We’re sure many Anglicans will be happy to hear of the Church’s latest epiphany on gay clergy, although many lesbians will be disappointed that they remain unable to serve as bishops.”

But the Reverend Rod Thomas, chairman of the evangelical group Reform, said the change had not been agreed or debated by the wider Church.

“It’s a very worrying development. If someone were to be appointed who was in a civil partnership, that would be a very divisive step, both within England and across the Anglican Communion,” he said.

He added to the BBC: “That would be a major change in Church doctrine and therefore not something that can be slipped out in the news, it is something that has got to be considered by the general synod.”

Critics also questioned how the celibacy rule would be enforced.

John, who as dean of St Albans is the most senior openly gay Church of England cleric, was forced to withdraw as bishop of Reading in southeast England in 2003 after his appointment caused outrage among conservatives.

The cleric, who entered a civil partnership in 2006 but is understood to be celibate, was also reportedly blocked from becoming bishop of Southwark in London in 2010.

Gay couples have had the right to enter into a civil partnership in Britain since 2005, offering them the same legal rights as married heterosexual couples on a range of issues such as inheritance, pensions and immigration.

The British government proposed last month to allow same-sex marriages in religious institutions that wish to provide them, but the established Churches of England and Wales would be exempt from the plans.

Married heterosexual clergy in the Church of England are not expected to remain celibate. Justin Welby, the incoming Archbishop of Canterbury who takes charge of the Church in March, is married with five children.

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  • UrHONOR

    EXCELLENT NEWS for CBCP and the rest of the gay caballeros dressed in white.

    • dickenhead

      they would love to have the same ruling here

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/KKPZN63CZHE2KQICS5E77OECH4 Gab

      haha you are excellent for being ignoramus…for ur info church of England belongs to anglican not to Catholic…

  • sievert81

    i bench mark na rin ng CBCP, para its more fun in the philippines

  • InterPoll

    The church of England is a perverted church. It is the synagogue of satan.

  • Paliwaweng

    One reason why the bible is being questioned is the fact that its writers are not aware or ignorant of most scientfic facts during their time.
    One is that it said that the sun revolves around us.
    Another is it demonized gays or lesbians.
    Those early men who wrote the bible were caught in a dilemma, when science was on its infancy stage, could not be blamed.
    We, and the generations that followed and up to the present who believed on what they wrote, declaring them as a gospel of truth are the real fools. More than fools.
    Unknown to them, there are thousands of animal species in the animal kingdom who are practicing homosexuality. And to blame or demonize a person because of his/her genetic makeup is pure ignorance if not abhorrent.
    This is not strange for the church, like what happened on the 14th century’s bubonic plague (Black Death) that wrought havoc and killed almost 200 millions where it was blamed evil spirits for the death of millions brought by ticks that infested rats.

    It is always a corollary for some clerics that when they can not comprehend a thing or why a certain organism acts the way it was, they try to invent laws to desolate the world and with a threat of cataclysmic proportion for the inquisitive mind.

    • niap kcen

      pls, let me share my view with what you shared here:

      ‘One is that it said that the sun revolves around us.’

      –the bible never claim the earth’s geocentricity. the ones mentioned in joshua 10 and in psalms 19 neither support that fact nor provide evidence. in joshua, it teaches God’s miracle in lengthening the day, while in the book of psalms, it shows stability of the earth.

      ‘Those early men who wrote the bible were caught in a dilemma, when science was on its infancy stage, could not be blamed.’

      –there are human writers who were inspired, but there is only one author – the Holy Spirit. it says: ‘..but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.’ the point here is, God is the author and not bounded by time, hence His word will last from eternity to eternity. human knowledge maybe limited but not what was written in it.

      ‘…declaring them as gospel of truth are the real fools’

      –the bible is the only book in history that withstood the test of time for more than 2000 years.. its accuracy on science, physics, astronomy, oceanography are well-known even in our time. the gospel is not the problem but those who fail to hear them. (the fool hath said in his heart that there is no God – psalms 14:1)

      ‘Unknown to them, there are thousands ‘of animal species in the animal kingdom who are practicing homosexuality.’

      –let me quote Solimeo in his book “The Animal Homosexuality Myth”: If seemingly “homosexual” acts among animals are in accordance with animal nature, then parental killing of offspring and intra-species devouring are also in accordance with animal nature..”

      do humans have the right and hence not liable to kill their children simply because they are animals? Are we to conclude that filicide and cannibalism are according to human nature? of course not!

      –let me also quote a homosexual scientist Simon LeVay admitting that the evidence (of homosexual animals) pointed to isolated acts, not to homosexuality who says: “Although homosexual behavior is very common in the animal world, it seems to be very uncommon that individual animals have a long-lasting predisposition to engage in such behavior to the exclusion of heterosexual activities. Thus, a homosexual orientation, if one can speak of such thing in animals, seems to be a rarity.”

      Properly speaking, homosexuality does not exist among animals..

      ‘This is not strange for the church, like what happened on the 14th century’s bubonic plague..’

      the ‘church’ as defined in the Bible is not the same as the catholic church that you are referring to on that event in history, that somehow became influential, even overtaking the authorities of medical doctors..

      • Paliwaweng

        Kindly check the encyclopedia on animals practicing homosexuality. You can google it either.
        And am sorry to say that I do not share your belief on the bible. I can not believe the book.
        If you may, let us discuss privately on that matter, as am quite busy this time for some deadlines.
        Thanks for your feedback. 
        And hope you  understand that what we have is disagreement on beliefs, so please note that nothing is personal.

        My email: abe_tejada21@yahoo.com

      • niap kcen

        google searching will not suffice to prove something that can be claim ‘natural’ as true. it should be supported by scientific data, evidence and scrutiny by the scientific community.

        common problem with the resurgence of atheism, most view their opinion as ‘supporting facts’ instead of proving otherwise.

      • Paliwaweng

        lawsuits and libel will be filed against google if what they are publishing can not be ‘claimed natural as true’ as you said.  

        Nonetheless, this is your point of view so be it.But as they say it ” it is hard to accept the truth when the lies were exactly what you wanted to hear’.We discuss thru our emails, if you want, to prove if the bible was really what you said: “the bible is the only book in history that withstood the test of time for more than 2000 years.. its accuracy on science, physics, astronomy, oceanography are well-known even in our time. the gospel is not the problem but those who fail to hear them”.
        And I will prove to you, from the passages written on the bible, to disprove your claim.

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