Church of England backs blessings for same-sex couples

The Church of England's governing body approved plans to allow priests to bless same-sex couples on Thursday after hours of acrimonious debate revealed deep Anglican divisions on the issue.

Following an eight-hour debate over two days, the Church's General Synod — a body of hundreds of elected members that meet twice or three times a year — overwhelmingly supported the proposals.

In a vote held at the Church of England, Synod gathering in central London, 250 bishops, clergy, and laity supported the reforms, while 181 opposed them and 10 abstained.

The plans, which were unveiled last month after nearly six years of internal debate, will not change the rules that prohibit Anglican priests from officiating at weddings of same-sex couples.

Synod members voted in favor of an amendment endorsing that stance, as well as the proposal to allow blessings for civil marriages or civil partnerships in a church.

They also acknowledged "the Church's failure to be welcoming" to LGBTQ people, following an unprecedented apology by bishops last month for the "hostile and homophobic response" they have sometimes faced.

However, the changes have sparked a backlash from progressive Anglicans who believe the Church is not going far enough, as well as critics who argue that any changes are divisive and unwelcome.

Bishop of London Sarah Mullally welcomed the Synod's support for the changes while acknowledging divisions within the Anglican church in the UK and elsewhere.

"I recognize that there are those who are deeply grateful and those who are hurting," she said, vowing to "be mindful of the deep divisions" in the future.

"These disagreements on these issues cut to the heart of our human identity," Mullally said.

"I and the archbishops hope that today's thoughtful, prayerful debate represents a new beginning for the Church as we seek to move forward while listening to one another."

Since same-sex marriage became legal in England and Wales in 2013, the Church of England has been under political pressure to change its stance.

Despite the fact that dozens of other countries have legalized same-sex unions, homosexuality is still illegal in many parts of the world.

This includes highly religious and conservative Sub-Saharan African countries, which contribute to the Anglican Communion of 43 Churches in 165 countries.

After the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, Anglicanism has approximately 85 million members and is the third-largest Christian communion.

Leave A Comment


Subscribe to our newsletter to stay.

Sponsor Ad