Church of England’s sexuality stance slammed by bishops
Aaron James

Aaron James

14 former bishops have criticised the Church of England’s stance on marriage and sexuality, saying it’s ignored the “authentic voice” of LGBT people.

The bishops have spoken out in a letter ahead of a debate on the issues at the Church of England’s General Synod on Wednesday.

It comes after the House of Bishops released a report last week affirming the Church would maintain its position that sexuality and marriage is to be between a man and a woman only.

The upcoming General Synod meeting on Wednesday will not be holding a binding vote that could formally maintain or change doctrine regarding marriage and sexuality, but it will be an opportunity for people to share their views.

The day has been billed by some as either the potential beginning of more substantial talks about the changing of the Church of England’s teaching on those issues, or the beginning of an end to those discussions.

Rt Revd Peter Selby, former Bishop of Worcester and one of today’s letter’s signatories, told Premier: “I thought it was really important at this point where the level of distress is greater than I think I’ve witnessed.

“The [House of Bishops] report concentrates on all the reasons why we can’t change the law… and the really important thing was to have been able to let the gay and lesbian, who’re most affected by this, have their authentic voice heard.

“My wife said several years ago when she was teaching vulnerable young people and the Church came out with one of these things, and she said: ‘what that does is tell them that really we have nothing to offer’. We have a lot to offer, a gospel, an attractive and loving person who values their presence and their being.”

Rev Peter Ould, a commentator on issues of sexuality, told Premier: “If the vote has been politicised and yet Synod still votes to take note of it, that’s a very strong signal that they’ve got the politics of this right and that the bishops should push forward with a clear, traditional teaching – whilst trying to be as pastorally generous as possible.

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