The Church of England proposes to bless the union of homosexual couples without allowing them to marry in church
After six years of consultation, the Church of England said on Wednesday it was proposing to offer a blessing of union or civil marriage to same-sex couples, but not to marry them off. Justin Welby, spiritual leader of the Anglican Church, says he is aware that this proposal “will seem to go too far for some and not enough for others”.
according to a statement made public Wednesday, the Church of England proposes to offer a blessing of their union or their civil marriage to the couples of the same sex while specifying that they will not be able, on the other hand, to marry in a church of the Church of England.
“The formal teaching of the Church of England, as established in authorized canons and liturgy – that holy matrimony is between one man and one woman for life – would not change,” the document states.
The proposal states that "same-sex couples would still not be able to be married in a Church of England church" but would be able to enjoy a ceremony with "prayers and blessings of god in a church following a civil marriage or civil union”. “Prayers” known as “Prayers of Love and Faith” that will reflect the “theological diversity” of the denomination.
This proposal appears in a report which will be examined and discussed at the general synod next month in London, the content of the prayers will also be refined on this occasion. The main debate on this subject is due to take place on February 8.
Apologies for 'rejection' and 'exclusion'
Additionally, Church of England bishops have announced that they will apologize this week to LGBTQI+ people for the “rejection, exclusion and hostility” they have experienced in churches and the impact what it has had on their lives. On this occasion, they will urge all congregations to welcome “wholeheartedly and joyfully” same-sex couples.
The letter will also discuss "honestly their continuing disagreements over the possibility of changing Church teaching on marriage itself."
The spiritual leader of the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said he was "under no illusions" about the proposal which he was aware would "seem to go too far for some, and not enough for others”.
He nevertheless expressed the hope that she “will be received in a spirit of generosity and the search for the common good”.
The Bishops' response to Living in Love and Faith reflects our diverse views after deep prayer, study and reflection. I hope these new Prayers of Love and Faith for same-sex couples say to all Christians and especially LGBTQI+ people that you are welcome, valued and precious. https://t.co/vM8oJrYVY1
- Archbishop of Canterbury (@JustinWelby) -
On Twitter, he further said that these new proposals “tell all Christians and especially LGBTQI+ people” that they are “welcome, valued and precious”.
In England and Wales, civil marriage was opened to same-sex couples in 2013 and civil unions created in 2005.
Camille Westphal Perrier (with AFP)