Church of England Views on Homosexuality
The Church of England has so far been a major player in the development of the debate on homosexuality in the Anglican Communion as well as the English society. While being clear that homosexual acts were not morally upright, the Church of England in the 1950s led the call to decriminalize male homosexual acts. Until 1967, all homosexual acts were considered as criminal offences. Despite the legalization of gay marriage in the UK in March 2014, the Church of England that account for the largest population in the area maintains that homosexuality is a sinful act.
In a document declared by the House of Bishops in February 2014 entitled; Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage, the Church of England asserts that any form of homosexual behavior is a sin. However, the bishops of the church point out that the Church of England is of the belief that those who are experiencing same-sex attractions are beloved by God and are not to be dismissed out of hand as sinners who are despised by God. The Church of England reminds the church of the virtue of chastity and the need for regulation of sexual appetites in accordance with right reason, which is God’s design for mankind.
According to the traditional teachings of the Church of England, it is not morally upright for people of the same sex to develop attractions towards each other. However, the latest utterances from some of the bishops points out to a contradiction. Some bishops have noted that they would not issue any sanctions on clergy who are entering into same sex relationships. On the other hand, the Church of England allows for the ordination of gay priests provided that they are celibate.
The issue of Church of England views on homosexuality has elicited heated arguments among the followers and even bishops. In fact, it is still a bone of contention between the bishops with some for it and others against it. In 2003, Canon Jeffrey John was appointed as Bishop of Reading despite his pro-gay views. This is a move that has led to continuous criticism of the Church of England with many saying that the church is secretly advocating for homosexuality since it cannot say that the act is a sin when a number of its bishops are gay. Despite Cannon Jeffrey standing down as Bishop-elect of Reading, he was subsequently installed as Dean of St. Albans, meaning that he still serves the Church of England.
Archbishops of the Church of England seek to distinguish between the teaching authority on moral issues that surround same-sex marriage and the pastoral needs of Christians who posses attractions to the same sex. Despite stating that homosexuality is sinful, the Church of England clearly states that it doors are open to same sex couples who have the need to worship. Besides, the church will not hinder the baptism of their children. Homosexuals are welcome to participate in the activities of the Church of England as full members.
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