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Church of England to allow gay bishops — sort of

c. 2011 Religion News Service

LONDON (RNS) The Church of England has issued a set of “legal guidelines” that pave the way for openly gay clergy to become bishops — so long as they are and promise to remain celibate.

Details of the internal report, entitled “Choosing Bishops,” were carried by Christian Today, an independent London-based publication, on its website on Monday (June 20).

The new guidelines aim to bring church policy in line with Britain’s Equality Act, passed in 2010, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

The guidance says “openly gay clergy can become bishops so long as they are celibate,” according to the Christian Today report. The Equality Act would not allow gay clergy to be prohibited solely because they are gay.


“A person’s sexual orientation is, in itself, irrelevant to their suitability for episcopal office,” the guidelines said, and “it would be wrong if account were taken of the fact that a candidate had identified himself as of gay sexual orientation.”

The document continues that while the earlier guidelines “make it clear that someone in a sexually active relationship outside marriage is not eligible” to become bishop, that does not necessarily apply to a celibate relationship.

The church makes a strong distinction between “sexually active” and “celibate.” As one observer put it, the new guidelines demand that gay clergy are being asked to “make a promise that they are and will remain celibate.”

The legal advice in “Choosing Bishops” is expected to go before the church’s General Synod when it convenes in York, England, in July.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cknuck

    didn’t work for the RCC and it won’t work here homosexuality cannot be holy it is a malady that is beyond understanding that is one among many diversions from normal sexuality. Normal sexuality is a challenge to beg holy homosexuality is even more because it starts out sinful in nature a sin of the body (temple).

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment pagansister

    Is someone going to follow them around to make sure they are “behaving” themselves? If you are going to “allow” them to be bishops, they should not put restrictions on them, IMO.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Mordred08

    Are straight bishops required to remain celibate as well?

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Salcia

    @ Mordred – To the best of my knowledge, Anglican bishops who have married women have not been required to remain celibate in the past. I guess anybody unmarried is expected to stay celibate in most brands of Christianity . . . but the difference for gay people is that they don’t have the option of a religious (or sometimes even secular) marriage to the person they love. So this is hardly a progressive step, imho.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment jestrfyl

    So do the heterosexual clergy have to identify themselves and make the same pledge? Do they get different badges or stripes on their ecclesiastical gowns? Are they singled out and separated for different treatment?

    No? The why create a separate tier of clergy? This is simple foolishness designed to pander to the fears of some people who cannot to relate, let alone accept anyone who is slightly different. The Table of CHrist is wide and long, the gates to God’s house are open and the light of Christ is lit for all ALL people or it is not on at all. I hink the lights are out and the door is locked at C of E

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cknuck

    jest, what a trouble maker you know that the celibate clause is for all single clergy don’t be such a worldly trouble maker you know that is sinful.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment jestrfyl

    All the Good guys in the Bible were trouble makers. None of them toed the line or were satisfied with the status quo. This ain’t sin, brother – this is doing God’s work! Jesting just makes it jolly.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cknuck

    jest the good guys worked for God not Satan, nor did they jest about what is holy, the other guys did that.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment jestrfyl

    They most assuredly jested about what some folks thought was holy. Jesus and other redefined “holy” as that which awakens people to God’s UNconditional love. All the other rules and reg’s were commentary at best and obstacles for most (check with Paul for this one).

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Mordred08

    Non-conservative Christians (and non-Christians for that matter) don’t work for the devil, ck. That you think that shows how detached from reality you are.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cknuck

    define reality mordred, anyway you cut it your view is limited

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cknuck

    jest Paul is one of the biggest supporters of one man one woman and he had nothing good to say about homosexuality how can you twist the gospel to suit your perverted whims. Quote Paul saying any thing about continued sin.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Lauren

    What does Gods word have to say about this?????????????????????????????????
    Thats ALL that matters. Not what any MAN thinks!!!! What is the word of God for if we are not going to obey it? Hate the sin LOVE the sinner. :)

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