In a surprise move, the main governing body of the Church of England has rejected proposals to create a “blessing” ceremony for same-sex “weddings.” In a guidance issued Saturday on same-sex “marriage,” the House of Bishops also said it “is not willing for those who are in a same sex marriage to be ordained to any of the three orders of ministry,” reports LifeSiteNews.
“Services of blessing should not be provided. Clergy should respond pastorally and sensitively in other ways,” the guidance reads. These other ways could include offering an informal prayer over the partners.
“In addition it considers that it would not be appropriate conduct for someone in holy orders to enter into a same sex marriage, given the need for clergy to model the Church’s teaching in their lives.”
“Getting married to someone of the same sex would, however, clearly be at variance with the teaching of the Church of England. The declarations made by clergy and the canonical requirements as to their manner of life do have real significance and need to be honoured as a matter of integrity,” the statement added.
For people who suffer from same-sex attraction, the bishops said, “In view of the teaching of Scripture,” the Church of England “upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage.”
“We recognise,” the guidance said, that same-sex partners seek “formal status” to “extend to the importance of legal recognition of the relationship,” for which civil partnership “continues to be available.”
“Those same sex couples who choose to marry should be welcomed into the life of the worshipping community and not be subjected to questioning about their lifestyle. Neither they nor any children they care for should be denied access to the sacraments.”