Leaders of the Church of England voted today in favor of granting religious blessings to gay couples who are in civil marriages. The church does not, however, perform religious weddings for same-sex couples. King Henry VIII established the Church of England in the 16th century after he rejected the authority of the Pope.
In a statement, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell said the vote was a “new beginning,” and that it had been “a long road to get us to this point,” reported The Guardian.
“For the first time, the C of E will publicly, unreservedly and joyfully welcome same-sex couples in church,” they said.
London Bishop Sarah Mullally, as reported in The Guardian, said, “This is a moment of hope for the church. I know that what we have proposed as a way forward does not go nearly far enough for many, but too far for others. It is my prayer that what has been agreed today will represent a step forward for all of us within the church – including LGBTQI+ people.”
Steven Croft, the bishop of Oxford, said, “Same-sex couples will become much more visible and their relationships will be celebrated publicly and that, I think, will continue to change attitudes within the life of the church.”
The proposal, voted on by the Church of England’s national assembly, passed 250 to 181. It will allow C of E priests and bishops to officially bless gay “marriages,” if they want to but it is not mandated to every clergy member.
Homosexual “marriage” was legalized in England and Wales in 2013.
As set forth in its long-held teachings, “The Church of England affirms, according to our Lord’s teaching, that marriage is in its nature a union permanent and lifelong, for better for worse, till death them do part, of one man with one woman, to the exclusion of all others on either side, for the procreation and nurture of children, for the hallowing and right direction of the natural instincts and affections, and for the mutual society, help and comfort which the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity.” (Emphasis added.)
Also, the Book of Anglican Prayer still reads, “The Bible teaches us that marriage is a gift of God in creation and a means to grace, a holy mystery in which man and woman become one flesh…. The House of Bishops teaching document of 1999 noted that: ‘Marriage is a pattern that God has given in creation, deeply rooted in our social instincts, through which a man and a woman may learn love together over the course of their lives.'”
In the Gospel of Matthew (19:5), Jesus Christ says, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two willbecome one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
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