Photo Credits: The Telegraph
As Atheist Republic previously reported, the Church of England has issued pastoral guidance saying: “For Christians, marriage — that is, the lifelong union between a man and a woman, contracted with the making of vows — remains the proper context for sexual activity.” After that, the Church of England was ridiculed for issuing such guidance, especially on Twitter.
One user said, “Dear Church of England, and Churches everywhere (99% of which are run by men): Evolve. That’s all. Just stop fighting evolution. Stop judging others and focus on...Evolving. Thanks.”
A number of Church of England bishops have also realized that its guidance is silly and redundant. Rachel Treweek, the bishop of Gloucester, issued a statement saying she was “deeply frustrated and saddened” at the guidance. She said: “I recognize that it has fanned the flames of unnecessary pain and distress and I wish to acknowledge my part in that.” The bishops of Bristol, Newcastle, Norwich, Repton, Crediton and Tewkesbury have also supported Treweek’s statement.
Justin Welby and John Sentamu, the archbishops of Canterbury and York, said they took responsibility for releasing the statement which “jeopardised trust.” They added: “We are very sorry and recognize the division and hurt this has caused.” The archbishops’ statement did not retract the substance of the “pastoral guidance” issued by the bishops, but implied it should not have been issued while the Church of England is in the midst of reviewing its teaching on sexuality and marriage.
“We as archbishops, alongside the bishops of the Church of England, apologize and take responsibility for releasing a statement last week which we acknowledge has jeopardized trust,” the archbishops said. “We are very sorry and recognize the division and hurt this has caused. At our meeting of the College of Bishops of the Church of England this week we continued our commitment to the Living in Love and Faith project which is about questions of human identity, sexuality and marriage. This process is intended to help us all to build bridges that will enable the difficult conversations that are necessary as together we discern the way forward for the Church of England.”
More than 3,000 people signed an open letter, among them more than 800 clergy; one serving bishop, eight retired bishops and ten serving deans. The letter was sent to the archbishops of Canterbury and York, plus Stephen Cottrell, the bishop of Chelmsford, who will take over as archbishop of York in the summer.
The signatories express “anger and disappointment” at the bishops’ statement, saying: “It is cold, defenseless and uncaring of its impact on the millions of people it affects.”