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The Archbishop and marriage equality

The Archbishop and marriage equality

A married London vicar has  responded with “surprise” to Archbishop Justin Welby’s words about “bridging” divisive opinions regarding marriage equality in the church.

In a first-person essay in the International Business Times, the Reverend Andrew Foreshew-Cain describes how, after he married his partner this past June, he was “rebuked” and his name placed on a list at Lambeth of clergy who married without church permission. He sees a chilling effect on gay and lesbian clergy and potential ordinands of such measures, and voices his personal disappointment with what he sees as the lack of listening and consultation with members of the LGBT community as this conversation continues in the church:

The archbishop may want us to believe he is neutral on this debate, but those within the Church, particularly those striving for LGBT equality, know different. Welby has consistently refused to enter into conversations with or to even answer letters from the main LGBTi organisations within the Church and earlier this year refused to meet with me or Jeremy Pemberton, the other gay priest who married his partner this year.

Foreshew-Cain was responding to the Archbishop’s recent interview on BBC Radio. According to BBC news,

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said he is trying to bridge a split in the Anglican Church over same-sex marriage.
The Most Rev Justin Welby told Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs he wanted to listen to both sides. He also admitted to moments of frustration on the issue.
He did not discuss his previous opposition to gay marriage, saying it would be “inappropriate” while the Church was debating it.

During the 45-minute show, Welby said,

When I listen to people I know that I’m listening to people for whom not just the issue of sexuality but the whole way in which the Church lives and exists and reaches out to people, what it looks like to be a holy church, is something on which they feel passionately and are deeply, deeply, deeply disagreeing, and, if you love them you listen carefully; and in obedience to the work of the Spirit of Christ in that body we have to seek to love each other.

Foreshew-Cain remains unconvinced, writing yesterday,

Essentially, I believe, Welby is willing to sacrifice the radical and inclusive truth of the Gospel, and even simply human justice, for the illusion of unity within the Anglican Communion. In doing so he is siding with the institutional homophobia of the Church and not acting as in any way a bridge for discussions.

You can hear the whole of the Archbishop’s interview on Desert Island Discs here.


Posted by Rosalind Hughes



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Way back in the 70’s I supported same-sex divorce before most folks even discussed same-sex marriage. The way I saw it, same-sex divorce would cause us to rethink both “marriage” and “divorce.” Now half our children are born out of wedlock, over half our marriages end in divorce and half of all adults in the country aren’t married. Nowadays I’m left to wonder just what “marriage equality” really means. Do we stand before God and say that we have moved toward it in the last half century?

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