Support the Café

Search our Site

What is the Church of England saying?

What is the Church of England saying?

Our last Lead headline was pretty clear: “Church of England rejects blessings for same sex couples”. This was based on The Guardian’s story.

However, there is also this headline from The Telegraph:

Church of England gives blessing to recognising civil partnerships

Umm…call us confused.

The Rev. Dr. Giles Fraser is quoted in this article, explaining is that this is normal church behavior:

“What this is saying is that you can bless civil partnerships as long as you don’t say that is what you are doing,” he said.

“They are winking at people like me saying ‘be creative’ – it is a classic Anglican fudge.

“In effect what it is saying is you can do it as long as you don’t say that is what you are doing – call it something different, be as imaginative as you can.

Thinking Anglicans provides an extensive list of the newspaper headlines this morning, suggesting that the press is unclear as to what the church is doing.

Here is the link to The Church of England’s new document, “Men and women in marriage“, and the press release that contains the so called “fudge”.

Bishop Alan Wilson analyses it extensively in his morning blog post “Gay Marriage: Must Try Harder”. He also says that the “pastoral care” provided by the press release makes him “quake in his boots”:

(quoting from the press release) “…this report also underlines the role of the Church in seeking to provide care, prayer, and compassion for those who, for whatever reason, are unable to receive the gift of marriage in the form that the Church has understood it and continues to uphold.”

Many of my gay friends will find this tendentious statement wildly patronising and offensive. Offers of comfort from the very people whose homophobia caused the pain in the first place will not be received easily. If the Church wants to provide compassion, it can stop talking about gay people and start talking with them. It can demonstrate the genuinness of its care by ceasing to belittle and patronise them and start taking them seriously. If it wants to pray with them, this institution which cheerfully blesses nuclear submarines, hamsters and buckets of cement can start blessing their often stunning relationships.


Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

“Gee whiz, Mrs Parks, we’re ‘accommodating’ you w/ this back-of-the-bus, aren’t we—what’s your problem?”

JC Fisher


“those who find themselves in same-sex relationships” is patently condescending and insulting, as if people in living relationships woke up one morning in an accidental relationship, when in fact they have so many roadblocks put

Doug Spurlin [added by ed.]


There is no way to put lipstick on this pig. The Church of England is doing the same as it’s been doing for how long now? – advocating hypocrisy. As Ann says upthread, Jesus had a few choice words to say about the practice.

June Butler

Ann Fontaine

Church Times The Church, the new report suggests, can “devise accommodations for specific conditions, bearing witness in special ways to the abiding norm”. On Tuesday, Dr Cocksworth said: “The Church is here for all people, and those who find themselves in same-sex relationships and have committed to those, the Church treats those people with respect, with compassionate attention, with care and with prayer. The exact form of that prayer will depend on the case itself, the situation that is before the pastor.”

The document itself does not restate the ban on blessing same-sex relationships, but Dr Cocksworth said that the “well-designed accommodations” it mentions were “different from formal public blessings”. The press release accompanying the report states: “The document is clear that public forms of blessing belong to marriage alone.”


Remedial Reading Assignment for the CofE … Matthew5:37

Susan Russell

All Saints Pasadena

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café