The Church of England announced Wednesday that it will issue an apology to the LGBTQ community for the way it has been treated by the church, but it will not allow same-sex marriages to be carried out by its clergy. Photo by eXpose/Shutterstock.com
Jan. 18 (UPI) -- The Church of England announced Wednesday that it will issue an apology to the LGBTQ+ community for the way it has been treated by the church, but it will not allow same-sex marriages to be carried out by clergy.
In a press release from the church, it said it will not change its "doctrine of Holy Matrimony for same-sex couples." Instead it will create guidance for blessing same-sex marriages through ceremony, which will be optional for the clergy.
The Church of England said it came to this decision after discussions that took place over the last six years regarding its policies and approaches to same-sex marriage, including a meeting at the Lambeth Conference last August.
In his address at the conference, Archbishop Justin Welby said the issue of same-sex marriage is a "divisive" and "contentious" one.
"And they will urge all congregations in their care to welcome same-sex couples 'unreservedly and joyfully' as they reaffirm their commitment to a 'radical new Christian inclusion founded in scripture, in reason, in tradition, in theology and the Christian faith as the Church of England has received it -- based on good, healthy, flourishing relationships, and in a proper 21st Century understanding of being human and of being sexual,'" the church said.
The proposal must still be passed by the General Synod when it meets in London in February. It will be presented in a report to the governing body.
If the proposal is fully adopted, the clergy will be presented "Prayers of Love and Faith" that can be used in ceremonies that celebrate same-sex marriages.
"Both personally and on behalf of my fellow bishops I would like to express our deep sorrow and grief at the way [lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and questioning] people and those they love have been treated by the Church which, most of all, ought to recognize everyone as precious and created in the image of God," said Sarah Mullaly, Bishop of London.
"We are deeply sorry and ashamed and want to take this opportunity to begin again in the spirit of repentance which our faith teaches us," Mullaly said.