— The guidance has already existed in draft form but delays are ongoing due to “further work” being needed
A group of 44 bishops have expressed hope guidance allowing priests to be in same-sex marriages will be issued “without delay”.
During a public statement made on Wednesday (1 November), the bishops made clear their overwhelming support of the issue.
According to The Church Times, the guidance has existed in draft form but delays are ongoing due to “further work” being needed.
Last month, a group of 12 bishops publicly dissented from a decision to commend blessings for same-sex couples.
“We long for the day when LGBTQIA+ people will know themselves to be unquestionably included in the life and all ministries of our Church”
However, progress appears to be close as the new group, who have backed guidance allowing same-sex marriages for priests, shared an open letter.
They wrote that they “recognise the complexities of the Pastoral Guidance in relation to ministry”.
But the 15 diocesan bishops and 29 suffragans say there is “also the need for a swift end to the current uncertainty for LGBTQIA+ clergy and ordinands”.
The group adds: “We look forward to Guidance being issued without delay that includes the removal of all restrictions on clergy entering same-sex civil marriages, and on bishops’ ordaining and licensing such clergy, as well as granting permissions to officiate.”
The same publication reported last week that such guidance existed in draft form, but that the House of Bishops had voted to delay its implementation for “further work” (News, 27 October).
In a statement, the 44 bishops stated that they were looking forward to the House of Bishops’ “refining, commending and issuing the Prayers of Love and Faith, such that the final version should not be contrary to or indicative of a departure from the doctrine of the Church of England”.
“We look forward to Guidance being issued without delay”
They went on to add: “We know that we will not all agree, but it is our longing that we will find a way that will recognise and honour our different perspectives and the gift we are to each other within the life of the Church of England, such that no one is expected to act against their conscience or theological conviction.”
They concluded: “In all of this we long for the day when LGBTQIA+ people will know themselves to be unquestionably included in the life and all ministries of our Church, and the contributions of each one of us fully accepted and celebrated as simply the offering of a fellow Christian.”
Earlier this year, Church of England bishops refused to allow priests to marry same-sex couples.
This came after a five-year consultation on the issue called Living in Love and Faith.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in England and Wales since 2013 yet the Church hasn’t followed suit in changing its doctrine: that marriage can be only between a man and a woman.
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