Church of England lifts ban on gay bishops

Homosexual male clergy who live with their partners now allowed to be ordained bishops on condition they stay celibate.

    Church of England lifts ban on gay bishops
    Issue of homosexuality has driven rift between Anglicans across the globe [GALLO/GETTY]

    The Church of England has lifted a ban on gay male clergy who live with their partners from becoming bishops on the condition they pledge to stay celibate, threatening to reignite an issue that splits the 80-million-strong global Anglican community.

    One of the church's most senior bodies, the House of Bishops, said on Friday it had ended an 18-month moratorium on the appointment of gays in civil partnerships as bishops.

    "The House has confirmed that clergy in civil partnerships, and living in accordance with the teaching of the Church on human sexuality, can be considered as candidates for the episcopate," Graham James, the Bishop of Norwich, said.

    The decision was made in late December but received little attention until the church confirmed it on Friday.

    "The House believed it would be unjust to exclude from consideration for the episcopate anyone seeking to live fully in conformity with the Church's teaching on sexual ethics or other areas of personal life and discipline," he added in a statement on behalf of the House of Bishops.

    The issue of homosexuality has driven a rift between Western and African Anglicans since a Canadian diocese approved blessings for same-sex couples in 2002 and US Anglicans in the Episcopal Church appointed an openly gay man as bishop in 2003.

    Gay clergy in civil partnerships would be eligible for the episcopate - the position of bishop - if they make the pledge to remain celibate, as is already the case for gay deacons and priests.

    The Church of England, struggling to remain relevant in modern Britain despite falling numbers of believers, is already under pressure after voting narrowly last November to maintain a ban on women becoming bishops.

    The church teaches that couples can only have sex within marriage, and that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

    Britain legalised civil partnerships in 2005, forcing the church to consider how to treat clergy living in same-sex unions.

    The church ruled that a civil partnership was not a bar to clerical position, provided the clergy remained celibate, but failed to specifically address the issue of when the appointment was a bishop until Friday.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'If she never remembered me again': Loving someone with dementia

    'If she never remembered me again': Loving someone with dementia

    'I imagined there were thousands of such thoughts in that room, clinging to the ceiling like helium balloons.'

    What it means to love a dead child

    What it means to love a dead child

    You must forget all you thought you knew about grief when the landscape of your life has been demolished.

    'Butchered': The Kenyan FGM clinic serving Europeans

    'Butchered': The Kenyan FGM clinic serving Europeans

    Kenya banned FGM in 2011, but Europeans still bring their daughters to underground clinics there to be cut.