Traditionalist clergy feel 'vulnerable' after CofE backs same-sex blessings

Traditionalist clergy feel 'vulnerable' after CofE backs same-sex blessings
Feb 2023

Traditionalist clergy feel 'vulnerable' after CofE backs same-sex blessings

(Photo: Getty/iStock)

Clergy in the Church of England who take a conservative view of marriage and sexuality will be left "vulnerable and without practical or moral support" after the General Synod backed blessings for same-sex couples, an orthodox group has warned.

Same-sex couples will still not be allowed to marry in a CofE church and the House of Bishops, which drew up the proposals, has insisted that Church doctrine on marriage will not be changed.


The reassurances have done little to allay the fears of conservative Anglicans who believe that the changes will pave the way for the Church to embrace gay marriage - in yesterday's debate, the Bishop of Oxford, Steven Croft, said that he wanted the blessings to be a "stepping stone" towards "equal marriage" in the CofE.

Rev Paul Eddy, Convenor of Anglican Orthodox, a grassroots movement of traditionalist Anglicans in the CofE, said that the impact of the changes will be felt most keenly by traditionalist parish vicars who refuse to hold the blessing services on grounds of conscience and ordination vows.

He fears that traditionalist clergy will be put under enormous pressure to embrace gay marriage and is urging them to seek alternative episcopal oversight.

"The bishops have wiped their hands clean of theological and moral responsibility on this," he said.

"For six years during the Living in Love & Faith process, when our nation was increasingly feeling cultural confusion over gender and identity, they remained silent.

"Now, instead of standing up for the orthodox, universal Christian position, they've caved into cultural conformity and offered a fudge.

"But the most worrying thing is that now, whilst liberal vicars will rejoice, and will soon offer such services, the LGBTI+ lobby in the Church won't be satisfied until the whole CofE officially opts-in for gay marriage.

"So they will target orthodox clergy in their individual parishes, putting local and media pressure on them to bless gay unions against their conscience. And the bishops? They will hang their clergy out to dry."

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