Words: Steve Brown
The Church of England has apologised for saying sex is just for married heterosexuals.
Last week, the Church faced backlash after it said that sex is for married, heterosexual couples only and that Christians in gay or straight civil partnerships should be abstinent.
With the recent introduction of mixed-sex civil partnerships, Church of England bishops have issued pastoral guidance in response and said: “For Christians, marriage – that is, the lifelong union between a man and a woman, contract with the making of vows – remains the proper context for sexual activity.”
It then added: “Sexual relationships outside heterosexual marriage are regarded as falling short of God’s purpose for human beings.”
Despite the Church of England allows clergy to be in same-sex civil partnerships, they must remain sexually abstinent. The Church does not permit or recognise same-sex marriage.
And now, following the backlash the archbishops of Canterbury and York – Justin Welby and John Sentamu – issued a statement apologising and said they ‘recognise the division’ they have caused.
The statement read: “We as archbishops, alongside the bishops of the Church of England, apologise and take responsibility for releasing a statement last week which we acknowledge has jeopardised trust.
“We are very sorry and recognise the division and hurt this has caused.
“At our meeting of the College of Bishops of the Church of England this week we continued our commitment to the Living in Love and Faith project which is about questions of human identity, sexuality and marriage.
“This process is intended to help us all to build bridges that will enable the difficult conversations that are necessary as, together, we discern the way forward for the Church of England.”