Confusion over Church same-sex blessings plan

Conflicting reports have emerged about whether a Church of England commission is about to recommend services of blessing for same-sex couples.

The Church says no formal decision has yet been taken, but sources within the Church say the commission’s recommendation is expected later this year.

The former Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir Ali, says such a move would be a “red line” for traditionalists.

Proposal

The Church’s head of communications, Arun Arora, denies that any such proposal is on the table.

But vicar Peter Ould, who used to be gay, said a number of different sources have confirmed it will be recommended in the commission’s report.

The Commission, chaired by former civil servant Sir Joseph Pilling, is looking into the Church’s attitude to sexuality and is expected to publish its review in December.

Warned

Colin Hart, director of The Christian Institute, warned against the idea of formal liturgy for gay couples.

He said: “If the Church blesses same sex unions it will have abandoned core Christian teaching about marriage and human sexuality.”

Mr Arora tweeted Revd Ould to refute claims that the Church are considering the idea, saying it’s “pure nonsense”, and “drafts to date have recommended against liturgy” for same-sex unions.

Speculation

William Fittall, Secretary General of the General Synod and Archbishops’ Council, said the House of Bishops cannot comment on a report that it has “yet to receive, still less study”.

He added: “Since no one can know at this point what the report will eventually say, such claims are simply speculation.”

The Church of England officially opposed the redefinition of marriage and is banned from conducting same-sex wedding ceremonies.

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