‘Serious institutional homophobia’ in Church of England, says Bishop
Alan Wilson, the Bishop of Buckingham praised same sex couples for their “considerable courage and determination” to tackle prejudices in the church, including the right to get married.
“In very few years people will wonder what the fuss was all about,” he told the LGBT issues magazine Pink News.
“But for now it’s a path that calls for considerable courage and determination. So please spare a thought this Christmas for them.”
In his Christmas sermon this week, Bishop Wilson also said the church had a “funny way” of showing love towards gay members of their congregation – especially as there were many Church leaders opposed to the concept of same sex marriage.
“Christians believe God is love and those who live in love live in God, and God lives in them,” he said.
“But, you may say, churches have a funny way of showing that sometimes. We still have a legacy of serious institutional homophobia, inertia and ignorance to overcome. The fact is, however, where people dare to think things could be different, think things through without prejudice, there is hope.”
Last month, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby warned the Anglican community was at risk of splitting as its members drifted further apart over controversial issues like gay marriage and abortion.
“Our divisions may be too much to manage,” he warned the General Synod in November.
“In many parts of the Communion, including here, there is a belief that opponents are either faithless to the tradition, or by contrast that they are cruel, judgmental, inhuman. I have to say that we are in a state so delicate that without prayer and repentance, it is hard to see how we can avoid some serious fractures.”
Archbishop Welby has come under criticism by gay members of the clergy for failing to listen to their concerns, and for refusing to talk about his previous opposition to ordained gay marriage.