As Anglican bishops gather, deep divisions over statement on banning same-sex marriage emerge

Following criticism from Anglican bishops, participants in the 2022 Lambeth Conference in Canterbury will be given the opportunity to “clearly state their opposition” to a motion against same-sex marriage and blessings of homosexual unions.

A statement published on 26th July  — one day before the start of the conference of the Anglican Communion — announced that participants could now vote for a third response to motions, referred to as calls: “This Call does not speak for me. I do not add my voice to this Call.”

The short-term change was the result of criticism of the wording of the call on Human Dignity, which says “legitimising or blessing of same-sex unions” could not be advised.

It also states it was “the mind of the Anglican communion as a whole that same-gender marriage is not permissible.”

The wording sparked critical reactions from some Anglicans in the U.S. and the UK.

“I am very disappointed that the planners of Lambeth have chosen to include in the Call for Human Dignity a divisive and exclusionary clause that will cause not just spiritual pain, but further fracture within the Anglican Communion,” Missouri Bishop Deon Johnson toldthe Episcopalian News Service.

Church in Wales bishops issued a statement on 23rd July, saying the draft call “undermines and subverts” LGBT+ people.

At the same time, the conference, which expects to host 650 of about 1,000 Anglican bishops, is not attended by the archbishops of Uganda, Rwanda and Nigeria, who strongly have defended the stance that marriage is between one man and one woman.

The Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches said in a statement on 7th July, “The invitation from Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to all serving bishops in the Anglican Communion to attend the conference has caused great pain amongst orthodox leaders.

“Bishops in same sex relationships, and those seeking to persuade their own province/diocese, and others, to accept ‘gay marriage’ have also been invited. Orthodox Bishops who hold firm to the Bible’s teaching on marriage, and sexuality have had to solemnly decide, in keeping also with their respective Provincial processes, whether or not to attend the gathering.”

Archbishop Welby said at a press conference in March that this year’s Lambeth Conference, which will conclude on 8th August, should not be dominated by debates about human sexuality. The theme of the event is “God’s Church for God’s World: walking, listening and witnessing together.”



Catholic News Agency

Photo: © Marcin Mazur, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales