Welby: Only a mir­a­cle can solve Church’s gay rights row

Daily Mail - - Camilla: Her Story - By Steve Doughty So­cial Af­fairs Cor­re­spon­dent

THE Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury said yes­ter­day that the Church of Eng­land will need a mir­a­cle from the Holy Spirit to solve its long-run­ning row over gay rights.

The Most Rev­erend Justin Welby said the di­vi­sions can­not be healed by hu­man hands but only by di­vine in­ter­ven­tion.

His re­marks in­di­cate deep­en­ing des­per­a­tion among Angli­can lead­ers over the ir­rec­on­cil­able gap be­tween lib­er­als who de­mand gay equal­ity within the Church and con­ser­va­tive evan­gel­i­cals who say that gay sex is sin­ful.

The arch­bishop made his un­usual and heartfelt ref­er­ence to the need for a mir­a­cle in a pa­per on the CofE’s at­ti­tude to sex­u­al­ity writ­ten with his most se­nior col­league, the Arch­bishop of York, the Most Rev­erend John Sen­tamu.

Their mes­sage, to be pre­sented to the Church’s par­lia­ment, the Gen­eral Synod, next month, promised that bish­ops would pre­pare a ‘teach­ing doc­u­ment’ to set out the lat­est think­ing on how to cope with the rift over gay rights.

‘We do not ex­pect the teach­ing doc­u­ment, or the process of writ­ing it, to achieve rec­on­cil­i­a­tion of all views across the Church of Eng­land,’ the arch­bish­ops said. ‘Such rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, were it to hap­pen, would be the work of the Holy Spirit, not of hu­man hands or brains.’

In Fe­bru­ary the Synod re­jected Arch­bishop Welby’s most re­cent com­pro­mise plan de­signed to end a row that has con­sumed the Church for 30 years. It would have main­tained the CofE’s ban on same­sex mar­riage, but there would have been of­fi­cial prayers for churches to cel­e­brate gay re­la­tion­ships.

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