The Church of England: Not of Sound Mind

Church of England bishops have decided to stick to the church’s traditional teaching that marriage is “between a man and a woman,” which will lead to no small amount of lamenting within that Church about not keeping up with secular morality.

Church of England bishops and the General Synod have decided to stick to the church’s traditional teaching that marriage is “between a man and a woman.” This was announced after “long and careful consideration of all the factors involved.”

Let me do a bit of translating for you. This was announced after members of the stitch-up committee set up to advocate homosexual marriage couldn’t agree; and so, after much foot-stamping and many hissy fits, the Synod has settled on a compromise.

“Same-sex couples will still not be able to get married in church but prayers of dedication and thanksgiving or for God’s blessing on the couple will be allowed after a civil gay marriage.”

Orthodox. Faithful. Free.

Sign up to get Crisis articles delivered to your inbox daily

What will happen next? The chief ecclesiastical supporters of homosexual “marriage” will be properly miffed. The Archbishop of Canterbury will have a nervous breakdown—his eighteenth—and Commissar Stephen Cottrell, Gauleiter Archbishop of York, will retreat—temporarily of course—to his bunker under Bishopthorpe to contemplate his next territorial demand.

The LGBTQ+ homies and palones will be just too, too chagrined—they’re used to being chagrined—and will cry all through the new season of Pride marches. When they have taken comfort from a pint or two of Cosmo or Vodka Cran, the more feverish among them will propose taking legal action against the church authorities’ discrimination.

The traditionalists in the Church of England—all five of them—will describe the compromise decision as an abomination and stomp about in fine imitation of the late Rev. Ian Paisley preaching the good news of our damnation. 

Before the Archbishop of Canterbury set off for his latest therapy session he declared, “I am under no illusions that what we are proposing today will appear to go too far for some and not nearly far enough for others, but it is my hope that what we have agreed will be received in a spirit of generosity, seeking the common good.”

There is no end to the hilarious entertainment. Bishops will be issuing an apology later this week to LGBTQ+ people for the “rejection, exclusion and hostility” they have historically faced in churches.

I understand there are no plans to issue an apology to the five traditionalists—make that four, one has just fallen off his twig—for the Synod’s betrayal of Christian doctrine by offering blessings of homosexual “marriages.”

I know it’s rather passé but are we allowed to enquire what the Bible has to say about these matters? Plenty, and in language plain enough to be understood even by a member of a Synod. Both the Old and the New Testaments declare unambiguously that sexual relationships must be between one man and one woman. In particular, homosexual acts are prohibited.

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind” (Leviticus 18:22). And St. Paul condemns “Men who burn with lust one for the other” (Romans 1:27). 

Yeah but, y’know, the Bible and all that old stuff was then, this is now.

Stephen Cottrell has said the same—only, predictably, in his customary ecclesiastical-sociological gibberish. “What we can do is recognise that what we know now about human development and human sexuality requires us to look again at those texts to see what they are actually saying to our situation, for what we know now is not what was known then.”

The former Archbishop Rowan Williams and Archbishop Justin Welby are at one with the present Archbishop of York in their frequently repeated assertion that “The Church has a lot of catching-up to do with secular morality.” 

So, St. Paul was totally out of order when he wrote to the early Christians, “Be ye not conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2).

Commenting on the Synodical Committee’s decision, Welby said, “We are not of one mind.”

What mind? The contemporary Church of England does not have a mind. A mind does not operate on the principle that it should contradict itself. But that is exactly what the bishops and the Synod have decided: to reiterate the church’s prohibition of homosexual “marriage” and then to offer prayers to bless such unions.

How can any sane person or sane institution bless what it disapproves?

Of course, the public will notice this folly and its desertion of the pews will quicken. 

[Photo Credit: Getty Images]

  • Rev Dr Peter Mullen

    The Rev Dr Peter Mullen has served as an Anglican priest for 50 years. His most recent cure of souls was as Rector of St Michael’s, Cornhill in the City of London. He has published more than forty books of theology and philosophy, and has written for many publications including the Wall Street Journal.

Join the Conversation

in our Telegram Chat

Or find us on

Editor's picks

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00

Orthodox. Faithful. Free.

Signup to receive new Crisis articles daily

Share to...