Bishops same-sex blessing plans are a “dog’s dinner”, says senior cleric

Feb 18, 2023

Revd Dr Ian Paul is a prominent member of the Church of England’s General Synod, and serves on the Archbishop’s Council. I asked Ian to tell me more about the controversial marriage-related decisions reached by the Synod in its recent session held 6th-9th February 2023.

Ian tells me about the Bishops’ “dog’s dinner” attempt to affirm they have “no appetite for changing the doctrine of marriage”, while also offering “some sort of blessing to people who are in some kind of same-sex relationship”. He says the Bishops were “extremely unclear” on how to “reconcile the tensions” between these two positions. In fact, he goes on, they failed to offer any “theological rationale for what they’re doing”.

The Bishops, Ian says, were attempting to separate the Church’s definition of Holy Matrimony from civil marriage. But, he points out, “no-one believes in that differentiation”. The Bishops themselves “have stated very clearly there is no difference between those two things”.

Ian systematically picks apart the liberal arguments for blessing same-sex unions. He hopes “it might be that the whole thing collapses” when General Synod meets again in July.

“If we are genuinely going to love those… in our culture outside the Church”, Ian concludes, “we need to invite them to follow God’s best pattern for their lives”.

C4M supporters come from all faiths and none. We agree real marriage is the “best pattern” for society. The body of international evidence is clear: nothing comes close in terms of best outcomes for men, women and especially children.