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UK News

Church of England denies speculation it's banned bishops from speaking publicly on gay marriage

by Tola Mbakwe

The Church of England has denied rumours circulating on social media that bishops have been asked not to make any public statements about gay marriage. 

A spokesperson from the Church's Living in Love and Faith Next Steps Group told Premier in a statement: "During the College of Bishops meeting last week, it was suggested to bishops that they engage in the media 'in a way that honours our commitment to travelling together and to being appropriately open about the diversity of perspectives among us.' 

"Some might have interpreted this as a request they not comment at all.  This is far from the case, and bishops are of course allowed to express their views - as we have seen some of them do since the end of the meeting last Wednesday."

The statement comes after Rt Rev Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford published a 52-page essay last Thursday detailing why he's calling for the Church to back same-sex marriage.

Following that, speculation arose that the Church didn't approve of such thing. 

Charlie Wells tweeted on Monday : "I understand that our bishops have been told to 'hold the process' and say nothing about LGBTQI people 'for now', and that those who have said something are not following 'the plan'. If this is the case (and a bishop says it is) then I really despair."

He then later tweeted: "Just to be clear, this is fake news as per the Bishop of Worcester!"

When the College of Bishops met last week, part of the talks were about the next steps of the Living in Love and Faith (LLF) discernment process.

The LLF process consisted Anglican churches across the country discussing whether to allow same-sex marriage in the Church of England.

A recent report on the LLF consultation confirmed there's a desire for the Church to be more inclusive in regards to same-sex marriage. However, it showed that there also those who believe allowing gay marriage in Church would be a departure from Biblical teaching. 

There was a consensus though for the need for bishops to give clear leadership on the issue.  

The bishops' discussions will be brought to the February 2023 General Synod for decision-making.

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