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World News

Phillip Schofield hits out at church rejecting female priests

by Sophie Drew

Phillip Schofield has hit out at a church in Cornwall that has refused to have a woman as it’s next priest.

The 'This Morning' presenter deemed the decision by Fowey Parochial Church Council to be “sexist”.

Discussing the issue with co-host Holly Willoughby and resident journalists Tom Swarbrick and Anushka Asthana,

Schofield, outraged by the decision, said: “Maybe they should watch the doors of their churches and wonder why so few people are walking through them."

He continued: “When we read this this morning, I just thought we were much further away from this.”

Anushka responded: "I guess we do still get these issues where theological beliefs rub up against what we think are human rights.”

Holly voiced concerns about “how this was allowed to happen,” and Tom branded the decision “a little bit Victorian,” “anachronistic” and “odd”.

According to Cornwall Live, congregants at the church said that they “could not remain within the church on theological grounds,” should their next leader be female.

It’s believed a female candidate wasn’t even allowed to be interviewed for the role.

The evangelical Church of England church has not had a vicar in almost four years, and started advertising for applicants in August 2022.

Fowey Church has disagreed with claims of “sexism,” saying they believe in the Biblical belief that we are all equal, but that women are called to different roles than men.

In a statement, the church said: “The church council has agreed a compromise position where we will both welcome women priests to teach the bible faithfully each Sunday and lead communion, but seek an overall male priest in charge.

“We appreciate this can be difficult to understand looking from the outside into the church, but would robustly defend that this position is not sexist, is widely established in the worldwide church, and accommodates all views in the membership of our church without exclusion.

“We look forward to our new appointment arriving later this year and welcome any members of our community to come and discuss with us any concerns they may have.”

Fowey Church is entirely within its legal right to disallow female vicars, as per Church of England rules.

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