[The Christian Post] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Archbishop of York John Sentamu have apologized for a decree issued by the Church of England which said that only heterosexual married couples should have sex and that sex in gay or straight civil partnerships “falls short of God’s purpose for human beings.”
“We as Archbishops, alongside the bishops of the Church of England, apologize and take responsibility for releasing a statement last week which we acknowledge has jeopardised trust,” the archbishops said in a statement, according to Belfast Telegraph. “We are very sorry and recognize the division and hurt this has caused.”
The House of Bishops of the Church of England last week issued a pastoral guidance, which said, “For Christians, marriage — that is, the lifelong union between a man and a woman, contracted with the making of vows — remains the proper context for sexual activity.”
The guidance was issued in response to the recent introduction of mixed-sex civil partnerships by the U.K. parliament to open the institution to heterosexual couples.
The church “seeks to uphold that standard” in its approach to civil partnerships, and “to affirm the value of committed, sexually abstinent friendships” within such partnerships, the guidance said. “The introduction of same sex marriage, through the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, has not changed the church’s teaching on marriage or same sex relationships.”
It added, “Sexual relationships outside heterosexual marriage are regarded as falling short of God’s purpose for human beings.”