New pastoral guidelines about marriage

29 July 2009


From Mr Nick Nawrockyi
Sir, — I have to say I am surprised at the Church’s recent provision of a marriage and baptism service rolled into one. On the surface, you might see how we are enhancing the mission of the Church, by offering couples this welcoming and inclusive service. But I’m afraid it smacks of hypocrisy when we consider the Church’s official line towards gay and lesbian people who wish to recognise their commitment to one another.

One couple, who happen to be of the same sex, the Church rejects; the other, who have clearly been enjoy­ing sex outside marriage, are celebrated. I fail to see the logic here. The House of Bishops stated in 2005: “Sexual intercourse, as an expression of faithful intimacy, properly belongs within marriage exclusively.” What the Church is now saying is that we can offer you liturgical provision celebrating the fact that you’ve had children before marriage, but only because you’re heterosexual.

Bishop Steven Platten states in the church press release that this service has been provided “so that the Church can respond pastorally to our changing world”. Resolution C056 passed by the Episcopal Church gives dioceses the ability to provide a “generous pastoral response” to its faithful gay and lesbian couples. How are these situations different? If the Church of England can reinterpret its principles on sex before marriage so easily, is not a serious rethink on its attitude towards gay and lesbian people called for?
Rose Cottage, New Barnetby
North Lincolnshire DN38 6DU

From the Revd Richard Haggis
Sir, — This is a fuss about nothing. What the parents have been up to is of no significance in baptising a child. If they want to marry, and they want their child baptised, we should welcome them with open arms, as the law requires us to. Some of us have been doing it for years.

If you close the door on people, you can’t be surprised when your church is empty.
26 Bampton Close
Littlemore, Oxford OX4 6NN

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