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Church of Ireland General Synod: no consensus human sexuality, so keep listening, Synod told

18 May 2018

Gregg Ryan reports from the Church of Ireland General Synod in Armagh


A woman cycles past a marriage-equality mural in Dublin, in 2015

A woman cycles past a marriage-equality mural in Dublin, in 2015

THERE was little appetite for discussion on human-sexuality issues in Church of Ireland parishes, its General Synod heard this week.

Nor could a consensus be found in the Synod, the House of Bishops, or the Church generally, to alter the canons of the Church on the question of marriage, the Synod was told by the Bishop of Meath & Kildare, the Most Revd Pat Storey, who headed the Select Committee on Human Sexuality in the context of Christian Belief, set up in 2013.

After four years of work, the committee findings were passed to the House of Bishops.

Bishop Storey said that the lack of interest in altering church structures and canons to accommodate same-sex marriage and other related issues meant that “the Church of Ireland marriage service remains unchanged, and marriage may be solemnised only between a man and a woman. No liturgy or authorised service is provided therefore for any other situation.

“As the Archbishops and bishops have already made clear to the clergy of the Church of Ireland, it is not possible to proscribe the saying of prayers in personal and pastoral situations; but if clergy are invited to offer prayer after a same-sex marriage, any such prayer must remain conson­ant with the spirit and teaching of the Church of Ireland.”

Acknowledging that there was no simple solution for these and other issues of human sexuality, she called for compassion, humility, and concern for those involved.

“We offer our continued commitment to attentive listening and to respectful discussion. We ask that all members of Synod who continue to hold strong opinions do so with integrity and compassion, and to also hold in prayer before God the challenging diversity that exists within the Church of Ireland.”

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