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Quotes of the week

13 January 2023


It is an appalling scandal that in such a wealthy nation, so many millions can barely afford to make ends meet. A culture of low pay, a punitive benefits regime and a global crisis of energy costs has led many into destitution. This means that churches across the county and nation have become first aid organisations, literally keeping people alive through food banks, community provision and warm spaces

Philip North, Bishop of Burnley, speech in Blackburn Cathedral during announcement he will be the diocesan bishop, 10 January


I have little doubt that if the church cannot find a way forward that enables clergy either to marry same-sex couples or to bless their weddings, MPs will soon feel the need to intervene to change the law

Tony Baldry, former Second Church Estates Commissioner, The Times, 9 January


I have been forced to ask myself the question, how is the Church’s teaching good news for gay people, created in God’s image? I feel bound to say, rather late in the day, that it is not. I apologise to all those whom my silence has wounded in the past. My reticence was motivated by a commitment to the unity of the Church. I believe the time has come for all of us to be honest about the convictions we have reached after prayer, study of scripture and theological reflection, often over many years. . . How can we expect the Spirit to lead us into all truth if we are less than honest with one another?

John Inge, Bishop of Worcester, open letter to his diocese, 9 January


Those who articulate a conservative approach to sexuality need to understand that, though they may not intend to be homophobic, they are often heard to be so. It’s analogous, for me, to the way in which women not being allowed to be ordained can come across to some of them as branding them second-class citizens, whatever sophisticated biblical and theological reasons are given



While organisations such as WATCH work on national level awareness-raising, or local advocacy and case work, individual bishops make their own policy and, if such policy discriminates against women, there is no accountability. Consistency across dioceses is lacking in many areas, including in training for ministry

Stacey Rand, Senior Research Fellow in Social Care, University of Kent, ViaMedia, 10 January


If someone is spending more on Netflix subscriptions, football season tickets each month than they donate to their parish, then a financial reality check is probably in order

Spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, warning of impending closures, The Times, 9 January


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