The dean of York has stirred up controversy within the Church of England after announcing she would be prepared to bless gay marriages.
In an interview with the Radio Times, Rev. Vivienne Faull accused the Church of England of ‘driving people away’ with its historic position on same-sex marriages.
In the interview, she said that she had ‘found ways’ to celebrate gay and lesbian couples’ civil partnerships, while sticking to the Church’s rules which ban official blessings.
Recently, the House of Bishops ruled that no cleric in the Church of England was allowed to conduct or bless same-sex weddings. The actions of the dean, who serves under Rt Rev. John Sentamu, Archbishop of York (who has in the past stood up for the biblical view of marriage), are likely to ‘encourage more indiscipline within the clergy’, according to a statement from Christian Concern.
The Christian lobbying organisation said, ‘It is highly provocative for a senior cleric to make comments that not only openly defy the Church’s guidelines but, more importantly, defy God’s teaching as clearly set out in the Bible’.
Christian Concern is encouraging Christians to write to the Archbishops of York and Canterbury to clarify their practice and statements over same-sex marriage, and whether any action will be taken to discipline the dean for ‘openly defying and testing the authority of the leaders of the Church in this way’.
This follows on from other controversial actions by other senior clergy, including the Bishop of Salisbury, who issued a statement praising same-sex couples planning to ‘marry’.
Recently, the Bishop of Buckingham wrote in gay newspaper PinkNews that allowing same-sex couples to marry enriched the ‘public understanding of what it means to be married’.