The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby was last night facing mounting pressure to crack down on clergy who marry their gay partners – as the threat of a split in the Anglican Church grew.
A powerful group of conservative African Archbishops said they were ‘deeply troubled’ by liberal Western attitudes towards homosexuality and that Church of England clerics were flouting a ban on same-sex weddings.
The Archbishops said it was ‘very concerning’ that the ban was being ‘openly disregarded’ and added: ‘We look to the Church of England to give clear leadership as moral confusion about the status of marriage [in England] deepens.’
Their intervention follows the civil wedding this month of Canon Jeremy Pemberton, a hospital chaplain, and his partner Laurence Cunnington under new laws pushed through by David Cameron.
Mr Pemberton, from Southwell, Nottinghamshire, is facing disciplinary action from the Bishop of Lincoln Christopher Lowson for disobeying the House of Bishops’ ruling that gay clergy should not marry because marriage should only be between a man and a women.
But Church of England conservatives believe the bishop will drag his feet because of fears of a liberal backlash – opening the floodgates to more gay clergy weddings.
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