UK bishop compares opposition to gay priests to slavery
September 26, 2003
LONDON — A senior Anglican bishop in Britain has compared opposition to
the ordination of homosexual priests to support for slavery and
anti-semitism earlier in the church's history, according to an
interview published Sunday.
In comments certain to enrage Anglican traditionalists, the
Bishop of Oxford, Richard Harries, said the issue of gay and
lesbian priests would be seen in the future as something where the
church had "got it wrong".
Earlier this year, Harries caused a storm in the Church of
England by appointing the openly gay Canon Jeffrey John as bishop
for the British town of Reading.
John later withdrew his candidacy to avert a schism between
conservative and liberal factions.
"The Church has got it wrong in the past -- there's no doubt
about it," Harries told the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.
"For most of Christian history, for instance, it was assumed
that Jews had no place in the providence of God," he said.
"I think you can take the view that, just as the Church
eventually abolished slavery, so they ended up in favour of votes
for women, so they voted for the ordination of women, and this is
just one more issue where the Church has got it wrong."
Anglicans from around world are due to meet in mid-October for
an emergency debate on the issue, which has threatened to split the
church down the middle.
Harries -- who told the Sunday Telegraph he was "very sad" that
Canon John had withdrawn his candidacy for the bishop's post --
said it was vital the church face the reality of homosexual people.
"My main point as a bishop has been that there is a genuine
dilemma here," he said.
"There are gay and lesbian people. They didn't ask to be born
that way, and what is the best pastoral provision that the Church
can make for people who are gay and lesbian?" –Sapa-AFP
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