The Church of England has apologized for issuing guidance last week saying sex is for married heterosexual couples only.
However, in their statement Thursday, the archbishops of Canterbury and York stopped short of retracting the guidance, and LGBTQ advocates say their apology isn’t good enough.
“We as archbishops, alongside the bishops of the Church of England, apologize and take responsibility for releasing a statement last week which we acknowledge has jeopardized trust,” the archbishops said. “We are very sorry and recognise the division and hurt this has caused. At our meeting of the College of Bishops of the Church of England this week we continued our commitment to the Living in Love and Faith project which is about questions of human identity, sexuality and marriage. This process is intended to help us all to build bridges that will enable the difficult conversations that are necessary as, together, we discern the way forward for the Church of England.”
The Jan. 23 guidance from the church’s House of Bishops was prompted by the introduction of opposite-sex civil partnerships in England. The guidance said the church’s teaching on marriage “remains unchanged,” claiming sex outside of marriage is “falling short of God’s purpose for human beings.”
“For Christians, marriage – that is the lifelong union between a man and a woman, contracted with the making of vows – remains the proper context for sexual activity,” the guidance said.
More from the Guardian: Responding to the archbishops’ apology, Jayne Ozanne, a leading campaigner for LGBT+ inclusivity in the church, said she was grateful for the statement but added: “I fear that more than words is now needed.” Ozanne, one of the authors of an open letter saying the guidance had made the C of E a “laughing stock,” added: “We await the evidence that they have truly heard and taken onboard our concerns by what comes out of the Living in Love and Faith report. “I – along with thousands who signed our letter – look forward to understanding what a ‘new radical Christian inclusion’. means for those of us who have been excluded for far too long.”