Quick! Break out the holy water and the rosaries because the Church of England is suffering a major “crisis.” And we mean major.
A gay clergyman has become the first ordained priest to break the Church’s ban on same-sex marriage by wedding his male partner over the weekend.
Hospital chaplain Canon Jeremy Pemberton exchanged nuptials with his long-term partner Laurence Cunnington on Saturday in what has been described as “a lovely wedding.”
Naturally, some members of the Church are having panic attacks.
“This will become a crisis if no action is taken!” one senior clergyman said. “People are looking to the Church to enforce its teachings and discipline. The clergy have taken vows of obedience in public and they ought to live by that. Canon Pemberton should be stripped of his right to function as a clergyman!”
Others have been more supportive.
“This is wonderful,” a more liberal cleric said. “I congratulate the couple and hope the Church will accept gay marriage very soon.”
Earlier this year, the House of Bishops voted to ban gay clergy from marrying even after same-sex marriage was made legal in England. It remains unclear if Pemberton will face disciplinary action for marrying Cunnington.
Rev Rod Thomas, chairman of the Reform evangelical group, told the Telegraph: “There’s no doubt that there is pressure within some parts of the church for the Church to change its mind on sexuality.”
Rev Colin Coward, who is a friend of Canon Pemberton’s and director of the Changing Attitude campaign group, added: “I hope the bishops find a way to affirm and bless their relationship rather than taking action against them.”
Despite the divide within the church, Pemberton says he isn’t letting it prevent him from doing what he feels is right.
“I love this man and I want to be married to him,” he said. “That’s what I want. It is the same as anyone who wants to get married.”
Congratulations to the new couple.