Church of Ireland to discuss hurt caused to gay society
Irish clerics meet to debate topic at weekend conference
A Church of Ireland conference will discuss the hurt the Church of Ireland has caused to gay people in Dublin this weekend.
A group of ten bishops, two archbishops and 630 clergy and laity are meeting as part of the Church’s General Synod 2012, which takes place in Christ Church Cathedral from Thursday until Saturday May 12.
According to the Press Association, Revd Alan Harper, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, said the subject of human sexuality in the context of Christian belief was among the topics up for discussion during the three-day gathering in Dublin.
The motion to be discussed states: “the Church of Ireland welcomes all people to be members of the Church. It is acknowledged, however, that members of the Church have at times hurt and wounded people by words and actions, in relation to human sexuality”.
Archbishop Harper, OBE, said: "The second motion acknowledges openly the hurt and injury experienced at times by lesbian and gay people as a result of the words and actions of Church members. It articulates the commitment of the Church of Ireland to being sensitive to the pastoral needs of gay and lesbian people and a safe and welcoming place for everyone."
Also on the agenda for discussion is the future of the Church of Ireland and pensions for elderly clergy.
During his presidential address, Archbishop Harper described the issue of sexuality as potentially divisive within the church.
"Members of the General Synod, this is but work in progress and it is work not for bishops alone but for the General Synod on behalf of the Church of Ireland as a whole," he said.
"Leadership in the Church of Ireland, especially in the context of the role of bishops, consists not in telling the Church what to think but in assisting the Church in coming to a richer, deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the faith we have received.
"The archbishops and bishops of the Church of Ireland guard and define the doctrine of the Church only to the extent that they may be called upon to declare whether or not a particular view is consonant with the current teaching of the Church as the Church of Ireland has received it. Ultimate sovereignty under God rests with the General Synod."
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