Australian Anglican Primate gives gays hope

David Virtue DVirtue236 at AOL.COM
Sun May 20 23:49:32 EDT 2001

Australian Anglican Primate gives gays hope


Homosexual relationships could be given the term of "friendship" and
formally witnessed by the church, Anglican Church Primate Dr Peter
Carnley said this week.

In an advance on previous church pronouncements on the issue, he
suggested that the church could bless such a friendship if publicly
expressed through a covenant or formal life-long commitment.

This could be in the form of a solemn promise or contractual
arrangement, that could be publicly registered to allow the partners to
qualify for social security benefits, pensions and rights to property

While the Catholic Church has taken a hard line against homosexuality
with the controversial Archbishop George Pell refusing gay parishioners
communion, Dr Carnley said such relationships could even be considered
to "participate in the divine".

The primate outlined the views in excerpts of a paper that appears in
today's issue of The Bulletin on the church approach to gay marriages
and long-term relationships.

Dr Carnley said that the modern Anglican stance on sexual relations
"seems to lead in the direction of accepting that some physical
expression of the physical bond of friendship could be countenanced
within same gender relationships as a degree of recreational sexual

Dr Carnley was expounding on the controversial issue in response to
what he described as the many people now in favor of homosexual
relationships being recognised and legalised by the state and
legitimised and blessed by the church. Because the chief purpose of
marriage in the Anglican tradition was procreation, extending the term
to include same-sex relationships would not be "helpful". In witnessing
a homosexual covenant, the church would be saying "no" to promiscuity
and associated health risks, and making it more likely the relationship
would last, he said.

Dr Carnley also argued that "there is no clear biblical teaching about
behavior that might be explicitly appropriate to homosexually oriented
persons". The church would do better to concentrate on the spiritual
aspects of such relationships and leave other matters to individual
choice, he said.


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