The two highest representatives of the Church of England have reacted to the marriage of two homosexual Anglican priests with clear criticism. Clergy have no right to "simply ignore" the teachings of the church, the British press quoted a statement by Archbishops Rowan Williams and John Sentamu on Wednesday. The Anglican Church's position on sexuality is "well known" and "still relevant".
Observers see the reaction of the head bishops of Canterbury and York as an attempt to appease the conservative wing, which is threatening to split from the Anglican world communion in protest against a course of the church that is perceived as increasingly liberal. Over the weekend, it was revealed that New Zealand clergyman David Lord had married his English brother minister Peter Cowell. Although the Anglican Church accepts the blessing of homosexual unions, critics complained that the ceremony was too similar to the Anglican marriage rite. Lord has since resigned from the priesthood. The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, ordered an investigation on Monday. Meanwhile the celebrating priest feels no remorse. He had wanted to "test the boundaries," the Rev. Martin Dudley wrote in an op-ed for the New Statesman magazine (Tuesday). After all, the love of two men is neither "unusual" nor "perverse" and is accepted outside the church. In the Church of England, the blessing of homosexual partnerships is tolerated. Homosexual priests are also allowed to exercise their ministry as long as they are celibate. The controversy in the Anglican world communion over practicing homosexuals sparked in 2003 over the appointment of Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire.