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Celibate gay men 'could become bishops'.

THE Church of England is entering a new era.

Celibate gay men in civil partnerships may be ordained as bishops, according to a new guidance paper.

The Bishop of Wakefield is due to comment on the topic tomorrow.

The paper, which was sent out as a response to the October, 2010, Equality Act, provides an outline for those in charge of nominating gay candidates as bishops.

The revised equality legislation meant that employers cannot discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation but it does make allowances for "genuine occupational requirements".

As a result of this, the Church can exclude someone in a sexually active civil partnership, or impose a new requirement relating to sexual orientation.

They may do this to "avoid conflicting with the strongly held religious convictions of a significant number of the religious followers".

The guidance suggests that a person's "sexual orientation is, in itself, irrelevant to their suitability for episcopal office" but celibacy can be a requirement.

Celibate cleric Jeffrey John was denied the opportunity to become Bishop of Reading because he was gay and was appointed Dean of St Albans instead.

Although many Huddersfield churches are refusing to comment until they are more familiar with the literature, the guidance paper has received mixed views from some of the countries most recognised leaders.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams has described the continuous divisions over the topic of homosexuality as a "wound in the whole ministry".

The Rev Paul Dawson, from Church Campaign group Reform, believed that a gay bishop would have to be celibate and repent any sexual activity outside marriage - which is considered to only take place between a man and woman.
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jun 21, 2011
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