Archbishop of Wales welcomes gays to the world of God

The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, has said that he is concerned that the way the church appears could be making homosexuals feel uncomfortable and unwelcome in religious outlets.

In his presidential address to members of the Church in Wales’ Governing Body in Llandudno, on Wednesday, the Archbishop said same-sex relationships was a moral issue facing the Church and the world, on which there was no single Christian opinion. His concern, however, was that the Church should offer gay people pastoral care and support.

Dr Morgan said, “The Government’s consultation on civil marriage raises a whole host of theological questions for the church.  My concern at the moment is that in any discussion which might ensue on this, gay people may once more gain the impression that the church is uncaring and unsympathetic.  Things could be said in the coming months which I think could seriously damage people pastorally so it is that pastoral issue that I want to address.”

The Archbishop said that while the Bishops of the Church in Wales abided by the Christian doctrine of marriage as the union of one man with one woman freely entered into for life, they agreed that “all life-long committed relationships deserved the welcome, pastoral care and support of the Church and they were committed to further listening, prayerful reflection and discernment regarding same-sex relationships”.

But he warned, “Gays and lesbians claim they are still treated as second-class citizens, tolerated at best and vilified at worst….  Very often homosexuality is talked about as if real people were not involved; and gays and lesbians complain of being talked about rather than talked to in Church.”

Dr Barry Morgan said the Church would not be able to ignore the new legislation on civil marriage proposed by the Government, despite the fact that the legislation would not allow gay couples to marry in church. He called on the Church to discuss how it would respond.

He said, “If the legislation to allow civil marriage is passed, I cannot see how we as a church, will be able to ignore the legality of the status of such partnerships and we ought not to want to do so.

“The question then as now is, will the church protect and support pastorally, faithful, stable, lifelong relationships of whatever kind in order to encourage human values such as love and fidelity and recognise the need in Christian people for some public religious support for these.”

For many spectators of ‘religion’, which has increasingly been seen to chastise rather than spread ‘love and peace’ and live and let live, the Archbishop of Wales’ comments will be a refreshing change.