Via Integra

Fr Mark's progressive Anglo-Catholic take on European Christianity

  • This is my collection of material about the current state of the churches in Europe. I am interested in looking at how they are dealing with the pressing issues of our time: the issues of gay people and women in ministry/ leadership are particularly pressing at the moment, as is the area of declining church attendance.

    I would like to see how Europe's traditional religious institutions are coping with the new Europe currently being forged, in which public opinion and ethical attitudes are becoming inceasingly pan-European, and are evidently presenting a series of strong challenges for the churches.

England – the gay issue

Posted by Fr Mark on August 14, 2009

three_lionsEngland’s best-known Evangelical layman comes out in favour of same-sex marriage.




From, 05.09.08:

HIS hits may no longer fill the airwaves, but Cliff Richard proved yesterday he still has the capacity to captivate the public as he spoke for the first time about his “close friendship” with an Irish former priest.

Cliff (67), who has refused to answer questions about his sexuality for decades, reveals in his newly published autobiography that John McElynn, with whom he lives, is his “companion”.

Writing in ‘My Life, My Way’, the committed Christian, who has sold more than 250 million records, says he believes the Church should approve same sex marriages, although he has no plans to enter into one.

Cliff writes that he met Mr McElynn, a former missionary, seven years ago, while visiting New York.


“He hadn’t had any thought at the beginning of giving up the priesthood; but when it became clear he was thinking of the possibility, I suggested he might help me with some charitable projects,” he said.

“That was seven years ago and our arrangement has worked out really well. John now spends most of his time looking after my properties, which means I don’t have to.

“John and I have over time struck up a close friendship. He has also become a companion, which is great because I don’t like living alone.

“People often make the mistake of thinking that only marriage equals happiness. I may suddenly meet someone and feel differently, but right now I am not sure marriage would enhance my happiness.”

The pop star, whose published religious works include a collection of 50 Bible stories, insists that he does not think his Christian fans will be perturbed by his announcement.

He writes: “As for my sexuality, I am sick to death of the media’s speculation about it. What business is it of anyone else’s?

“I don’t think my fans would care either way.”

He adds that he believes that the legal recognition of civil partnerships between homosexuals reflects modernisation, and that the Church must embrace them.

“Same-sex marriages are perhaps a modern example of how things have changed,” he writes. “I think the Church must come round and see people as they are. Gone are the days when we assumed loving relationships would be solely between men and women.


“In the end, I believe, people are going to be judged for what they are. It seems to me that commitment is the issue, and if anyone comes to me and says, ‘This is my partner — we are committed to each other’, then I don’t care what their sexuality is. I’m not going to judge — I’ll leave that to God.”

Despite revealing that his current partner is male, Cliff writes in his book that he twice nearly married a woman.

“One was Jackie Irving, a dancer whom I met in Blackpool,” he says.

The second was Sue Barker, the BBC sports presenter and former tennis star.

“I seriously contemplated asking her to marry me,” he said. “But in the end I realised that I didn’t love her quite enough to commit the rest of my life to her.” (© The Times, London)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: