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.

Ireland – the gay issue

Posted by Fr Mark on August 19, 2009

st-patricks-cross100px-Coat_of_arms_of_Ireland_svgChurch of Ireland may accept gay marriage – Harper




From Newsletter, 05.07.08:


CHURCH of Ireland Primate Alan Harper has reignited a simmering controversy after suggesting that scientific breakthroughs may mean homosexual relationships are sanctioned by the Church.
Archbishop Harper said that if it can be biologically proven that homosexuality is natural then the Church must reconsider “what may be a new status for homosexual relationships,”
Addressing the Anglicans in World Mission conference in Swanwick, England, Archbishop Harper said if evidence came to light that homosexuality is biologically predetermined then the Church would have to reflect that fact.

Concluding his speech, the Archbishop said: “It has not yet been conclusively shown that for some males and some females homosexuality and homosexual acts are natural rather than unnatural.

“If such comes to be shown, it will be necessary to acknowledge the full implications of that new aspect of the truth, and that insight applied to establish and acknowledge what may be a new status for homosexual relationships within the church.”


But the Rev James McMaster, rector of St Nicholas’ Church of Ireland in Carrickfergus, said he believes most members of the Church of Ireland would disagree with the Archbishop.

“It’s certainly not the Church’s position. It may be Archbishop Harper’s postion but it is certainly not the Church of Ireland position; it’s not the position of very many of us and it’s not the Bible’s position.

“Unfortunately, when Archbishop Harper speaks, people think he’s representing the Church of Ireland and speaking for it, but he definitely is not on this occasion,” the Rev McMaster said.

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