So where does the Church of England stand on homosexuality?

I have been trying to look it up online, but rather than being able to get a straightforward answer, you know, like you would in Catholic teaching, the conclusion here seems to be, it’s messy and many people within the Anglican church disagree on this. The rules also seem to get altered every so often.

The C f E doesn’t see homosexuality in itself as a sin, although the Catholic church doesn’t either, though the Catholic church does refer to it as a disorder. Not sure if the C of E sees it the same way.

In a discussion with British politician Ann Widdecombe (who is Catholic) five years ago, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, said ‘sexual relations should be within a marriage and marriage is between a man and a woman.’ (3.19 in the clip)

Surely this would rule out sexual relations between gays? Whether the archbishop still holds this view, I don’t know.

The C of E got a lot of heat this year for not allowing the spouses of same sex couples attend the 2020 conference. However, also this year, the archbishop of Canterbury backed state enforced LGBT relationships in sex education in schools.

The Anglican church appears to have also taken the decision to condone same sex marriage this year, as long as the two people who are getting married, where male and female at one stage (i.e a woman and a woman can get married if one of the women used to be a man). Whether they actually did in, I don’t know. The article says they were going to.

I was reading somewhere else that they accept clergy to be in same sex partnerships, as long as they have given a vow of chastity.

It seems like the C of E has willingly stepped into quicksand and is sinking further and further. Once upon a time they made a few concessions and probably thought that would satisfy the LGBT community. It didn’t, and now they keep making more and more under pressure.

But back to the question, does somebody know if they have a definite, easy to find stance on this issue?

The answer is No, the C of E has not formally adopted any firm position on this question, and in any case it has no mechanism for enacting rulings of that kind. It’s a recurring topic of discussion at the Archbishop Cranmer blog:

It’s beyond scary that any school would sneak behind parents’ backs about a serious mental health problem for a child, and reinforce the child’s illness.

Deeply malicious


You are wrong. The Catholic Church does indeed see homosexulity (meaning sexual relationship between same sexes) as a sin of grave matter.

It is same sex attraction (no sexual relationship) the Church views as a disorder but not a sin.

Well it depends on your definition of homosexuality. I meant homosexuality as being a same sex attraction, isn’t considered a sin in itself. I didn’t say homosexual relationships or acts are not sins.

The only definition that counts is the Catholic Church one.
Same sex attraction (no sexual relationship) is disordered but not a sin.
Homosexuality (same sex sexual relationship) is gravely disordered and a sin.

No, it’s not the only definition that counts. @Wojciech evidently knows perfectly well what the Catholic Church’s definition is. His question is about something else altogether, namely the Church of England’s definition, if it has one.


It is the only one that counts with reference to Catholic Church teaching. He claimed the Catholic Church did not view homosexuality as a sin which is wrong. How the Church defines it is the only thing that counts.

This is the first I am hearing of homosexuality meaning committing homosexual acts or being in a homosexual relationship. That would be like saying that heterosexual means a person who engages in sexual activity with those of the opposite sex. It doesn’t. It means a person who is attracted to those of the opposite sex. That’s why people often use the term ‘practicing homosexual’, in order to make clear that the person doesn’t just have attractions to people of the same sex, but actually engages in sexual acts and relations with them. Why would the term practising homosexual even be used if homosexual means the same thing? It would be redundant.

But anyway, if it makes you feel better, the Catholic Church doesn’t say being ‘gay’ in itself is a sin, but acting on it is.

As @BartholomewB pointed out though, I am more interested in trying to find out if the C of E has an official position on this, and so far it seems like it doesn’t.


I guess you are not Catholic as you are mocking Catholic teachings.

The Church does differentiate between same sex attraction (no sexual relationship) and homosexuality (same sex sexual relationships).

I am mocking Catholic teachings?

I think you’re confused


To avoid misconceptions it would make more sense to use a less ambigious word.

There is no official position that the C of E takes; however, in practice it condones homosexual relationships. There are C of E priests who live together in a relationship with a same sex partner. They include the Dean of St Alban’s Cathedral, and a dean in the C of E is quite a senior position. Basically, with the exception of conservative Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals the C of E is going down the same liberal road the TECUSA went down.

Sadly true. It appears to be one of the reasons the membership has left. Every time liberals water down dogma, the church membership dwindles dramatically.


My two cents:

The Episcopal Church is totally fine with homosexuality, homosexual relationships, and homosexual marriages (provided they are monogamous).

The greater Anglican Communion, other country specific Anglican Churches are FURIOUS with the Episcopal Church for being so lenient with homosexuality and they actually removed voting rights from it for several years in the General Synod.

The Church of England seems to be stuck in the middle and hasn’t made any official proclamations though.

Speaking here as a former Anglican:

The Church of England doesn’t have a lot of doctrine. It has the Bible, the three Creeds (Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian), the Thirty-Nine Articles, and the Book of Common Prayer and ordination service. To the best of my recollection, that is the sum of what could strictly speaking be called doctrine in the Church of England. The Church of England is also bound by legislation which must pass through the three houses of the General Synod (bishops, clergy, and laity) before being passed through both houses of the UK Parliament and finally enacted by the monarch. However, this is law, not doctrine.

One also has to understand that the Anglican Communion is a fairly loose federation of independent churches sharing a common heritage but often not a lot else. The individual churches can differ widely on many points of belief and practice. For example, some churches ordain women as bishops, priests, and deacons, some as priests and deacons but not as bishops, some as deacons but not as bishops and priests, and some not at all. And yet they are all still Anglican.

One also has to understand that the archbishop of Canterbury is not the Anglican pope. He is a diocesan bishop and, as a metropolitan, he has jurisdiction in some circumstances over bishops in the southern province of England. Beyond that, he holds some administrative positions nationally and internationally, but offers only a vague kind of spiritual leadership. The archbishop of Canterbury does not exercise any kind of universal teaching authority.

Justin Welby comes from the conservative evangelical wing of the Church of England, so his views are generally more conservative than those of the mainstream. There are also bishops who are more liberal than the mainstream. Traditionally, the office of archbishop of Canterbury alternates between an Anglo-Catholic (who is also usually more liberal) and an evangelical (who is almost always more conservative).

As for what the Church of England believes (insofar as the Church of England actually has an official position on anything), these are probably the basics:

  • Same-sex sexual acts are permitted for the laity but should be in the context of a permanent, committed, and monogamous relationship. They may have civil partnerships and civil marriages but may not marry in the Church. Some kind of church service can be held as long as it isn’t a marriage ceremony.
  • Clergy may not engage in same-sex sexual acts. They may have a civil partnership with a person of the same sex but must be celibate in that relationship.
  • Same-sex sexual acts are not considered to be intrinsically wrong. It is the context in which they take place that determines whether they are considered permissible.

I see no mockery of Catholic teaching in their posts.


But the Church of England is obviously changing. One recent example of that change is the marriage in the Church of England of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle even though she had been previously married to Trevor Engelson and divorced. Back in the 1950s, however, Princess Margaret was not allowed to marry Peter Townsend because he had been previously married and divorced.

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Much of this I have been posting, commenting on the the motley world of Anglicanism, for many years.


Thank you @Londoner that’s a very helpful post.

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