By: ANDY HUMM | More than 50 gay and lesbian priests in the Church of England have obtained civil partnerships since the law went into effect just over a year ago, the UK Times reported. Bishops are supposed to get assurances that their clergy who enter into these partnerships are “celibate” as required by Church law, using the casual definition of the word, meaning not sexually active, rather than its strict definition of not married.
Reverend Paul Collier, a chaplain at Goldsmith's College in London, told the newspaper that his bishop, Christopher Chessun of Woolrich, “wanted me to acknowledge the policy of the bishops” when he told him he was to register with his male partner of seven years. “I told him that I understood their policy,” Collier said. Pressed on whether the bishop understood the nature of his relationship, Collier told the Times, “We didn't go into any great detail about that.”
These partnerships are likely to become a point of contention at an Anglican Communion meting in February in Tanzania and at the Church of England's General Synod, also next month.