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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 October 2006, 12:13 GMT 13:13 UK
Archbishop in lesbian wedding row
By Robert Pigott
Religious Affairs Correspondent, BBC News

Bishop Gene Robinson addresses the Episcopal General Convention in Columbus, Ohio
The wedding came as the Church debated the issue of homosexuality
A retired Anglican archbishop has been formally reprimanded after he admitted that he had taken part in the same-sex marriage of a lesbian couple.

Archbishop Terence Finlay officiated in the ceremony during the summer, as the Anglican Communion struggled to resolve the issue of homosexuality.

He has also had his licence to carry out weddings suspended.

The former senior bishop in Ontario had dismissed a priest in the 1990s for his homosexual relationship.

Archbishop Terence Finlay's acknowledgement that he participated in the marriage service comes as a shock to the Anglican Church, not least because such a senior figure took the action as the fate of the Anglican Communion hung in the balance over the issue of homosexuality.

About-turn

Both the Canadian and American Churches have been given what amounts to an ultimatum to stop the blessing in church of same-sex relationships, or be expelled from the Communion.

The Canadian Church's synod will meet next June to decide on the issue.

There will also be surprise at Archbishop Finlay's about-turn on this controversial issue.

In 1992 he sacked the Rev Jim Ferry from his parish for having a homosexual relationship, and even banned him from functioning as a priest anywhere in the Anglican Communion.

Archbishop Finlay said that life in the Church was very different in those days, and that he had reached a new understanding of homosexuality.


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