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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 June, 2003, 09:02 GMT 10:02 UK
Bishop fuels gay row in church
The Bishop of Winchester
The Bishop of Winchester: "I regret this appointment."
A Church of England bishop has suggested that the newly-appointed Bishop of Reading should reconsider his position following a row over his former gay relationship.

The Bishop of Winchester Michael Scott-Joynt was one of a group of senior bishops who wrote a letter of protest to the newspapers on Tuesday over the appointment of Canon Jeffrey John.

Dr John, Chancellor and Canon Theologian at Southwark Cathedral, has argued in favour of the church accepting faithful, permanent same-sex relationships.

Bishop Scott-Joynt said on Wednesday that it "remained to be seen" whether the appointment by the Bishop of Oxford, Richard Harries, should be reversed.

His intervention will heighten the controversy over Dr John's position, which reflects a deep rift within the church over the issue of gay priests.

There is a picture being painted as if we are some little band of eccentrics and the whole cultural movement of modern times around sexual behaviour is a juggernaut which must run on. That I don't believe to be the case
Bishop of Winchester Michael Scott-Joynt
Asked whether Dr John should remain bishop, the Bishop of Winchester told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I think that remains to be seen, though the responsibility - which I greatly regret - for that decision probably now lies with Dr John.

"I greatly regret that this appointment has been made, because I think it is mistaken in principle and puts out discouraging signals to the vast majority of Christian people, whose understanding is that there is a basic position about Christian sexual behaviour, which is for marriage."

He denied he was speaking for an old-fashioned minority within the church.

"What I and my colleagues are saying needs saying publicly because it is the position of the vast majority of the major churches worldwide, including the churches across the Anglican communion," he said.

"There is a picture being painted as if we are some little band of eccentrics and the whole cultural movement of modern times around sexual behaviour is a juggernaut which must run on. That I don't believe to be the case."




SEE ALSO:
Bishops criticise gay rights appointment
17 Jun 03  |  Oxfordshire
Gay rights row 'reinforced' homophobia
08 Jun 03  |  Oxfordshire
'Gay rights' bishop defended
21 May 03  |  Oxfordshire
Oxford bishop says 'no war'
16 Feb 03  |  England


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