UK: Newly-appointed Bishop of Bath condemns same-sex marriage

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The new Bishop of Bath and Wells has condemned same-sex marriage, less than 24 hours after being appointed.

Reverend Peter Hancock was appointed yesterday as the new Bishop of Bath and Wells, replacing Peter Price, who retired last year.

In an interview with BBC Somerset, he said: “I think marriage is, if I might quote the Prayer Book, a gift of God in creation and a means of his grace, and a holy mystery by which man and woman become one flesh.

“In those few words it captures what is the traditional Christian doctrine of marriage and I believe that is what God has given us, that marriage was set apart for man and woman.

“Now the Government have redefined marriage in a different way and therefore the church has to think about how it responds to that whilst, I think, being faithful to what is the pattern of marriage that God has given us.”

His predecessor held similar views on same-sex marriage, and was one of nine bishops to vote for a blocking amendment to derail the same-sex marriage bill in the House of Lords last year.

The Church of England continues to be deeply divided over same-sex marriage.

Last year the Pilling Report recommended the church adopt a more conciliatory approach to same-sex marriages, but the House of Bishops refused to back formal blessings, and forbade gay clergy from marrying.

Gay clergy including hospital chaplain Jeremy Pemberton have defied the ban, while the Bishop of Salisbury was among those to declare their open support for same-sex unions.