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Assurances of celibacy may not be enough to qualify for a bishopric

Rt Revd Graham Jamesby Gavin Drake, Church Times

ASSURANCES that a candidate for the episcopate who is in a civil partnership is living a celibate life may not be sufficient to qualify him for appointment to a bishopric, new guidance from the Church of England's legal office said this week.
 
The revised guidance on the impact of the 2010 Equality Act on the selection of bishops follows the decision by the House of Bishops last year to lift the ban on celibate clergy in civil partnerships' being put forward for the episcopate ( News, 4 January).
 
Like the old guidance, the new document explains that, while it is unlawful to treat a candidate to an office less favourably than other candidatesbecause of his sexual orientation or civil partnership, churches and other religious organisations can apply requirements relating to sexual conduct, including a requirement not to be in a civil partnership "where that requirement is applied to give effect to the non-conflict principle".
 
The guidance says that it follows from the House of Bishops' statement in December, that "clergy in civil partnerships who are living in accordance with the teaching of the Church on human sexuality can be considered as candidates for the episcopate."
 
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