OF NIGERIA (Anglican Communion)
THE MOST REV. PETER J. AKINOLA, D.D.
Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria.
A Statement on the Church of England response to Civil Partnerships
by the Primate of All Nigeria
I read with utter dismay the pastoral statement recently issued
by the Church of England House of Bishops with regard to the
Civil Partnership Act scheduled to come into force on 5 December
While I was pleased to note the reaffirmation of the Church’s
historic teaching on both marriage and sexual intercourse ,
 I was sorely distressed that these words are not matched
by corresponding actions.
The language of the Civil Partnerships Act makes it plain that
what is being proposed is same-sex marriage in everything but
name. This is even acknowledged in the statement . I find
it incomprehensible therefore that the House of Bishops would
not find open participation in such ‘marriages’ to
be repugnant to Holy Scriptures and incompatible with Holy Orders.
The proposal that the bishops will extract a promise from clergy
who register that there will be no sexual intimacy in these relationships
is the height of hypocrisy. It is totally unworkable and it invites
deception and ridicule. How on earth can this be honoured? For
the Church of England to promote such a departure from historic
teaching is outrageous.
I also note with alarm that the statement encourages the church
to ask nothing of lay people who become registered same-sex partners
before they are admitted to baptism, confirmation and communion.
 This not only dishonours the laity and the sacraments of
the Church - it also makes it obvious that the bishops of the
Church of England are proposing a deliberate change in the discipline
of the church.
It seems clear the House of Bishops is determined to chart a
course for the Church of England that brings further division
at a time when we are still struggling with fragmentation and
disunity within the Communion. Let it be known that it is not
a path that we can follow. It is also a path that is clearly
at odds with the mind of the rest of the Anglican Communion.
May I remind the Bishops of the Church of England that, when
faced with similar decisions on the part of the Episcopal Church
(USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada, discipline was imposed.
While I have great affection and respect for the historic role
that the Church of England has played in all of our lives, no
church can ignore the teaching of the Bible with impunity and
no church is beyond discipline.
I call on the House of Bishops of the Church of England to renounce
their statement and declare their unqualified commitment to the
historic faith, teaching and practice of the Church. Failure
to do so will only add to our current crisis.
I am, by this statement, asking my brother Primates, their bishops
and all the faithful in our Communion to remain calm in the face
of this new provocation as we look forward to our next meeting.
I also call on all those who cherish and uphold the integrity
and sanctity of the Word of God to pray for our beloved Church.
Most Rev. Peter J. Akinola CON, DD