Anglican leaders rebuked for sanctions on Scots: 'You should have greater concerns'

Anglican leaders around the world should have 'far greater concerns' than sanctioning churches that permit same-sex marriage, the head of the Scottish Episcopal Church has said.

In a rebuke to fellow leaders of the 39 Anglican provinces around the world Mark Strange, the Scottish primus, said what 'is sinful and wicked is denying love and creating fear' as he urged them to focus on more important matters such as violence and poverty.

Mark Strange previously made headlines by calling for gay marriage in church in 2015 and revealing he had previously been in love with a man.Scottish Episcopal Church

The Scottish Episcopal Church was handed 'consequences' for its decision to allow clerics who want to conduct gay weddings to do so. It means delegates are barred from taking a full part in the worldwide Anglican Communion and cannot vote on key decisions.

'I respect the primates' decision to "sanction" our church,' Bishop Strange said, acknowledging in an article for the Times that his church was out of step with most of the 80million strong Communion. 'Yet I can't help reflecting that we live in a world filled with far greater concerns.

'We live in a world that at times seems harsh and cruel. It is painful to watch refugees across the world struggling in ill-prepared camps and I am aware of the struggle with poverty faced by many families across Britain.

'I just keep thinking that a world that allows people to proclaim their love might just be a better place,' he wrote in the Times.

'Just this week we witnessed the horror of Las Vegas and brutality in Catalonia. More fear and violence.'

He added: 'What I believe is wrong is people being forced to hide their love because someone tell them it is signal or wicked; what is sinful and wicked is denying love and creating fear.'

Peter Matthews and Alistair Dinnie were married in the first same-sex wedding in an Anglican church earlier this year.Facebook

The de facto sanctions are watered down from what some conservatives demanded but leaders from more traditionalist provinces such as Kenya, Sudan and Tanzania have shown no sign of rebellion.

It comes after Bishop Strange gave a robust defence of his church's decision to remove the understanding of marriage as solely between one man and one woman to more conservative primates from around the world.

He recognised it had caused 'some hurt and anger' but was unrepentant.

'We will continue to play our part in the Anglican Communion we helped to establish, and I will do all I can to rebuild relationships, but that will be done from the position our Church has now reached in accordance with its synodical processes and in the belief that Love means Love,' he said.

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