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Great Britain. Church of England Archbishop: The words ‘Our Father’ can be problematic

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The second-highest-ranking Church of England clergyman suggests the first words of the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father”, may be “problematic” for some people. Archbishop Stephen Cottrell’s words were criticized by Canon Dr. Chris Sugden, chairman of the conservative group Anglican Mainstream.

Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell – the second highest-ranking clergyman of the Church England – suggested on Friday that the first words of the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father”, may be “problematic” for some people.

“I know the word ‘father’ is problematic for those whose experiences with earthly fathers have been destructive and abusive, and for all of us who have struggled too hard in life’s oppressive patriarchal grip,” Cottrell said in his opening address at the York General Synod of the Church of England.

The comment was a brief remark in a speech focusing on the need for unity in the Church of England, which has been strongly divided over issues of sexuality, identity and equality for years. However, reactions to Cottrell’s words indicate that these words will cause even greater divisiveness.

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The Church of England is considering using gender-neutral terms for GodShutterstock

Sugden: Does the Archbishop of York say Jesus was wrong?

Following his speech, Canon Dr. Chris Sugden, chairman of the conservative group Anglican Mainstream, pointed out that in the Bible Jesus called people to pray to “our Father”.

– Is the Archbishop of York saying that Jesus was wrong, or that Jesus was not pastorally aware? It seems to be characteristic of the approach of some church leaders that they take their cues from culture rather than scripture, he said.

Christina Rees, who campaigned for women bishops, said Cottrell raised an issue that “is a really lively issue for Christians and has been for many years.”

– The most important question is: do we really believe that God believes that men carry His image more fully and accurately than women? The answer is absolutely not, she said.

In February, the Church of England said it would consider whether to stop referring to God as “He,” in response to calls from some priests who asked permission to use gender-neutral terms.

Main photo source: Shutterstock



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