First, some responses from readers of the Church Times in recent weeks:
Second, another extract from the 1991 document Issues in Human Sexuality, this time from the summary section at the end. The bishops insist that their more recent statement does not change their policy. So this summary shows what has been the de facto position in the Church of England since 1991.
5.23 Let us try to sum up the essential points of the guidance we are seeking to give in this chapter. The Church in its pastoral mission ought to help and encourage all its members, as they pursue their pilgrimage from the starting-points given in their own personalities and circumstances, and as they grow by grace within their own particular potential. It is, therefore, only right that there should be an open and welcoming place in the Christian community both for those homophiles who follow the way of abstinence, giving themselves to friendship for many rather than to intimacy with one, and also for those who are conscientiously convinced that a faithful, sexually active relationship with one other person, aimed at helping both partners to grow in discipleship, is the way of life God wills for them. But the Church exists also to live out in the world the truth it has been given about the nature of God’s creation, the way of redemption through the Cross, and the ultimate hope of newness and fullness of life. We have judged that we ourselves and all clergy, as consecrated public and representative figures, entrusted with the message and means of grace, have a responsibility on behalf of the whole Body of Christ to show the primacy of this truth by striving to embody it in our own lives. But we also wish to stress the Church’s care for and value of all her clergy alike, and that where the Church’s teaching results for any ordained person in a burden grievous to be borne we, the bishops, as pastors to the pastors, will always be ready to share in any way we can in the bearing of that burden.