Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Archbishop of York John Sentamu have apologized for official guidance recently issued by the Church of England which posited the historic Christian teaching that sexual intercourse should be reserved solely for married, heterosexual couples.
The archbishops said in a statement this week:
"We as Archbishops, alongside the bishops of the Church of England, apologize and take responsibility for releasing a statement last week which we acknowledge has jeopardized trust.
We are very sorry and recognize the division and hurt this has caused."
The guidance from the Church of England, for which the archbishops apologized, stated:
"With opposite sex civil partnerships, and with those for same sex couples, the Church's teaching on sexual ethics remains unchanged.
For Christians, marriage, that is the lifelong union between a man and a woman, contracted with the making of vows, remains the proper context for sexual activity.
In its approach to civil partnerships the Church seeks to uphold that standard, to affirm the value of committed, sexually abstinent friendships and to minister sensitively and pastorally to those Christians who conscientiously decide to order their lives differently."
The guidance was issued in response to the recent introduction of "civil partnerships" for heterosexual couples in the U.K.