16 January 2016

Rwanda: Canterbury Has Taken Best Decision On Gay - Bishop Rucyahana

Retired Bishop of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, The Rev. John Rucyahana, has spoken out in support of the decision taken by the Canterbury to suspend its US branch over approving ceremonies for same sex marriages.

The Anglican Church announced on Thursday it had suspended the Episcopal Church, its US branch, for three years after it approved ceremonies for same-sex marriages.

Speaking to Saturday Times, yesterday, Rucyahana, who insisted he was not speaking for the Anglican Church in Rwanda, said homosexuality is not a Christian way of behaviour and is nowhere in the religious traditions, thus the suspension was right.

"The church knows that the marriage between man and woman is the right one. From the medieval times, homosexuality has not been acceptable," he said.

The three-year suspension decision came after religious leaders gathered in England at the invitation of Anglican Communion leader Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, to discuss key issues that included the US branch's approval of gay marriages.

"The traditional doctrine of the church in view of the teaching of scripture, upholds marriage as between a man and a woman in faithful, lifelong union," said a statement from a meeting of 38 Anglican primates.

"Given the seriousness of these matters we formally acknowledge this distance by requiring that for a period of three years, the Episcopal Church no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies," it added.

Strained relations

The US Episcopal Church approved gay marriage ceremonies last year, shortly after the Supreme Court legalised the practice across the US.

The issue has since worsened the long-strained ties within the estimated 85-million-strong global Anglican community, which includes more liberal members such as the US and Britain, and conservatives in Africa.

Rucyahana blamed homosexuality for ruining the social values of the church members that have embraced it, adding that unfortunately they want to impose it even on others.

"Homosexuality has destroyed their social values. And they want to impose it on others. During the times of Abraham, it caused destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. That is why it is called sodomy," the retired bishop said.

However, Rucyahana said gays should be treated well, loved and given service by the church, but it is wrong to approve them.

"The church should reach out to them to convert them. The suspension was a right way of disciplining them," he said.

The primates, chief bishops or archbishops of churches within the Anglican Communion, also said the US branch will not take part in decision-making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.


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