The Church of England has been mocked after it was at pains to make clear that it believes sex should be reserved only for married heterosexual couples.
New guidance issued by bishops following the the introduction of mixed-sex civil partnerships states that Christians in gay or straight civil partnerships should stay away from sex.
The new, opaque declaration refers to marriage as “the lifelong union between a man and a woman”, and says this “remains the proper context for sexual activity”.
The church seeks to “uphold that standard” in its approach to civil partnerships and believes that sexual relationships “outside heterosexual marriage are regarded as falling short of God’s purposes for human beings”.
What’s more, civil partnerships should be no more than “sexually abstinent friendships”.
“The introduction of same sex marriage [...] has not changed the church’s teaching on marriage or same sex relationships,” it underlines in the document referred to as a “pastoral statement”.
Same-sex civil partnerships have been legal since 2005 and same-sex marriage was introduced in 2013.
While the statement from the House of Bishops may please conservatives, there were some eyebrows raised by Twitter users – notably over how Henry VIII observed many of the church’s tenets less than impeccably.
"Sex is for married heterosexual couples only," says the church founded by an adulterous bloated king with tertiary syphilis who threw a tantrum because he couldn't divorce his wife to marry his mistress, whom he later beheaded. https://t.co/3gdLCyFrhd— Guillotines N' Roses (Taheerah Barney)🌹 (@fleshandbrand) January 23, 2020
The English, not content with bland food, also want bland sex. https://t.co/8jJlyJLJoI— Héctor E. Alcalá (@Hector_E_Alcala) January 23, 2020
In fact, most people appeared to be happily going about their business when the bishops’ advice dropped.
No one:— Bethanne Patrick (@TheBookMaven) January 23, 2020
Church of England: “Sexual relationships outside heterosexual marriage are regarded as falling short of God’s purpose for human beings.”
People settling into their jobs:— dan levy (@danjlevy) January 23, 2020
Children playing in a schoolyard:
Fire fighters tending to fires:
The Church of England: HERE YE, HERE YE!... https://t.co/fakyHs8tsL
Some spotted loopholes.
That’s true. FUCKING is for the rest of us. https://t.co/36DLbx1PGf— Saeed Jones (@theferocity) January 23, 2020
You do know that people will have sex regardless of your policy right? https://t.co/7IWolb4aHl— Philip Normal (@philipnormal) January 23, 2020
fine, I'll just have sex with married heterosexual couples from now on https://t.co/3dPGvc32o2— Marie Le Conte (@youngvulgarian) January 23, 2020
my experiences would suggest otherwise https://t.co/3IHubwz1dJ— Hannah Jane Parkinson (@ladyhaja) January 23, 2020
Others had their own advice for the church.
Dear Church of England, and Churches everywhere (99% of which are run by men):— Carol Johnson AKA Cleo Everest (@CleoEverest) January 23, 2020
Evolve. That’s all. Just stop fighting evolution. Stop judging others and focus on...
Evolving. Thanks. pic.twitter.com/DZXJCDafyy
And the responses soon went beyond perhaps what the church expected.
“Forgive me Father, for I have rimmed”https://t.co/MF55575YoY— Tom [PositiveLad] 🇪🇺 🏳️🌈 (@PositiveLad) January 23, 2020
I have some questions for the Church of England vicar who let me bareback him in 2016. https://t.co/JapxuVMcVq— Philip Ellis (@Philip_Ellis) January 23, 2020
Do you ever find yourself thinking “I may live to regret this tweet”— Philip Ellis (@Philip_Ellis) January 23, 2020
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.