The Church of England has forbidden Desmond Tutu’s daughter from officiating at his funeral because of same-sex marriage.
Mpho Tutu van Furth, an Anglican priest in the Diocese of Washington, DC, was requested to preside at Thursday’s burial in Shropshire for her late godfather, Martin Kenyon.
According to Ms. Tutu van Furth, who spoke with BBC News, it “seemed really churlish and hurtful.”
The Hereford Diocese described it as “a difficult situation”
Due to its official teaching that marriage is solely between one man and one woman, the Church of England does not allows clergy to be in same-sex unions.
The Episcopal Church, its sister Anglican church in the US, does, however, permit clergy to get married to LGBT partners.
“Advice was given in line with the House of Bishops current guidance on same-sex marriage,” a statement from the Diocese of Hereford said.
The former Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Reverend Paul Bayes, who is a crusader for the church to rethink its stand on sexuality, said to “plead that things are difficult is not good enough”.
“We urgently need to make space for conscience, space for pastoral care, and space for love,” he said.
To “plead that things are difficult is not good enough” according to the Right Reverend Paul Bayes, a crusader for the church to rethink its position on sexuality.
“It seemed really churlish and hurtful. But as sad as that was, there was the joy of having a celebration of a person who could throw open the door to people who are sometimes excluded.”
After receiving the Covid-19 vaccination, Martin Kenyon, then 91, made headlines online in December 2020 for his candid responses during a CNN interview.
When asked how it felt to be among the first in the world to get the shot, he responded, “I don’t think I feel much at all” However, he said that he had grandchildren and hoped not to have the “bug” now.
“There’s no point in dying when I’ve lived this long, is there?” he said.
Desmond Tutu, the late South African archbishop, and Mr. Kenyon were good friends.
After marrying Marceline van Furth, a Dutch professor, in 2015, Ms. Tutu van Furth was obliged to renounce her authority to serve as a priest in South Africa.
Desmond Tutu, her father, who passed away in December 2021, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his efforts to end apartheid in South Africa. He also supported same-sex marriage and advocated for LGBT rights.
“I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place,” he said in 2013. “I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this.”
He added: “I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid. For me, it is at the same level.”