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Critics Slam Episcopal Church's Punishment Over Gay Marriage Stance — and Read the Anglicans' Official Defense of 'Traditional Doctrine\

Faith

"The majority of those gathered reaffirm this teaching."

Two men hold hands while walking on Castro Street in San Francisco, Thursday, June 27, 2013. The Supreme Court issued rulings Wednesday that struck down a provision of a federal law that denies federal benefits to married gay couples and also cleared the way for state laws that recognize marriage equality. Credit: AP

News of the Anglican Communion's vote on Thursday to temporarily suspend the U.S. Episcopal Church from key decision-making positions over the denomination's endorsement of gay marriage has sparked anger among critics who view the sanctioning as unfair and improper.

In addition to doling out the swift punishment, an official statement from the Anglican Communion reaffirmed traditional marriage.

"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," the statement said. "The majority of those gathered reaffirm this teaching."

It didn't take long for critics to speak out against this sentiment.

In this Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013 file photo, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby conducts a service at the All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi, Kenya. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)

"Now the #Episcopal church knows what it's like to be gay and asked to leave home because your family doesn't want you at the table," wrote Twitter user Unvirtuous Abbey.

User J. Todd added, "The majority of #Anglican Primates have proven that they don't understand the definition of #ChristLike. #Episcopal."

But others expressed the feeling that the Anglican Communion made the right decision, upholding what they believe to be the traditional understanding of sexual relations and marriage — an institution that is confined to a union between one man and one woman.

"At least it's a start," wrote Larry Farlow, with others calling for the excommunication of pro-gay marriage faith leaders.

See just a sample of the reactions below:

The Rev. Susan Russell, an Episcopal priest and activist from California, also penned an op-ed pushing back against the sanctioning, and explaining why she believes that the Episcopal Church is actually following Jesus with the way it treats the LBGT community.

"What does it mean to Episcopalians to be 'sanctioned; by a majority of the Primates of the Anglican Communion for refusing to treat our LGBT members as second class Christians?" she wrote. "It means we're willing to pay 'the cost of discipleship' as we follow the Jesus who welcomed, blessed, included, empowered and loved absolutely everybody."

Russell continued, "It means we take seriously our call to be part of the Jesus Movement — proclaiming the Good News of God's inclusive love to the world. It means we choose inclusion over exclusion, compassion over condemnation, and justice over judgment."

Read more of the reaction here.

As TheBlaze previously reported, Episcopalians will be excluded from international Anglican committees and from decision-making for the 85-million-member fellowship. The sanctions will remain effective for three years.

The decision came during a weeklong summit for the Anglican Communion held in Canterbury. Though the subject of gay marriage was expected to dominate the this week’s summit, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby had initially proposed that the Communion become something like a loose “federation” that would allow for opposing views while maintaining unity.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby leads prayers during the Easter service at Canterbury Cathedral in southeastern England, Sunday April 20, 2014. The Archbishop of Canterbury used his Easter sermon to highlight the hardship of people suffering from conflict around the world. (AP Photo/PA, Gareth Fuller) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVE  The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby leads prayers during the Easter service at Canterbury Cathedral in southeastern England, Sunday April 20, 2014. (AP Photo/PA, Gareth Fuller) 

Right now, the Church of England officially opposes same-sex marriage, but the pressure to change its views has been mounting for years. See the statement that the church released addressing this matter in its entirety below:

1. We gathered as Anglican Primates to pray and consider how we may preserve our unity in Christ given the ongoing deep differences that exist among us concerning our understanding of marriage.

2. Recent developments in The Episcopal Church with respect to a change in their Canon on marriage represent a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching held by the majority of our Provinces on the doctrine of marriage. Possible developments in other Provinces could further exacerbate this situation.

3. All of us acknowledge that these developments have caused further deep pain throughout our Communion.

4. 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. The majority of those gathered reaffirm this teaching.

5. In keeping with the consistent position of previous Primates’ meetings such unilateral actions on a matter of doctrine without Catholic unity is considered by many of us as a departure from the mutual accountability and interdependence implied through being in relationship with each other in the Anglican Communion.

6. Such actions further impair our communion and create a deeper mistrust between us. This results in significant distance between us and places huge strains on the functioning of the Instruments of Communion and the ways in which we express our historic and ongoing relationships.

7. It is our unanimous desire to walk together. However 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, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.

8. We have asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint a Task Group to maintain conversation among ourselves with the intention of restoration of relationship, the rebuilding of mutual trust, healing the legacy of hurt, recognising the extent of our commonality and exploring our deep differences, ensuring they are held between us in the love and grace of Christ.

Read more of the reaction here.

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