St Helens StarCall to make gay clergyman a bishop (From St Helens Star)

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Call to make gay clergyman a bishop

St Helens Star: The Rev Martin Reynolds said his friend Dr Jeffrey John, the Dean of St Albans, has been made a 'whipping boy' in the row The Rev Martin Reynolds said his friend Dr Jeffrey John, the Dean of St Albans, has been made a 'whipping boy' in the row

A gay rights campaigning clergyman has called for a leading gay cleric to be made a bishop in Wales.

It follows the disclosure that the Church of England has dropped its opposition to gay clergy becoming bishops if they agree to stay celibate.

The Rev Martin Reynolds said his friend Dr Jeffrey John, the Dean of St Albans, has been made a "whipping boy" in the row.

Mr Reynolds, an Anglican priest in Newport, said it would be great if Dr John, the most senior openly gay Church of England cleric, could now become a Welsh bishop.

Welsh-born Dr John, 59, has been at the centre of the row over gay bishops, having twice been put forward for the role in the Church of England. He was reportedly forced to withdraw his acceptance of the post of bishop of Reading in 2003 after protests from traditionalists.

It has also been claimed that he was blocked from being appointed as bishop of Southwark in 2010. Dr John entered a civil partnership in 2006 with the Rev Grant Holmes, but is understood to live a celibate life.

It was disclosed earlier this week that after a decision taken last month the Church of England would allow gay men in civil partnerships to become bishops as long as they promise to be celibate. Unlike the Church of England, the Church in Wales has never had a ban on gay clergy in civil partnerships becoming bishops.

Mr Reynolds told BBC Radio Wales: "The reason this moratorium was introduced was because Jeffrey was just about to become the bishop of Southwark.

"And because Jeffrey was about to become the bishop of Southwark and Rowan [Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury] didn't want another furore... they shafted Jeffrey yet again and introduced this rule that you couldn't be in a civil partnership, which of course Jeffrey is with Grant.

"Poor old Jeffrey's been more than just a whipping boy, he's been assassinated several times."

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