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Dean of Southwark slams bishops

Dean of Southwark Colin Slee has accused nine Anglican bishops of cowardice following their open letter expressing concern for Church unity over the appointment of Bishop-designate Jeffrey John.

"I have long realised that there are bishops who are not theologians and for whom biblical scholarship is not an immediate skill" says the Dean. "I seriously doubt that some of the signatories have ever bothered to read Jeffrey's published work. I have also long realised that there are bishops who are deeply, psychologically homophobic."

Jeffrey John, currently a Southwark Cathedral canon but due to become Bishop of Reading, has described a life-long friend as a partner although they do not live together and he is celibate.

However, Canon John is criticial of the 1991 statement Issues in Human Sexuality which demands celibacy from gay clergy but permits the laity to have sexually active gay relationships.

"As a bishop I will have to abide by that" says Canon John in an interview with The Times. "It is a matter of corporate discipline. But I think the current discipline cannot hold for long."

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