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Habgood calls for marriage guidance

THE Archbishop of York, Dr John Habgood, yesterday urged the Church to set up counselling services for clergy whose marriages are in trouble, so that bishops could continue to exercise essential discipline over adulterous priests.

Dr Habgood told the Synod that clergy who formed relationships with their parishioners threatened the ministry of the whole Church. 'The whole possibility of clergy ministering to people in all sorts of situations depends on the trust that that relationship will not be abused.

'A relationship that begins as pastoral may very quickly turn into something else, particularly if there is an unstable marriage at home.'

The Ecclesiastical Committee of Parliament last night approved the Church's legislation allowing women's ordination by 16 votes to 11.