Priest is suspended for rejecting Nativity story

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The Independent Online

A reformist Church of Ireland dean has had his episcopal authority temporarily withdrawn over his unconventional interpretation of Christianity, which casts doubt over the story of Christmas.

The Dean of Clonmacnoise, the Very Reverend Andrew Furlong, 54, was removed of his authority to act as a priest for three months after his rejection of the traditional Christian tenet of incarnation, the belief that Jesus was partly divine, which is part of Nativity.

Yesterday, the dean, who is the rector of Trim, stood by his belief and said this meant he could not subscribe to the traditional understanding of Christmas, although he did not want it abolished altogether.

"In all Christian churches, Jesus is human and divine, and he is God in some ways. But I cannot believe that his birth was the arrival of God on Earth in human form ... I see Jesus as nothing more than a human being and he had a birth like all of us," he said.