Royal wedding: Archbishop backs William and Kate’s decision to live together before marriage

The Archbishop of York backed Prince William and Kate Middleton’s decision to live together before marriage, saying that many modern couples want to “test the milk before they buy the cow”.  Dr John Sentamu argued that the royal couple’s public commitment to live their lives together today would be more important than their past.

But Anglican traditionalists criticised the Archbishop, the second most senior cleric in the Church of England, for failing to reinforce Christian teaching which prohibits sex outside marriage.

. . . In a television interview, Dr Sentamu was asked whether it was appropriate for the Prince, who is in line to become head of the Church of England as King, to have been living with his bride before marriage.  He said he had conducted wedding services for “many cohabiting couples” during his time as a vicar in south London.

“We are living at a time where some people, as my daughter used to say, they want to test whether the milk is good before they buy the cow,” he said.  “For some people that’s where their journeys are.”

. . . However, the Rev David Phillips, general secretary of the Church Society, a conservative evangelical group, said the Archbishop had “missed an opportunity to set out Christian teaching.”

“What he said wasn’t appropriate,” Mr Phillips said.  “He gave the impression it doesn’t matter whether people live together before marriage.  I thought he would have tried to get across Christian teaching on marriage that says it is not appropriate to have sex outside marriage.”

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