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Archbishop in Church of England: “Our Father” in Lord’s Prayer is “Patriarchal,” “Problematic”

The Church of England is also considering a switch to gender-neutral pronouns for God instead of “He/Him/His.”

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YORK, ENGLAND — The Holy Trinity might be due for a brand refresh that is more in line with the times, according to the second-highest ranking bishop in the Church of England.

Stephen Cottrell, the archbishop of York, indicated that the Lord’s Prayer could trigger people given its opening words: “Our Father.”

“I know the word ‘father’ is problematic for those whose experience of earthly fathers has been destructive and abusive, and for all of us who have labored rather too much from an oppressively patriarchal grip on life,” Cottrell said at General Synod on Friday.


Canon Dr Chris Sugden, chair of the conservative Anglican Mainstream group, blasted the insinuation – pointing out that it implies a moral failure on the part of Christ.

“Is the archbishop of York saying Jesus was wrong, or that Jesus was not pastorally aware,” Sugden asked. “It seems to be emblematic of the approach of some church leaders to take their cues from culture rather than scripture.”

In February, the Church of England announced it was considering the possibility of adopting gender-neutral pronouns instead of the masculine ones chosen by God himself via the authors of the Bible.

"Christians have recognized since ancient times that God is neither male nor female,” a spokesperson for the Church of England told NPR at the time. “This is nothing new.”

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The news stirred up an array of angry responses on social media. Many called Cantrell’s views heretical, while others claimed it was a stunt aimed at recapturing relevancy.

On Twitter, a conservative account quipped: “it's the Lord's prayer not the Archbishop of York's prayer.”

“Even I, as an Atheist, can see how this goes against the teachings of Jesus,” wrote one user in the YouTube comments section. “Utter insanity.”

“So the archbishop of York is calling Jesus Christ a liar,” one man added. “It's not a wise man who calls God a liar.”

“This latest statement by Cottrell has nothing to do with Church doctrine but everything to do with courting the favour of those who feel the Anglicans are out of touch – a minority of people, namely those who chose an alternative life-style to the majority,” another YouTube user commented. “The Church must be seen to be all-inclusive, and if this leads to ditching fundamental theological teaching, so be it; better to seek popularity than professed truth.”