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Daughter of Desmond Tutu Surrenders Priesthood License to Enter into Same-Sex Marriage

( [email protected] ) May 25, 2016 01:23 PM EDT
A priest of Anglican Church in South Africa and daughter of Cape Town former Archbishop Desmund Tutu abandoned her vocation after entering into a same-sex marriage, a matrimonial vow that her church does not recognize.
Rev. Canon Mpho Tutu-Van Furth kisses her father, Desmund Tutu, after having ordained priest at the Church of Christ in Alexandria in 2004. Desmund was archbishop of Cape Town that time. Photo: The Telegraph

A priest of Anglican Church in South Africa and daughter of Cape Town former Archbishop Desmund Tutu abandoned her vocation after entering into a same-sex marriage, a matrimonial vow that her church does not recognize.

Rev. Canon Mpho Tutu-Van Furth was ordained priest in 2004. She married her long-time partner Marceline Van Furth last December. Aside from that, both are divorced and Tutu Van Furth has two children from her first marriage, Marceline is an atheist.

She surrendered her priesthood license, saying she had chosen to make a dignified exit rather than be stripped of her right to practice since the church does not recognize gay marriage.

"I can no longer exercise my priestly ministry in South Africa, and the bishop was also instructed to revoke my license, so I decided to give it to him rather than have him take it," Tutu-Van Furth said.

Anglican Church stand opposed when South Africa approved the law legalizing same-sex marriage in 2006. The church argued that the "holy matrimony is the lifelong and exclusive union between one man and one woman."

Bishop Raphael Hess said he was "vexed" by the situation, but hopes it would be short-lived.

"The time has come for us to exercise pastoral care and to demonstrate a shift that is reflected in the law," he said.

"We would be able to have Rev Canon Tutu be able to minister. At the moment she cannot and she has accepted that but we are hoping that there might be a window for us to change it." Hess added.

The couple held a second ceremony that was attended by the Tutus and officiated by Rev. Charlotte Bannister-Parker, a priest from Oxford, in Sir Richard Branson's wine farm in Franschhoek earlier this month.

Desmond Tutu witnessed the second ceremony through the permission of the Archdiocese.