One of the children of world famous Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who followed in his footsteps in becoming a member of the clergy, is renouncing her priestly duties after marrying a woman.
Rev. Canon Mpho Tutu-Van Firth declared she’d prefer to make a “dignified” exit form the South African Anglican Church rather than be stripped of her right to practice. Although same-sex marriage is legal in that country, the church hierarchy does not honor its validity. She issued this statement from Cape Town, reported The Telegraph.
“Because the South African Anglican Church does not recognize our marriage, I can no longer exercise my priestly ministry in South Africa. The bishop of the diocese was instructed to revoke my license. I decided that I would give it to him rather than have him take it.”
Tutu-Van Firth, who is now in her fifties, is one of five children of Archbishop Tutu, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for opposing the apartheid government of South Africa. Now retired, he remains a strong and outspoken ally and advocate for marriage equality, once stating he would refuse to go to a “homophobic heaven.”
Tutu-Van Firth’s boss, Bishop Raphael Hess, told the Telegraph he hopes that her renouncing of clerical duties will be short-lived, and hopes her resignation spurs change in the church, according to Christian Daily.
“The time has come for us to exercise pastoral care, for us to demonstrate a shift that is reflected in the law… 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.”