EASTRY, Kent — A retired vicar with the Church of England has “wed” a young Romanian model 54 years his junior, and now wants the Church to get with the times in regard to same-sex relationships.
Philip Clements, 78, tied the knot to Florin Marin, 24, last month at the registry office in Ramsgate after meeting on a dating website two years ago.
“I’ve been a long time looking for you, Florin. And then I found you. Where have you been the last 78 years? Mostly non-existent,” he said.
Marin has defended the relationship and the 54-year age gap, stating that he prefers the elderly.
“All my friends know that my type is old people because they have more experience in life,” he said. “From the young people I have dated in the past, I have learned nothing.”
Clements, who served as the vicar of Kent for 50 years, says that he wants the Church of England to change its ways and become accepting of the feelings of homosexuals.
“As a priest, I want the Church to think seriously about this issue and to change its teaching and rules to allow clergy as well as lay members of the Church to marry someone of the same gender if that is how they feel,” he told Kent Live.
Clements said that he thinks Church officials mean well, but “they do not understand this aspect of human nature.”
Reg Scarborough of Delfside expressed dismay over Clements’ remarks in a recent letter to the editor of the East Kent Mercury, comparing Clements to Judas, who sat under Christ’s tutelage for three years, but missed the mark in understanding the truths Jesus was seeking to convey.
“We now have the ex-vicar of Eastry, who has spent even more time in Christian service without understanding the Bible or Christianity, now trying to force the Church into his views about marrying gay clergy,” he noted. “I cannot see why the Church should also take any notice of him, especially as he can these days get a [secular] civil ceremony.”
“If he wishes to have the civil ceremony and go his own way, that is a matter for his own conscience, but he should stop trying to force other committed Christians to deny their faith,” Scarborough said.
Clements told reporters that Scarborough’s remarks were “over the top” in comparing him to Judas.
“I’m still a Christian, and loyal and faithful to Jesus and His teaching,” he claimed. “I know that evangelical fundamentalists will say this sort of thing. I think the Church needs to move on to understand life for many in the 21st century.”
“Jesus taught us to love our neighbors and not to judge. Jesus never once commented on this particular topic,” Clements asserted.
Jesus said in Matthew 19:4-5, “Have ye not read that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh?”
Romans 1:26-27, in referring to homosexuality as counter to God’s design for the “natural use of the woman,” states, “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”‘