LONDON — "Living in sin" should no longer be regarded as sinful and the phrase should be dropped given the number of people who now live together before getting married, a Church of England report said Tuesday.
Warning against judgmental attitudes about cohabitation and fornication, the report by the church's Board of Social Responsibility estimated that four in five couples will live together before they marry by the year 2000.
"The phrase 'living in sin' stigmatizes and isn't helpful," said Bishop Alan Morgan, who chaired the first major study of the family by Britain's state religion in 20 years.
The report also urged a "ready welcome" for homosexuals in the church, saying many have high-quality, loving relationships.
The report was based on responses to 25,000 questionnaires and contributions from groups and is intended to stimulate debate among clergy and churchgoers.