The Church of Sweden has voted to adopt a controversial new handbook which says masculine references to God, such as “He” and “Lord” should be scrapped so as to be more “inclusive.”

Despite heavy criticism from organisations including Royal Swedish Academy, on Thursday the church approved the new handbook with a large majority.

The Church Handbook  — which was last updated in 1986  — sets out how services, baptisms, weddings and funerals should be conducted, in language, liturgy, theology and music, and is therefore central to the church’s activities.

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