Monday, August 20, 2007

Legal experts tackle same-sex questions

Marites N. Sison
Anglican Journal
Aug 20, 2007

Conflicting interpretations of the ramifications of General Synod’s recent decisions around same-sex blessings have led the bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada to consult with their chancellors.

Among the questions that have arisen: What does the approved motion stating that "the blessing of same-sex unions is not in conflict with the doctrine of the Anglican Church of Canada" mean? Can clergy and dioceses now conduct same-sex blessings? Some bishops have issued pastoral letters asking clergy not to conduct same-sex blessings – can priests be disciplined if they ignore this directive? How can clergy be disciplined if General Synod already declared that same-sex blessings are "not in conflict" with the core doctrine of the church? What does the defeat of the motion affirming the authority of dioceses to offer same-sex blessings mean?

And, for the diocese of New Westminster, which approved such blessings in 2002: Do the decisions mean an end to the moratorium on blessings? (In response to the House of Bishops' agreement in 2005 not to encourage nor initiate same-sex blessings "until General Synod has made a decision on the matter" New Westminster had voted to impose a moratorium on allowing any new parishes to permit same-sex blessings; those parishes which already received the bishop’s approval were permitted to continue.)

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