Skip to comments.Australian Anglicans split over rites review
Posted on 10/07/2005 10:55:17 AM PDT by sionnsar
In a historic departure from centuries of Anglican tradition, Sydney Anglicans are considering allowing clergy and senior church leaders to administer the rite of confirmation, the formal way of becoming a full member of the church.
At present confirmation must be administered by a bishop.
The strident opposition of traditional Australian Anglicans a year ago forced the diocese to back down on letting church elders preside over Communion.
The legislative body of the Sydney diocese is to consider next week a report from a six-member committee set up to consider the possibility of confirmation no longer being required after baptism as an adult, and confirmation being administered by presbyters or appropriate laypeople as well as bishops.
The majority wants confirmation to be performed by ministers, but a dissenting report, championed by two senior members of the Anglican Church League, has urged the diocese to go much further and hand over the role to senior lay leaders.
Rites not mandated by the Bible as the jobs of clergy, they say, should be performed by laypeople as part of a strategy to democratise the church and invoke the direct word of God.
Administration of Holy Communion and confirmation is consistent with the practice of laypeople being able to baptise, for all three are spiritual ministries which in principle belong not just to the clergy but to laypeople as well, the dissenters say.
Either way, the radical move would need legislative approval by the General Synod, the churchs national law-making body .
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