Skip to comments.CofE's Two Choices re "Civil Partnerships" [Canon Jim Wellington Chimes In]
Posted on 06/21/2005 7:19:40 AM PDT by sionnsar
An important letter in this past Fridays Church Times:
Sir, The Civil Partnership Act 2004 (News, 3 June; Letters, 10 June) was passed by Parliament with the clear intention of giving rights and responsibilities to same-sex couples analogous to those enjoyed and undertaken by married heterosexual couples. The purpose and provisions of the Act are similar in many ways to the Marriage Act of 1949. It is therefore reasonable to presume that the nature of the relationship regulated by the 2004 Act is analogous to that which was addressed in 1949: that is, a relationship based upon sexual partnership rather than celibate friendship.
Since this is the case, it is impossible for the Church of England to permit its clergy to register civil partnerships and at the same time to require them to live in celibacy. That would constitute a denial of the relationship envisaged by Parliament when it passed the 2004 Act.
For this reason, the Church can make only one of two responses to the new situation created by that enactment. On the one hand, it could refuse to permit its clergy to register civil partnerships on the grounds that such relationships contradict its doctrine as stated in Issues in Human Sexuality, Lambeth Conference Resolution 1.10, and so on. And, as other faith communities would most certainly do, it could invoke the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, guaranteeing religious freedom, to thwart any attempt on the part of government, pressure group or individual to force it to conform.
On the other hand, it could permit its clergy to register civil partnerships, having accepted that by definition such relationships are of a sexual nature. And it would thereby rescind its historic teaching on this issue.
What the Church of England cannot do is to opt for a via media that is defensible neither in law nor in logic nor in theology. Elijah asked the Israelites, How long will you go limping with two different opinions? The stark, Carmelite choice that is being posed by the Civil Partnership Act must be made now.
(Member of the General Synods Legal Advisory Commission)
Actually, I think this CofE issue moots the whole North American question-- it's just that most Anglicans haven't yet realized that. And, it seems to me that the CofE has no choice but to comply with British law (despite the Euro provision) which will mean that the Anglican Communion is indeed headed for schism.
Hard to say. I just hate to see it, hate all the strife and ugliness, and frankly, I'm having a hard time dealing with my anger at the militant homosexual activists over all this. Why don't they go start their own freaking church, and leave the rest of us alone?
Because they want the property (think of all the old churches in ECUSA that have valuable real estate, huge endowments, etc.), the prestige, and the power.
There are already churches in existence that have no problem with homosexuals -- the Metropolitan Community Church and the Unitarians, just to name two -- but that's not good enough.
I also think that the ECUSA activists want to take over the church of their childhood. They think if they can just do that, it will silence that still small voice that is whispering to them that what they are doing is wrong. It won't of course, but I think it's that just as much as the money.
I think you hit the nail on the head here.
How can a celibate civil union be considered anything other than a tax-avoidance scheme?
Will the church be approving of any other tax avoidance schemes?
Played correctly, this could reverse their slipping membership numbers.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.