Skip to comments.Blessing for gay wedding threatens Anglicans
Posted on 12/15/2002 5:01:22 PM PST by MadIvan
A small parish in Vancouver is poised to make history and hasten schism in the worldwide Church by holding Anglicanism's first officially sanctioned blessing of a homosexual "marriage".
The Canadian diocese's liberal bishop will authorise a special rite early in the New Year and St Paul's, in the city's gay district, heads the queue to stage a same-sex wedding ceremony, complete with rings and confetti.
The event, a radical departure from traditional Christian teaching, will push the Rev Neil Gray, the parish's English rector, into the media spotlight. It will also put the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who officially took up the post earlier this month, on the spot.
Although such blessings are illicitly performed across the world, they are covert events towards which the bishops can turn a blind eye.
Moreover, the evangelical wing, that section of the Church for whom such ceremonies are unbiblical abominations, can comfort itself that they are not part of mainstream Church policy.
But this service will be different: it is backed by a diocesan bishop and his diocese; it is official and out in the open. Anglicans will be forced to decide whether or not they can live with it.
Despite castigation by the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, Bishop Michael Ingham has refused to back down since his diocese, New Westminster, voted for homosexual blessings in the summer.
His defiance of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, at which a majority of bishops voted to maintain a ban on such blessings and the ordination of homosexuals, has provoked a crisis more acute than that over women's ordination 10 years ago.
Two months ago, Dr Carey warned that the worldwide Church was on the brink of schism because individual bishops were introducing controversial reforms unilaterally.
One homosexual blessing in Canada is not, on its own, going to destroy the 70 million-strong worldwide Church as a cohesive "Communion" with a shared set of core beliefs. It will, however, increase the battle for the soul of Anglicanism between liberals in the West and "orthodox" believers, largely based in Africa and Asia.
The vote at the last Lambeth Conference represented a huge triumph for the evangelicals, who had organised themselves as an effective campaigning force.
However, the liberals are ready to take back the initiative. At least two American dioceses are expected to follow New Westminster and bless same-sex unions within months and a third could elect an openly practising homosexual cleric as its bishop next year.
Beneath the simmering dispute over sex, and a more fundamental fight over the authority of Scripture, there is also a clash of cultures.
The African Church is the fastest growing segment of Anglicanism but it still feels that it is dancing to a Western tune, where congregations are dwindling.
The widening gulf was symbolised at Lambeth when a Nigerian bishop attempted to exorcise the Rev Richard Kirker, the general secretary of the London-based Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement.
The parish of St Paul's, whose clergy refer to God as "She" and who host homosexual line dancing evenings, is light years away from its African counterparts, where homosexuality is seen as demonic.
Mr Gray, its Buckinghamshire-born rector, believes it is high time for the liberals to defy the rest of the Church to force change, leaving those who cannot accept the inevitable with little option but to break away.
Dr Williams, one of whose roles is to keep the Communion in one piece, does not have the luxury of such an unconciliatory position, even if he wanted it.
As he has admitted to ordaining a practising homosexual and is calling for an "honest debate" on the issue (which evangelicals read as code for liberal reform), he is already suspect.
He may not have much time to rein in the mavericks and persuade doubters that a rocky marriage is better than divorce.
LOL They can never do anything without an ostentatious display.
Wonder if it was this lot:
I wish I had been there to see it.
European and American liberals in the churches are absolutely terrified of third-world Christians, most of whom are much more conservative. This is true of many Protestant denominations as well as the Catholic Church.
You have to wonder whether the Republicans aren't going the wrong way about prying Hispanics and blacks from the clutches of the Democrat party. Maybe they should start asking them how they can vote for such immoral people.
WE WANT A SCHISM
WE WANT A SCHISM
WE WANT A SCHISM
OTOH, he's not a Pope. He can advise, and if he condemns this act it will help satisfy the African Anglicans (as well as the ECUSA, which has so far not favored legitimizing such a ceremony). However, the next step belongs to whoever the Primate of Canada is. He or she may have the power to initiate disciplinary action against this Bishop, depending on what Canon Law is in Canada.
As a Christian, things like this make me sad.
LOL!! I was thinking the same thing! The more the Anglican and Episcopals do this, the more of their number will come over to the Catholic Church. My former niece-in-law's mother was Episcopal and left the Church when they got a new Priest who brought along her female 'partner'; and this was in South Mississippi!!
I think it Andrew Sullivan who said most homosexual men don't want a marriage, but they'd sure like to have a wedding!
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