Los Angeles authorizes blessings

See this news report by Episcopal News Service LOS ANGELES: Bishop authorizes blessings of lifelong covenantal relationships.

Bishop J. Jon Bruno of Los Angeles has authorized the use of a rite for the “Sacramental Blessing of a Life-long Covenant” for both same-gender and heterosexual couples…

On the diocesan website there are these four PDF files:

Policy Regarding the Sacramental Blessing of Life-long Covenants in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles

Some Questions and Answers: The Sacramental Blessing of a Life-Long Covenant

Service for the Sacramental Blessing of a Life-Long Covenant

Suggested Readings for the Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant

64
Leave a Reply

avatar
64 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
18 Comment authors
Ford ElmsFather Ron SmithSimon SarmientoPat O'NeillGöran Koch-Swahne Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Tobias Haller
Guest

The Q&A document has some very unhelpful and confused portions. For instance, it refers to the “sacramental blessing” of marriage — yet, as it also admits elsewhere, the “blessing” is not the “marriage” — it is the covenant itself that is sacramental; the blessing is, well, the blessing. The whole section on sacraments needs a hearty revision — or omission; better to stick with the traditional Anglican concept of marriage as an “estate” and limit the discussion of the church’s role to blessing and witnessing.

rick allen
Guest

An interesting history in the Q and A. A few samples. “We have to remember that, through the years, almost everything we understand about marriage has changed….” So it doesn’t really mean anything. “Gradually, the custom of marriage between one man and one woman evolved and became prevalent in most of the Christian West.” Apparently polygamy evolved out of “most of” the Christian West so quietly and slowly that it was hardly missed. “Throughout antiquity, including Christian antiquity, marriage was primarily viewed as a social vehicle for uniting families for various political and social gains, from increasing the size of… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

Glad to see you’ve got your Sarcasm-Happy, Rick.

[A FWIW hint: I like to close *my* Sarcasm-Happies w/ a “But seriously: …”, so that the post is not ENTIRELY an exercise in self-gratification. ;-/]

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

I think I stand with Tobias on this one, so far as the customary aims of blessing/witnessing what God is doing in the committed daily life (and often, parenting) of the two daddies or two mommies involved. One nice touch is the encouragement to actually get to know a few queer folks in committed relationships, face to face, and then weigh openly if/how fruits of the Spirit affect their daily life together. To Mr. A I reply, yes of course, gospel values partly transmitted by Pauline texts (plus other sources) inform the modern shift to mutuality and equality in marriage… Read more »

pete
Guest
pete

Folks, I hate to say this, but Bp. Bruno should be inhibited by the PB. He is ignoring the canons of the church and General Convention, just like the Duncans of the world. I don’t understand why he felt compelled to act now. GC09 will most certainly authorize some litury for blessing of same-sex relationships. Here’s the rub: either everyone plays by the rules (i.e., General Convention), or we just admit now that TEC is congregationalist. Perhaps one way out of this entire mess is to say that common worship is going to be the “bonds of affection” that bind… Read more »

The Rev'd Laurence Roberts
Guest
The Rev'd Laurence Roberts

How wonderful !

a
A taste or infact, foretaste of things to come.

Sometimes, anglicans can be wise Godly like this.

This is a beautiful liturgy

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Rick
I take it your post was intended to be humourous.

Of course love was known in the times the bible was written, that does not mean it was linked to marriage.

St Paul’s counsel does not say anything about how those marriage came to be.

And to say that because the concept of marriage has changed it “So it doesn’t really mean anything.” is a non sequitur. It simply means that the meaning changed.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Tobias

I had read it to mean that the blessing was permissible because the convenant was a sacrament.
Did I misunderstand?

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Much of this is pure twaddle.

One is left wondering just how many of the allegations levelled at TEC by the ambitious conservatives have merit.

I can feel Tobias seething with discomfort too ……..

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Rick Allen: Polygamy was not only accepted, it was the standard practice throughout the Middle East (including Judea) until the Christianization of the Roman Empire. And even in officially monogamous Rome, it was understood that the “elite” who could afford it would have mistresses and liaisons aplenty. And that monogamy was largely serial…divorcing and remarrying (usually for financial, social and/or political reasons) was a common and accepted practice. That attitude toward marriage among all but the poorest (who simply couldn’t afford keeping more than one wife) continued well into the 19th Century and probably the first third of the 20th… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“He [+Bruno] is ignoring the canons of the church and General Convention, just like the Duncans of the world.” For the life of me, Pete, I don’t understand where your hyperbole is coming from. *** “Much of this is pure twaddle.” You mean, posts like Rick’s? Right? “One is left wondering just how many of the allegations levelled at TEC by the ambitious conservatives have merit.” You mean, none: right? Right?? I hope I’m right . . . or who are you, and what have you done w/ Martin Reynolds? [Is there a case of the Krazies going around, and… Read more »

BillyD
Guest

“[B]eautiful liturgy”? Chacun à son goût, I suppose. I find it sentimental – even sappy.

BillyD
Guest

“The Q&A document has some very unhelpful and confused portions.”

Confused and (it seems to me) rushed to publication.

BillyD
Guest

“Folks, I hate to say this, but Bp. Bruno should be inhibited by the PB.”

I wish that I understood the nuts and bolts of PECUSA polity better. Is there a case to be made that Bishop Bruno is acting within the bounds of the Constitution and Canons?

I thought it odd that the Episcopal Life article didn’t even mention that LA’s new policy flies in the face of what GC has decided…

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest

Sloppy thinking and slapdash gestures do no justice to the reality of a loving and committed relationship between two people.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Monogamy was a thing for the middle and lower classes, Emperors like Nero (and Boswell says Basil the Great) both were married 4 times each (both genders). As late as in the 1850s King Frederik VII of Denmark had both a Queen (his cousin Caroline of Strelitz) and a wife (Countess Danner) simultaneously. This form of Polygamy (marriages morgengabicum) lingers on, though monogamous now. The late Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands is an example born of a marriage morgengabicum, that is without inheritance rights. At first he was merely a Count of Lippe, not a Prince and Heir. Today’s Civil… Read more »

toby forward
Guest

It might help if we remembered that the sort of marriage that church people talk about today, ‘one man – one woman, for ever, and exclusive’, is virtually unknown in the Bible. It is largely a modern invention with little Biblical authority.

King David and King Solomon, lived merry merry lives
With many, many concubines and many many wives
When old age crept up on them, with its many many qualms
King Solomon wrote the Proverbs and King David wrote the Psalms.

rick allen
Guest

“To suggest that marriage for love was anything other than a romantic fantasy for most people in the Western World until less than a century ago is nonsense.” Apparently someone forgot to tell Shakespeare. “‘one man – one woman, for ever, and exclusive’, is virtually unknown in the Bible. It is largely a modern invention with little Biblical authority.” Jesus and Paul are after all marginal figures. I have to say there is an unreal quality to these discussions. It’s as if I said, “Christians have always considered it wrong to murder people,” and I was met with a chorus… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

I don’t know what about inhibiting Bruno, but I too cannot understand why he has taken this action now. I suspect it has to do with the “egalitarian”, for want of a better word, nature of TEC. It appears from what some posters here say that there is more of an “elected official” in an American bishop than I would understand, and maybe this action needs to be seen in this light, +Bruno is not so much shepherd of his flock as elected representative of his consitutents. All the same, this to me shows an incredibly parochial (oh my) attitude:… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

It just occurred to me. Perhaps they’re just fed up. I mean, American society was born in rebellion against authority, and Americans have an almost innate mistrust of it. The idea that someone on the other side of the planet might be trying to force them to behave in a certain way is probably a red flag to some. I can sympathize, but thumbing one’s nose at others is not all that Christian, not that I can be called all that Christian either.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“I find it sentimental – even sappy.” True. But then again, I find most marriage ceremonies sappy and saccharine. All very “Ahhhh, love.” Too bad we don’t have smilies here, there’s a good one for what I’d like to express. An aunt of a friend of mine used to say, whenever she heard straight people driving around after a wedding, flaunting their sexuality, honking their horns, and frightening the horses, “They’ve atied(the ‘a’ is pronounced) a knot with their tongues they won’t untie with their teeth.” Of course, that was in the days before the Church told us the chewing… Read more »

Terence Dear
Guest
Terence Dear

There was no religious element to marriage until the 12th c. when local priests began to write (unauthorised) services of blessing. It was another 300 years before blessings were permitted inside churches. Polygamy and concubinage remained common in England until the Late Middle Ages. Marriage was always a secular and legal institution. The CofE tried hard but unsuccessfully to make church blessings an essential element of the marriage contract but by the mid-18th c. both canons and practice were in such a mess that the State stepped in and ‘nationalised’ marriage, making it compulsory to marry in church. The result… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

My concern is that the Q&A document gives too much weight to the blessing, rather than to the covenant. The title “Sacramental Blessing” in itself is problematical. Not to rehash the 17th c debates as to whether marriage is a sacrament at all, but it is fair to say that whatever _is_ sacramental in marriage lies in the covenant of the couple — their consent, joining of hands, [exchange of rings] _makes_ the marriage. The church witnesses it, “declares” it (an act of “publication”) and then bestows its blessing, _on an already existing new creation_ — that is, the blessing… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“”To suggest that marriage for love was anything other than a romantic fantasy for most people in the Western World until less than a century ago is nonsense.”

Apparently someone forgot to tell Shakespeare.”

Shakespeare was writing romantic fantasies. Or did you think Romeo and Juliet really happened?

toby forward
Guest

rick allen cites Jesus and Paul in his post. As far as I recall, both were unmarried, so no help there. We know nothing of Paul’s parents’ lives; those of Jesus did not conform to the pattern urged on us by today’s champions of ‘traditional Christian marriage’. The teaching of both Paul and Jesus is inconsistent with the same ‘traditional’ view, especially those elements which look to the parousia as a reason for avoiding marriage altogether. rick really can’t call them in aid.

rick allen
Guest

The Venerable Bede, writing in the early eighth century, describes a synod held at Hertford, called in 673 by Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury, which, after addressing issues like the date for Easter, territorial authority of bishops, and movement of monks and priests, decreed that …nullus coniugem propriam, nisi, ut sanctum evangelium docet, fornicationis cauisa, relinquat. Quod si quisquam propriam expulerit coniugem legitimo sibi matrimonio coniunctum, si Christianus esse recte voluerit, nulli alteri copuletur; sed ita permaneat, aut propriae reconcilietur coniugi. …let no one forsake his own wife, except, as the holy Gospel teacheth, for the cause of fornication. But if… Read more »

The Rev'd Laurence Roberts
Guest
The Rev'd Laurence Roberts

Why don’t those of you who are better liturgists than Bruno / his advisors produce one of your own together ? I think it would be a worthwhile project for you and for us lucky recipients —

I wait with bated breath !

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“the ‘nuclear family’ of course is a post-Second World War phenomenon.” Not to mention that, for those of us lucky enough to have grown up in the far more traditional extended family, the “nuclear family” looks like a sad and deformed variant of what was, after all, the REAL family for most of human history. It is a product of industrialization and modern capitalist/consumerist culture, nothing more, forced on people with terrible consequences, the most important being loss of support in the raising of children. Your great grandparents wouldn’t have conceived of having strangers come into the house to “babysit”,… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Rick Allen:

But that is the “norm” of the Eighth Century, not of the Biblical era…and it still says nothing about polygamous activity outside of marriage. Note that a man can put aside his wife for “fornication”, but apparently a woman has no right to do the same with her philandering husband.

Tobias Haller
Guest

Actually, Laurence, there are a number of superb liturgies already available, and there have been for over a decade. I made a rather extensive study of the subject, which you can find linked in the sidebar on my blog. The problem I have with what has come out of California isn’t the liturgy — it’s the Q&A document. The only substantive change I would make in the liturgy is to move the prayers for the couple to precede the exchange of vows. (This puts it into greater conformity with other rites). Needless to say, I have suggested doing the same… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Tobias wrote: “The title “Sacramental Blessing” in itself is problematical. Not to rehash the 17th c debates as to whether marriage is a sacrament at all, but it is fair to say that whatever _is_ sacramental in marriage lies in the covenant of the couple — their consent, joining of hands, [exchange of rings] _makes_ the marriage. The church witnesses it, “declares” it (an act of “publication”) and then bestows its blessing, _on an already existing new creation_ — that is, the blessing does not “make” the marriage.” But surely, this a very Modern view, the one of Vatican II… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

As to Polygamy, it’s the only point where the Church has maintained some sort of persistent standing over Time, not the infamous “one man, one woman” of late modern anti Modern Socio-Political Propaganda. This stand, however, wasn’t persistent enough to prevent various forms of Polygamy to persist into the present time, like marriages morgengabicum “to the left hand”. I gave some examples in a thread above: King Frederik VII of Denmark +1863 who had both a Spouse (the Queen) and a Wife (Countess Danner) simultaneously, and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, who was born as Count Bernhard, to a marriage… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Though it matters not at all JCF, I am not a great fan of TEC. I think it in some considerable disarray and the above is only another example of poor preparation and bad presentation that neither helps TEC’s reputation nor the cause for which I advocate. This blog is called Thinking Anglicans not Liberal Anglican supporters of TEC I am profoundly conservative on many matters ethical, theological and ecclesiological – I would (for example) continue to support the view of marriage described at the Synod of Hertford as told by Bede and recounted earlier in this thread. The reasons… Read more »

BillyD
Guest

“But surely, this a very Modern view, the one of Vatican II to be precise….”

Not so, as it turns out. See the (pre-Vatican II) Catholic Encyclopedia article on marriage:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09707a.htm

BillyD
Guest

“I gave some examples in a thread above: King Frederik VII of Denmark +1863 who had both a Spouse (the Queen) and a Wife (Countess Danner) simultaneously,”

Are you quite sure? The information I’ve found available on line says that his first two marriages ended in divorce. His third marriage, to Louise Rasmussen (Countess Danner), was morganatic.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Billy D, Don’t really understand that link. A lot of claiming doesn’t make it so… Pre Vatican II, by the new Codex iuris canonici of 1918, Rome had the Renaissance formula and Making of Marriage, just as we are now the only ones to do it: Ego coniugo vos (Tridentine Manual of 1614). No Consensus of the parties there. In Latin countries the Contract (between the families) remained what mattered. Renaissance theory (from Orleans) broke with the medieval Civil law Betrothal and its matrimonio de praesenti to obtain a moment in Time, when the matrimonio de futuro could start, forgetting… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Billy D, You seem to be correct on Frederik’s marriages. Fredrik VII *1808 King 1848, †1863 was thrice married but perhaps not at the same time: 1) 1828 Wilhelmine of Denmark *1808 †1891, separation 1834, div 1837, remarried 1838 to Duke Charles of Holsten-Sønderborg-Lycksborg *1813 †1878 2) 1841 Caroline of Mecklenburg-Strelitz *1821, separation 1844, †1876 3) 1850 morgengabicum Louise Rasmussen, Countess Danner *1814/5 †1874 I have never heard of a divorce of Caroline of Strelitz. Admittedly divorces and marriages morgengabicum are not talked about much… And the old, generally reliable Swedish encyclopaedia “Ugglan” the Owl for short, hasn’t even got… Read more »

rick allen
Guest

“Shakespeare was writing romantic fantasies. Or did you think Romeo and Juliet really happened?”

Shakespeare was writing drama. It was not a science fiction story in which two time travelers from the 20th century fall in love and, to the utter astonishment of Shakespeare’s audience, fall in love and marry. It was obviously something understood by everyone. It still is.

The literature of the past bears ample witness to love in its many varieties, including romantic love that leads to marriage.

But I understand that some see this as a dragon that must be slain.

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Bishop Bruno in LA was probably pushed ahead of GC by several local-regional factors, which nonetheless have wider national-global implications. Firstly, as we all know, the California gay marriage dilemma is still brewing bubbles furiously, thanks to P8. The California bishops took a unanimous unconformed stand against it, so the issue must arise of putting action to witness the preaching. Finally, if any target group was in real danger as the gay marriage dilemma unfolds, it surely must include the parents and children in families where the parents got married thanks to the court decision only to have themselves denied… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

Göran, the “traditional” teaching in the RCC on the sacrament of marriage has long been that “the couple are the ministers of the sacrament.” The nuptial blessing was not required for validity (or was it licitness — I alwsys get those mixed up!) until the Council of Trent, though the practice of blessing at least the woman dates from the late middle ages. The statement “You are man and wife” does not “make” the marriage, it declares that it has been made. This is equivalent to the longer statement in the American BCP, “Now that N and N have given… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“I am not a great fan of TEC. I think it in some considerable disarray” Then I regret that you, Martin, like the ABC, are believing more what you have been TOLD about TEC (those incessantly screaming “victims”, like xDuncan, xSchofield, ?Ackerman, and xIker), than the life of my actual, beloved, Episcopal Church (as I’ve experienced it, all around the U.S., over the course of my 46 years: I’m a lifer). Anytime you’re in the neighborhood of Albion, Michigan, I invite you to join me at St. James parish (mind the construction, as we rebuild after last year’s fire!). See… Read more »

BillyD
Guest

Gören, I read the Catholic Encyclopedia article as boiling down to the idea that the ministers of the sacrament are the couple, not the priest, although this has been a source of controversy in the RCC. It seems to say that RC marriages not witnessed and blessed by a priest illicit and sacrilegious, but not invalid.

FWIW, the Swedish understanding you describe seems to put you in the same school of thought as the Eastern Orthodox Churches. They believe that the priest is the minister, too.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“”Shakespeare was writing romantic fantasies. Or did you think Romeo and Juliet really happened?” Shakespeare was writing drama. It was not a science fiction story in which two time travelers from the 20th century fall in love and, to the utter astonishment of Shakespeare’s audience, fall in love and marry. It was obviously something understood by everyone. It still is. The literature of the past bears ample witness to love in its many varieties, including romantic love that leads to marriage.” Oh, it was understood by everyone…but it was understood to be something that rarely occurred in real life, rather… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“As for sex within marriage – well as recently as 50 years ago women past child-bearing age were not allowed to marry in the CofE.” – Terence – Well, Terence, at least that’s an improvement on the latest R.C. scandal – where an Italian priest recently would not allow the marriage of a man who was disabled, simply because he was incapable of siring children! Now that IS an inhibition not many of us would want our Church to go along with. It does imply, does it not, that marriage is most importantly about procreation, when not many RCs I… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Rick Allen wrote: “The literature of the past bears ample witness to love in its many varieties, including romantic love that leads to marriage.” Not so fast… If you look at old opera texts you will see that Love was well known, but despised. “Vittoria, vittoria” someone shouts, “Vittoria, vittoria! mio core…” “Non lagrimar più. Non lagrimar più! È scioltà d’Amore la vil servitú!” Victory! Victory, my heart, don’t weep any more, the vile servitude to Love is past! A song by Antonio Scarlatti: Spesso vibra per suo gioco, il bendato pargoletto, strali d’oro in humil petto, stral’ di ferro… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Sorry Tobias, but in Sweden this is not so. The consensus (which is said twice in the ritual ;=) is just a pre-condition, that is pre the “moment”, like the witnesses (necessary to the Church, but inconsequential to the law) or the presence (of performer and pair) in one place (unity, like in French classical drama!). The law even s a y s that the witnesses are not necessary to validity! It is the performer who “makes” it all, pronouncing his/her State/administrative law declaration. He/she is Agent for the State, who is the real Subject, the pair being mere Objects…… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Now, if King Frederik VII of Denmark was not the last high profile bigamist/polygamist in Europe, there remains the perhaps most well known case of Philipp the “Magnanimous” *1504 †1567, Landgrave of Hesse 1509/1518 – 1566 who, 469 years ago almost to the day, on the 10th of December 1539 obtained the accord of Dr Martin Luther – and perhaps more surprising – also the consent of his Spouse since 1524 Christina of Saxony *1505 †1549 for his second, bigamous, marriage to Margarethe von der Saale *1522 †1566 at Rotenburg an der Fulda in 1540. Dionysius Melander performed the act,… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Tobias Haller wrote: “The nuptial blessing was not required…”

Well, “the nuptial blessing was not required” for legal reasons. In Roman state, a magistrat performed the marriage, presiding at the ceremony. This was only challenged from Rome after 1890 because of the Kulturkampf in Bismarck’s Germany and the trouble between Calvinists and Romans in Hungary, leading to new signals in 1908 and a novel version of the Codex iuris canonici in 1918 (at the same time as the Swedish changes…)

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Billy D wrote: “FWIW, the Swedish understanding you describe seems to put you in the same school of thought as the Eastern Orthodox Churches. They believe that the priest is the minister, too.” Yes so it is, and I think is more than the East ever was. And it strikes me as being exceedingly Neo Platonist, the State Ideology in Byzantium. Byzantium’s view of the Priest was essentialist, in fact. No Priest – no Marriage (or, according to Boswell, no Adelfopoiesis). Consequently from 740 AD, a church ceremony was enough to establish the Consensus – and thus the Marriage, from… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

Göran, I must accept your reading on the state of things in Sweden, but this is not the western tradition. As you note, the Swedes seem to be following an Eastern modality. But the lack of a nuptial blessing in the western church tradition has nothing to do with legal reasons. It simply didn’t occur to the early western church that marriage needed blessing — it was a blessing in itself. The earliest form of blessing in the west is an Italian blessing of the wife, primarily for safe childbearing. Then there developed the custom of blessing the bridal bed.… Read more »