Updated again Friday morning
The Church of Ireland General Synod 2012 which will take place in Christ Church Cathedral Dublin from Thursday 10th to Saturday 12th May. The official synod website is here.
One item of business is receiving a great deal of attention. The Archbishop of Dublin, Michael Jackson, and the Bishop of Down & Dromore, Harold Miller, have tabled three motions on the subject of Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief. The text of these motions can be found as a PDF file here.
Because these were submitted after the regular closing date for receipt of Motions, Tuesday 10 April, the synod has to agree by a two-thirds majority to accept them for debate. However, if that is achieved, then only a simple majority is required for approval.
Some Irish press reports:
An open letter has been published in several newspapers:
Belfast Telegraph Church motion on sexuality needs debate
Belfast Newsletter Group urges delay over gay debate.
And this letter: Serving clergy are afraid to ‘come out’
Irish Times (along with two more letters) Church of Ireland and same-sex relationships
Irish Independent Exclusive church
A website has been established at Say No to Resolution 8A.
Belfast Newsletter Church group’s petition opposes gay relationships
Three motions in the area of human sexuality and Christian belief (Ref – 8 a,b,& c) are being brought before the synod by two members of the House of Bishops. A cursory examination of the C of I e-mail forum, the correspondence in yesterday’s Irish Times – see this site May 9 – and of an independent web site set up to rally opposition to the first of the motions (8a) indicate that a good number of clergy and laity regard the nature of the motion as being extremely contentious at worst and unhelpful at best…
From the comments below:
Motion 8A was ruled out of order and Motions 8B & 8C were then withdrawn by the bishops. Canon Nigel Dunne raised a point of order that 8A clashed with the Order Two marriage service in BCP 2004 and therefore sufficient doubt was raised that it was a change in doctrine.
From the Diocese of Down & Dromore:
Motions on Human Sexuality fail to come before Synod
The Bishops’ Motion 8A on Human Sexuality did not come before the General Synod on a point of order. After submissions from several speakers, it was ruled that there was doubt as to whether motion 8A constituted a change of doctrine which would necessitate bringing a bill before Synod.
Following this ruling by The Archbishop of Armagh, the proposer and seconder of motions 8B and 8C withdrew the motions altogether.
Friday’s Irish Times carries this report of yesterday: Motions run high as synod debate on same-sex marriage is called off on a technicality
…Raising the point of order, Dean of Cork Rev Nigel Dunne said that the church’s teaching on marriage “as expressed in Canon 31 stands in conflict with an understanding of same as expressed in Marriage Service Two in the Book of Common Prayer”.
He continued: “Canon 31 gives first place to the procreation and nurture of children. Marriage Service Two does not. Marriage Service Two is quite clear that sex and sexual intercourse is firstly to strengthen the relationship. The procreation of children comes second.” Motion 8A, he suggested, could “constitute a modification or alteration of doctrine” and ought not be considered as a motion but ought to be a Bill.
Following some debate on the matter the Church of Ireland primate and Synod president Archbishop Alan Harper, concerned with “the avoidance of doubt”, ruled that the motion not be taken. Related motions 8B and 8C were withdrawn by proposers Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson and the Bishop of Down and Dromore Harold Miller, who had also proposed motion 8A…
Belfast Telegraph Gay row: Church of Ireland’s resolutions withdrawn
The row over same-sex relationships in the Church of Ireland has ended after three motions opposed by gay rights campaigners were withdrawn from the General Synod without debate.
The issue may be raised again within the next two days at the synod in Dublin, although it is more likely that any major decision on the issue will be delayed for up to two years…