Thinking Anglicans

CofE marriage report: yet another critique

The Reverend Lorenzo Fernandez-Vicente who is Vicar of St James, New Malden, has written a detailed critical article about the marriage report. You can read about it on the Inclusive Church website, here.

‘Men and Women in Marriage’ does not emanate from the church as a whole, not even from its synod. It was devised because the Faith and Order Commission suggested under their own steam to the bishops that it would be ‘timely to produce a short summary of the Church of England’s understanding of marriage.’ The bishops agreed. The document that ensued is unfortunately neither distinctly Anglican, nor a summary of anything, nor is it short. Any attempt to make sense of it needs to be a bit lengthy. I am as sorry about this as I am about the introduction’s rather disingenuous claim that the whole thing is merely offered to you for study. Issues in Human Sexuality was similarly ‘commended for study’ but seems to have acquired more authority than canon law and is still sadly used to bludgeon gay faithful and liberal clergy some 25 years later. Never lose heart however, the document is shockingly careless in its scholarship, sometimes poorly argued, but very conveniently divided into small paragraphs easy to confute…

16
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
16 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
11 Comment authors
CynthiaEdward PrebbleFather Ron SmithLaurence RobertsErika Baker Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Rosie Bates
Guest
Rosie Bates

Lorenzo, Thank you – Short, sharp and true.

Edward Prebble
Guest
Edward Prebble

Thank you to Lorenzo Fernandez-Vicente for an excellent argument. I wonder if I can use his article as a peg for some thoughts of my own that are relevant to all the recent threads prompted by the Men and Women in Marriage report. This controversy is not only relevant to England, of course. The New Zealand parliament is expected tomorrow to pass the third reading of a bill to legalise “equal marriage”, so the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia is scrabbling, like the Church of England, to come up with appropriate responses. Much of the controversy, in… Read more »

Edward Prebble
Guest
Edward Prebble

(cont) How does this analogy help? Well a marriage between a man and a woman with the intention of producing children, one where the couple have decided not to have children, one where the couple are in their seventies, one solemnised in Westminster Abbey, and one conducted by a secular celebrant in a hot-air balloon, are all qualitatively different, but they are all recognised as marriages. A marriage between two men or two women will be different again, but the move to recognise such a union as a marriage rests on the conviction that the similarities outweigh, or are more… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

On reading this sentence, I burst out laughing:

“The Faith and Order Commission does not spare single people much attention however, which is probably a blessing.”

JCF
Guest
JCF

To the extent that “Faith and Order” is, in itself, a movement (the dialogical aspect of ecumenism—created by the Anglican Communion, no less!), a shallow, polemical position paper like ‘Men and Women in Marriage’ is extremely damaging to it. Kyrie eleison!

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Bishop Alan Wilson’s warning that in the CofE “discussion” papers somehow acquire a teaching authority greater than anything else is chilling.

The thought that this paper might acquire the same canonical status as “Issues” should be a matter of deep concern to every reasonable person in the Church. The Church Times and Inclusive Church have given a good lead, but we need this paper and the thinking behind it so thoroughly contradicted in learned papers etc that it becomes an embarrassment to the bench who promulgated it.

Nothing less, I believe, will sink it.

Bill Dilworth
Guest
Bill Dilworth

The temptation to boost study and other non-binding statements to status of law is not confined to the CofE. Here in the States there were plenty who saw/see various Lambeth resolutions and the Windsor Report as virtual ukases. When Anglicans pay attention to something done by the Church we seem to treat it as settled law. Except for canons, of course, which we think of as more like guidelines, actually…

Fr. Bill
Guest
Fr. Bill

A line from E. E. Cumming’s poem “i sing of Olaf glad and big” best sums up, I think, the views of many in the pews and the vast majority of those who aren’t in the pews:
Olaf (upon what were once knees)
does almost ceaselessly repeat
“there is some sh*t I will not eat”

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“Here in the States there were plenty who saw/see various Lambeth resolutions and the Windsor Report as virtual ukases.”

Surely everyone now knows that the suspect Lambeth resolutions, not to mention the soi-disant Windsor Report, are not worth the paper they were written on.

“Windsor Report”–I mean, really. Did people think that a report would actually gain prestige in the former colonies if it were named after a royal castle?

The stupidity of some people….

Father Ron Smith
Guest

The New Zealand Parliament tonight voted for the Marriage Amendment Bill (Third Reading) that will allow provision for Same Sex Marriage in N.Z. The voting was 77 For, and 44 Against. The Debate was interesting to watch, in that there was: an absence of rancour; a couple of speakers whose views had changed towards the LGBT community during the course of the 3 Readings; and an air of expectancy in the House – especially from the crowded gallery – that the Bill would pass. There was respectful attention paid to the views of Church authorities, with the arrangement of special… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Thank you for that summary, Fr Ron!

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

I’m seconding Erica’s appreciation of Fr Ron.

(our own TA treasure)

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Thanks, Erika and Laurence. Best wishes for some signs of a similar result in the U.K. – Not that one expects that the Church will necessarily ‘catch on’ to the need to ‘set the prisoners free’ on this issue.

However, I can confirm that the sun did rise in Aotearoa/New Zealand this morning, and there were no fatalities as a result of last night’s vote. There appears to have been no damage done – only a welcome sign of a manifest wrong being righted.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Nice! Thanks, Father Ron. And New Zealand.

Edward Prebble
Guest
Edward Prebble

My apologies that Ron and I between us have turned this thread into a commentary on the situation in New Zealand, some distance from the issues raised by Lorenzo Fernandez-Vicente. Still, I am rejoicing that my sister, and my daughter, now have the option of turning their respective very long-term unions into marriages. It should be acknowledged that though this Bill passed our Parliament by a large majority, it was no without some strong opposition, especially at the committee stages. That opposition came from predictable sources, including conservative and evangelical church groups. It seems that one of the arguments used… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Oh Edward, I don’t think any apology is warranted. The wonderful news from New Zealand underscores the fact that there is a diversity of views amongst Anglicans. Apparently the commission that wrote that awful report was supposed to consider the diversity of views, and they most certainly didn’t. Consequently, when the New Zealanders, Canadians, and Americans speak up, along with various Brits featured in TA and commenting on it, we are all showing a significant diversity that had no voice in that report. I celebrate for NZ! Love the story about the rainbow. They’ve turned up at interesting times.