Thinking Anglicans

Canadian Church report on Marriage Canon is published

Message from the Primate on the Report of The Commission on The Marriage Canon

BY FRED HILTZ, ARCHBISHOP AND PRIMATE ON SEPTEMBER 22, 2015

Dear Friends in Christ,

Today the Council of General Synod received The Report of The Commission on The Marriage Canon. The report is very comprehensive and reflects the commitment of the members to address General Synod 2013’s Resolution C003 in its fullness.

You will recall that the resolution requested consideration as to whether the proposal for amending The Marriage Canon would contravene The Solemn Declaration of 1893; and called for a theological and biblical rationale for the blessing of same sex marriages. The Commissioners take us into a deep exploration of the theology of marriage and present several models for understanding same sex marriage. In accord with the request in Resolution C003 for broad consultation throughout the Church the report includes a succinct summary of feedback received from Anglican Communion and ecumenical partners.

On behalf of the whole Church, I want to thank the Commissioners for the diligence with which they went about their work and fulfilled the mandate given them by The Council of General Synod. They have laboured long and produced a fine report which will be a valuable resource to the Church.

In commending it for widespread study, I pray we be guided by the wisdom of the Spirit’s leading in our preparation for conversations at General Synod 2016.

Fred J. Hiltz
Archbishop and Primate

Download the report (PDF)

There is a further page which contains more information, and links to all the submissions that the commission received, here.

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Rod GilliscseitzCynthiaGeoff McLarneyJim Pratt Recent comment authors
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Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

The Commission members, for their willingness into enter into the fiery furnace, for their desire to be of service to our church, for the labor of their hearts and minds, deserve our appreciation. The report requires close reading. As person who made a submission to The Commission, I’d like to share a couple of preliminary responses, tentative perhaps, formed after an initial reading. The section on theological rationale is very conservative. So it is ironic that it may be destined to be rejected by conservatives both in Canada and elsewhere in The Communion. The Commission (5.3.3.) makes significant use of… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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From this Report from the Anglican Church of Canada, it is obvious that the Indigenous Church is not about to break communion with the parent body – even though their culture may not agree with the proposed legislation. How different this is from the behaviour of ACNA! Mind you, I suppose the opt-out clause might have something to do with it. However, whether those in the Anglican Communion who will not countenance the presence of LGBTQI people within their churches will agree to remain within the Anglican Communion on the same basis – that of an ‘opt-out’ that would respect… Read more »

Jim Pratt
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Jim Pratt

When this came on my email yesterday, I took a quick look, and I need to take time to read the entire report.

As to the draft resolution itself, the scope of the conscience clause struck me, as it did Rod, as too broad, especially in the ability of a bishop to unilaterally ban same-sex marriage in his/her diocese. Even with a ban enacted by diocesan synods, should there not be a conscience clause allowing dissenting parishes a means to opt-in to marriage equality?

cseitz
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cseitz

From the highlights of yesterday’s General Synod meeting here in Toronto.

“On the subject of the conscience clause, commissioners determined that an opt-out clause would be the best approach to accommodate bishops, dioceses and priests who choose not to authorize same-sex marriages, along with an option for ministers to decline for reasons of conscience.”

Cynthia
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Cynthia

“Mind you, I suppose the opt-out clause might have something to do with it.” TEC has opt-out as well. No priest has to marry anyone. Bishops have to make a way for couples to marry, but it doesn’t have to be in his diocese (all the conservative, marriage opposing bishops are male). That did not appease ACNA, who had already left over the consecration of +Gene and the election of a female PB. So far, I haven’t heard of anyone leaving since the marriage ruling in June/july at General Convention. Canada’s is an interesting document with an admirable attempt to… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
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I know some of the people involved in this. I haven’t read it yet, but plan to give it a good read soon.

cseitz
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cseitz

“…but it doesn’t have to be in his diocese.”

When one sees the petition in the Diocese of Dallas, or the similar action in Albany, this is a very questionable assertion. Recall the pressure brought at the Cathedral in CFL.

The ‘make provision’ language will be tested all the way down.

Jim Pratt
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Jim Pratt

Dr. Seitz, I just read the summary of Day 2 of the CoGS meeting, and it appears that some members of CoGS had concerns (even broader than those I expressed above) about dioceses and parishes “having a conscience”. I would not go quite that far; I think it is within reason for parishes to set policies on weddings in the church (many parishes do, in terms of requirements on membership). Traveling from Albany to Rochester or Vermont to get married in the church is an inconvenience, but quite minor compared with having to travel from the Yukon to New Westminster.… Read more »

cseitz
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cseitz

I hope I have made it clear–perhaps not–that it would be possible to see these carve-out arrangements as strategic ‘gifts’ (or in the case of TEC, faux ‘gifts’) whose point is to secure a compromise that will time out in short order anyway. Expedience. Necessary stop-gaps. I say this because I don’t see any principled rationale being asserted. I don’t understand how TEC progressives would want to point to Trial Rite + ‘make provision’ as acceptable or as a sign of anything to emphasize. If this is a justice issue, then why force anyone to go anywhere but their home… Read more »

Geoff McLarney
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Geoff McLarney

I’m actually less troubled by episcopal fiat in this case than synodical legislation. Marriage in our non-established church isn’t a “right”; bishops are custodians of the administration of the sacraments in their dioceses, and have relatively broad latitude to regulate them. (A bishop could, in theory, even choose not to authorize the BAS). Their regulations, of course, may or may not be continued by their successors. But allowing synods to enact diocesan canons by majority (or supermajority) rule to the end of proscribing what the national church has allowed strikes me as having much more troubling ramifications in canon law.… Read more »

Cynthia
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Cynthia

“If this is a justice issue, then why force anyone to go anywhere but their home parish.” It is a justice issue. It is also a theological issue. But in TEC, GC and the House of Bishops wanted to make provision for those bishops who aren’t “there” yet. There are only 7 diocesans. I feel bad for the couples in those dioceses and I would have advocated for having an option in each diocese (by consent of the parish). However, you can not have it both ways, Christopher, bashing TEC for forcing gay marriage down everyone’s throat and then bashing… Read more »

cseitz
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cseitz

Simply argue for what you believe is right and do the necessary constitutional amending and all will be well. If you want to have area superintendents who are under orders from majority votes in a triennial Convention, then make the necessary constitutional changes. The present one does not envision or allow this expedience. Trial rites require roll call votes and a super majority. Title IV requires changing the office of PB. GC must do two readings to change the constitution. Undertake to do these things and you will have the new church you desire. I am sorry but I thought… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

The Primate of Canada made the following comment in an interview with the Anglican Journal, “I will go to the primates’ meeting in January and there will be some primates [who] will be all over me about this. I know that. But I try to, as I did today, remind people that in the polity of our church and in the decision-making of our church, here are the parameters within which we work.”

The entire interview can be read here:

http://www.anglicanjournal.com/articles/hiltz-on-same-sex-marriage-i-do-not-want-the-church-to-divide-over-this