Friday, 25 November 2011

Danish church moves ahead with same-sex weddings

The Copenhagen Post reports: Church weddings for gays proposed.

Homosexual church marriages could become a reality by next summer if a bill giving them equal status with heterosexual unions passes parliament.
“It’s historic, it’s the biggest thing since female ministers were allowed in the Folkekirken,” Manu Sareen (Radikale), the church and equality minister, told the media today.

After years of opposition to granting homosexual unions the same status as heterosexual unions, Folkekirken bishops are developing a new wedding rite that will enable vicars to wed homosexuals.

“I think that most people in the Folkekirken are happy that there is finally a political decision on which way to proceed,” the bishop of Copenhagen, Peter Skov-Jakobsen, told Politiken.

“But I also think there are some people who will be disappointed that the distinction between marriage and partnership will disappear.”

An earlier newspaper report is here: Minister: Gay weddings by next year.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark has an English website. It signed the Porvoo Agreement in October 2010.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 25 November 2011 at 3:06pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Porvoo Communion | equality legislation
Comments

'After years of opposition to granting homosexual unions the same status as heterosexual unions, Folkekirken bishops are developing a new wedding rite that will enable vicars to wed' lesbians and gays.

Same old, same old.

I expect I'll be dead before the C of E gets its act together. When it does, it will be hailed by similar words to the above.

Thank goodness, for MCC, Quakers and Unitarian and Free Christian Church.


Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Friday, 25 November 2011 at 4:43pm GMT

"But I also think there are some people who will be disappointed that the distinction between marriage and partnership will disappear"

Because there isn't any distinction? What could be disappointing about that?

Posted by: JCF on Saturday, 26 November 2011 at 1:52am GMT

That is very interesting news. It would appear that the Church of England has a filial relationship (PORVOO) with the Danish Church that seems likely to approve of Same-Sex Marriage. Good for them!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 26 November 2011 at 8:08am GMT

The Danish state Church has less than 2 per cent of the population attending its services. It is merely used for baptisms ( more so proportionately than the Cof E), marriages and funerals. The Church has no moral authority whatsoever.

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Saturday, 26 November 2011 at 1:16pm GMT

You forgot confirmations Robert which still attracts a suprising percentage of the adolescent population..Whatever the state of the danish Church I cant see much likelihood of RC advance.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Saturday, 26 November 2011 at 6:17pm GMT

Perhaps Mr Williams would like to tell us how much 'moral authority' his church has? And does the exercise of 'moral authority', what ever that is, depend on the numbers attending? Further, if 'moral authority' is really a dressed up way of saying 'because I say so' then the response of any sentient person will not be publishable on a family website such as this.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Saturday, 26 November 2011 at 8:12pm GMT

RIW: though the attendance at Sunday services in the Church of Denmark is about as low as in the Church of England (in proportion to the population), more than 4 million Danes belong to their church. "Belong" in the Danish context means rather more than the very passive sense in which Anglicans or RCs in England might belong: it means they pay church tax (a not insignificant amount - a Danish friend tells me it could normally be in the region of c.£500 per annum). So in an important sense, the average Dane is very much more committed to the church than the average Brit.

Their rates of baptism, confirmation, church weddings and church funerals are also extraordinarily high compared to either the C of E or the RC Church in the UK.

So I would be wary of claiming the Danish Church "has no moral authority whatsoever": a Dane is unlikely to see it that way. Of course, in Denmark, particularly given the appalling recent RC clerical child abuse scandal in the country, where abusing priests were shielded by the bishop, most people would say that the RC Church has no moral authority whatsoever, but that is another matter...

Posted by: Fr Mark on Saturday, 26 November 2011 at 9:41pm GMT

Movement in America too it seems ! If Republicans can change like this , is it the work of the Spirit ! Where next ? Who next! The Spirit and the Bride say Come!

http://enlightenedcatholicism-colkoch.blogspot.com/2009/05/ted-olson-goes-to-court-for-gay.html

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Saturday, 26 November 2011 at 10:52pm GMT

The history of the Danish Church is of bending to the whims of the state. The Catholic Church in Denmark was persecuted for 350 years and is now a vibrant witness to the glospel. There has been a steady witness of Danish converts, acting as yeast in an immigrant church.

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Sunday, 27 November 2011 at 8:02am GMT

Under the heading 'Australians put off by clergy abuse' there is an interesting report in the current Church Times of a survey of what turns people away from Christianity. More than 90% cited clergy abuse and 88% were repelled by hypocrisy and judging others. 69% rejected the church's attitude to homosexuality, 66% had problems with teaching on hell and 60% with attitudes to women.

The church needs to engage with these findings. We know that most people find Christianity irrelvant to their lives, here are some specific reasons. Most people won't live the lives and accept the teachings which the church seems to impose. It would be interesting to do a survey of why some people do go to church. I would bet that it has very little to do with belief or dogma (and nothing to do with teachings on sex or women), much more to do with a sense of belonging, community, fellowship and love.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Sunday, 27 November 2011 at 8:37am GMT

People line up in curious ways. Olson isn't the only one such: there's also Dick Cheney, one of whose daughters is gay. It's this sort of thing which gives one hope.

Posted by: John on Sunday, 27 November 2011 at 9:22am GMT

Richard, that's fair enough if social belonging is all you want. However it is a far cry from the "revealed religion" of Christianity.
As we move into Advent, Christian tradition is clear that the Church will be rejected by many during the final persecution. Who knows if we are entering those end times now. Christ will judge us on our actions; not on our feelings of belonging and fellowship.

Posted by: William on Sunday, 27 November 2011 at 5:26pm GMT

William: "Christ will judge us on our actions..."

Well, yes. If those actions include being uniquely mean-spirited to gay people, then I'm sure he will judge Christians on them (as indeed the rest of society is doing already).

Posted by: Fr Mark on Sunday, 27 November 2011 at 5:57pm GMT

What you say William is exactly what the survey was trying to illustrate - '88% were repelled by...judging others'. You may argue that it is Christ who does the judging, many would say that it is fallible human beings who do so. Essentially you are trying to frighten people into believing what you believe and behaving as you think that they ought. This is not a good model for the current age, we don't live in the middle ages any longer and the Church is not, or should not attempt to be an agent of social control.

Also in the CT this week is an article headed 'They belong, but don't believe'. The author relates this to the many who have a general good will towards the church but for who it is mostly irrelevant and so do not come more than infrequently. I like the author's conclusion -
'those who train clergy need to recaim the idea of mission from those who would narrow it down to evangelism and matters of belief [and] help ordinands recover that properly Anglican sense of the parish church as a place where many can feel that they belong and beliefs are accepted as a work in progress'.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Sunday, 27 November 2011 at 7:01pm GMT

"Christian tradition is clear that the Church will be rejected by many during the final persecution. Who knows if we are entering those end times now"

If you can call Fundamentalist End-times Hysteria (or FEH! See re Harold Camping, and all the wingnuts before him---and, sadly, after) "Christian tradition", then I suppose you're right, William.

I, however, am an Anglican! Christ's Judgment---Christ's JUSTICE---is always ***NOW***. Not in some mytho-poetic future. And Christ's Justice demands Christians stand with the "least of these". That's not "social belonging" or even social service.

That's the Gospel.

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 27 November 2011 at 11:45pm GMT

" ... The Church has no moral authority whatsoever ... "

Mr RI Williams, what authoritative evidence can you present to support your quite extraordinary statement about the Evangelical Church of Denmark; that is, other than your own opinion and bias, whoever you might be in relation to my question. Are you particularly qualified by some authority, education or experience?

Posted by: R. Zacher on Monday, 28 November 2011 at 6:40am GMT

I suppose the Bishops of the Danish Church could legitimately say to Bishops of the Church of England: "Pour moi" but not: "PORVOO"

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 29 November 2011 at 10:14am GMT

The whole history of the Danish Lutheran Church is one of total subservience to the state.Its mandate reflects the morals of the Danish state who pays for it..divorce, contraception etc

Authority in the Catholic Church comes from the commission of Her Divine Master, and transcends the worthiness or unworthiness of her people.

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Tuesday, 29 November 2011 at 8:28pm GMT

"The whole history of the Danish Lutheran Church is one of total subservience to the state"

How convenient, then, that the RCC is ruled *from* a state, yes?

Not that that kept it from turning a blind eye to certain . . . oh. . . naughtiness back in the '30's and '40's to keep itself in the black.

The RC denomination, in a very real sense, has no moral authority because it long ago abandoned Christ for temporal power. Even if the Danes *are* reflecting the morals of the state, that is still more laudable than the morality of "Whatever keeps the Pope on top!"

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Wednesday, 30 November 2011 at 4:43am GMT

The Danish state who pays for it?

I would like someone who knows about the Scandinavian system to confirm this.

Because my understanding was that the Danish system is similar to the German one, where the state is the vehicle for collecting church taxes but that's a purely administrative function.

Unlike in Britain, churches and state are completely independent from each other. There's certainly no legislative church representation in the democratically elected upper house!

And individuals are free to leave the church and no longer pay church tax.

One can argue whether that's an appropriate way of financing the church but it certainly does not give the state the tiniest influence in church politics.

I think, RIW, it's time people accepted that what you decry as "secular" influence is actually where Christians believe their faith should take them too. These are not Pure Christians vs Immoral Secular divisions, however nice and simple that might be for people who like their moral decisions to be black and white.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 30 November 2011 at 8:32am GMT

'Authority in the Catholic Church comes from the commission of Her Divine Master, and transcends the worthiness or unworthiness of her people'.

These two statements cannot possibly be reconciled and are therefore meaningless. Unless, of course, Mr williams believes that the Borgias, the Nazi shelterers and those covering up the child abuse scandals (to name just a few of the iniquities of the papacy) also exercised divine authority. Or is he picking and choosing which bits of divine authority to recognise?

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Wednesday, 30 November 2011 at 9:37am GMT

The Danish Government even has a Church minister.The Church is directly ruled by the state, in a way even unthinkable in England. That is why they had women ordained in 1948!

There are probably about six bad Popes in history, yet non of these taught doctrines which compromised the Faith..they are protected by the charism of infallibility.

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Wednesday, 30 November 2011 at 8:59pm GMT

Only six? Really? Of course, your definition of "compromising the faith" and that of others may differ wildly.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Thursday, 1 December 2011 at 12:30am GMT

There are probably about six bad Popes in history, yet non of these taught doctrines which compromised the Faith..they are protected by the charism of infallibility.

And the Easter Bunny leaves chocolate eggs, and the Tooth Fairy leaves money under your pillow for your baby teeth, and kappas drown Japanese swimmers, and Baba Yaga lives in a house with chicken legs, and . . .

It depends where your "Faith" is, Robert. I prefer "The Faith" in Jesus, to "The Faith" in the rule of a group of aging tyrants.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Thursday, 1 December 2011 at 4:57am GMT

So, Robert, what's wrong with 'a Church being 'ruled by The State? It happens in your own Church. The Vatican State rules the Roman Catholic Church. The Pope is the Supreme Monarch of that State.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 1 December 2011 at 9:17am GMT

I would still like to hear from someone who knows about this what brief the Church Minister has, what she can and cannot tell the church to do.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 1 December 2011 at 9:44pm GMT

Erika: there's a pretty good Wikipedia article for the Church of Denmark http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_Denmark
as also for the other Nordic churches.

71% of all Danish teenagers are confirmed in the Lutheran Church - in Iceland I see it is 90%! - along with similarly impressive figures for baptisms, marriages and funerals, and yet Robert Ian Williams sneers at them as being of no account. These are figure both the C of E and the RC Church would crow about very loudly if they were anywhere near achieving them!

Posted by: Fr Mark on Friday, 2 December 2011 at 5:38pm GMT

Mark, never confuse saving faith with cultural rites of passage.

Posted by: Robert Ian williams on Tuesday, 6 December 2011 at 7:44am GMT
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