Wednesday, 17 April 2013

CofE marriage report: last November's Questions in Synod

At the General Synod meeting last November, some Questions were asked about the report that has recently been published.

The full transcript of Questions and Answers is available here, but the section relating to the report (pages 43-44) is copied in full below the line.

Readers may wish to ask themselves whether the report that has now been published fits the description given in the answer:

…The Committee saw no need for a review of the teaching document issued by the House in 1999. It did, however, ask the Commission to produce a short document summarizing the Church’s doctrine of marriage and taking account of further theological work that has appeared since.

The full text of the 1999 document mentioned above can be found here: Marriage: A Teaching Document (PDF).

18. Revd Canon Giles Goddard (Southwark) asked the Chairman of the House of Bishops:
Is it the case that the Faith and Order Commission has been invited by the House of Bishops to undertake work in relation to the Church’s teaching on marriage and, if so, who will be conducting that work on the Commission’s behalf?

19. Miss Rachel Beck (Lincoln) asked the Chairman of the House of Bishops:
Given the concern expressed at the last group of sessions that the full diversity of beliefs on the issue of same-sex marriage that exist within the Church were not fully represented in the response submitted to HM Government’s consultation on the issue of same-sex marriage, can the House ensure that in any request for work in this area to the Faith and Order Commission it would be encouraged to look at the subject in all its fullness, a fullness which includes debating the possibility of blessing same-sex marriage?

The Archbishop of York (Dr John Sentamu), replied as Chairman of the House of Bishops’ Standing Committee:
With permission, Chair, I will answer these Questions together.

At a meeting of the House of Bishops Standing Committee earlier this year the Bishop of Coventry, as chair of the Faith and Order Commission, asked whether the Committee wished the Commission to undertake any further work on the Church of England’s teaching on marriage. The Committee saw no need for a review of the teaching document issued by the House in 1999. It did, however, ask the Commission to produce a short document summarizing the Church’s doctrine of marriage and taking account of further theological work that has appeared since. The work is now well advanced.

Revd Canon Giles Goddard (Southwark): At best, this sounds like a missed opportunity, given the amount of recent work on these matters, which deserves more serious –

The Chairman: You are making a speech, not asking a question.

Revd Canon Giles Goddard (Southwark): I am coming to the question – which deserves more serious consideration than is possible in a short document. Who is advising the Commission and when will the report be published?

The Archbishop of York: That document has been asked for by the Standing Committee of the House. It will then go to the House of Bishops to decide how, when, where and what will be published after consultation with the House. That is the process.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 17 April 2013 at 3:45pm BST | TrackBack
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Comments

I am interested in whether anyone can discover in the recent report any substantial reference to "theological work that has appeared since" 1999. The references and further reading are thin on recent material - e.g. the Common Worship service will have reflected the same material and thinking as the 1999 report, even though it was finalised shortly afterwards. The republication of the Homilies and the works of Jeremy Taylor are later, but they can hardly be called recent theology. There seems to be a complete failure to address the public remit, which is perhaps why the document appears so laboured and thin in relation to current debates.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Wednesday, 17 April 2013 at 6:01pm BST

and taking account of further theological work that has appeared since???

Posted by: Scot Peterson on Wednesday, 17 April 2013 at 6:53pm BST

Sentamu: "The Committee saw no need for a review of the teaching document issued by the House in 1999."

Bottle, meet Stopper.

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 17 April 2013 at 9:21pm BST

Given the circumstances of New Zealand's passage of the Marriage Amendment Bill, which will allow Same-Sex Marriage in N.Z. - but with special provision for dissenting Celebrants & Religious Organisations to opt out of performing such marriages - it would seem that the Church of England needs seriously to re-consider its recent statement of what Marriage is really all about.

Once again, an ex-Colonial Country would seem to be outstripping Mother England in a matter of establishing new frontiers for what appears to be a move towards social justice for ALL citizens.

We do not yet know what will the the response of our Anglican Church here to the latest news of the affirmation of the LGBT community in N.Z., but one is hopeful of a more generous response that would appear to be forthcoming in the C. of E.

However, the Maundy Thursday antiphon issues a clear challenge to all Christians, and it is this:
"Where Charity and Love are: there is God!"

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 17 April 2013 at 10:58pm BST

In this ex-colonial country (USA), Fr. Ron, TEC has proven itself to be on the forefront of the battle for the equality of all God's children, but, alas, our government is not as enlightened as that of N.Z. Still, individual states have begun to see the light, so there's hope.

Posted by: Old Father William on Thursday, 18 April 2013 at 2:51am BST

The Church of England has to wean itself from its tendency to publish wide ranging statements on controversial topics for which no named individual author is identified or takes responsibility. Giles Goddard asked repeatedly:

"who will be conducting that work on the Commission’s behalf?"

and

"Who is advising the Commission?"

The first question had an evasive answer - "the Faith and Order Commission", with no individual named. The second question was not answered at all.

The report itself was published with a list of the names of every member of the Commission, but the only one of those names to have commented on the Report has expressed clear disagreement with it (the Rev Canon Dr Charlotte Methuen).

Posted by: badman on Thursday, 18 April 2013 at 1:01pm BST

Well, the 1999 document sets out to teach about marriage primarily through the lense of marriage breakdown.
Whereas the most recent document sets out a theology purposed to deny marriage to same sex couples.

When, one wonders is marriage going to get an impartial and independent airing.

Is the Archbishop of York really as unpleasant as the exchange with Giles implies, or does the printed word conceal a more nuanced voice?

Otherwise, Scot and others have it, nothing new, no attempt to give reason, experience or recent thinking an outing .... But then it wasn't really expected ..........


Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Thursday, 18 April 2013 at 6:02pm BST

Here's a video of the 3rd reading in NZ. They actually break out into song!!! What a great, joyful, occasion. I yearn for it in the US and UK.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DW4DXOAXF8U&feature=share

Posted by: Cynthia on Thursday, 18 April 2013 at 7:38pm BST
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