Comments: General Synod: Questions about Church of Sweden

The Church of Sweden has also, for some time now, I think, had a rite of blessing for civil partnerships. Norway also has non-gender discriminatory civil marriage (introduced this year): is the ecclesiastical situation not similar there too? The Danish Church, while not in Porvoo, is in communion separately with the other national Lutheran churches in Scandinavia, and offers blessing for civil partnerships: it looks as if the law there will also shortly be amended to provide for non-gender discriminatory civil marriage too. Does anyone know the situation in Finland or Iceland? The Scandinavian churches do not permit discrimination against women in ministry either, which already puts them out of communion with some in the C of E, surely. The C of E Bishop of Gibraltar, for example, does not accept the validity of women priests' orders or allow partnered gay clergy in his diocese, yet is, supposedly, in communion with all these churches which have women bishops and plenty of partnered gay clergy: whereas, with the Church of Rome, whose views of women and gay people he shares, he is not in communion. Funny old world, isn't it?

Basically, the societies, and national churches, which are closest historically and geographically to Britain, are changing rapidly towards a world where taboo and repression regarding women and gay people have disappeared. The question for England is whether it will much longer tolerate its national church leadership either being 1) mealy-mouthed (like the Bp of Guildford here); or 2) downright offensive (like my Lord of Rochester's recent comments on gay people).

Posted by Fr Mark at Monday, 13 July 2009 at 11:42am BST

Here is a link to the Svenska kyrkan's rite of blessing for same-sex couples:

http://www.thurible.net/wp-content/uploads/2007/03/swedish-rite-of-blessing.pdf

Posted by Fr Mark at Monday, 13 July 2009 at 11:45am BST

Question: what are Porvoo churches?

Comment: I am tired of 'practicing Lesbian' or 'practicing homosexuals' - most of us have finished practicing and are quite skilled.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Monday, 13 July 2009 at 11:56am BST

Cynthia: the Porvoo churches are the ones which signed up to the agreement struck there (in Finland), stating they are in full communion with each other, and regard each other's ministries as interchangeable.

http://www.porvoochurches.org/

They are the Anglican churches of the British Isles, Spain and Portugal; and the Lutheran churches of Scandinavia and the Baltic states (excepting Denmark and Latvia). I think I am correct in saying that the C of E is the odd one out of all of these churches in being the only one officially committed to gender discrimination in episcopal appointments.

Posted by Fr Mark at Monday, 13 July 2009 at 12:30pm BST

Amen Cynthia. How much practice does one need?

Posted by bobinswpa at Monday, 13 July 2009 at 1:35pm BST

Didnt you realize that 'practice makes perfect' ?!

I too noticed that infelicitous and discriminatory expression.

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Monday, 13 July 2009 at 2:08pm BST

Interesting that the C of E can manage some sort of fudge with respect to the Church of Sweden and other Porvoo churches but not with respect to TEC.

Posted by Charlotte at Monday, 13 July 2009 at 4:45pm BST

Correct me if I'm wrong (Goran?), but methinks that the Church of Sweden will be even LESS welcoming of overseas meddling, than has been TEC!

Posted by JCF at Monday, 13 July 2009 at 10:42pm BST

The letter from CCU and FOAG to the church of Sweden is very revealing. The gist of it seems to be: Dear colleagues, we must remind you that we in the Church of England have weak hearts and are prone to terrible fainting fits and even episodes of dissociation when forced to confront REALITY of the LGBT variety, whether in our midst, or among dear friends such as yourselves. We also might come unglued in the event that any scandalous action on your part should threaten our standing in relation to such important friends as the Bishops of Rome or Abuja. We hope and trust therefore that you will refrain from moving further along a path that could pose such dangers to our fragile health and our brittle amour propre.

Posted by Mary Clara at Tuesday, 14 July 2009 at 4:15am BST

JCF, I don't think they would even understand such a thing...

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 14 July 2009 at 7:28am BST
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