Comments: Registering civil partnerships in CofE churches

From the 'Changing Attitude press statement concerning a church where CPs are blessed - ‘Fees are charged, sent to the diocese saying they are for the blessing of a civil partnership, and are banked by the diocese’.

I just love it. The Church of England either at its wackiest or most incompetent. Money talks, so that one cannot but assume that since they take the money they accept, if not apprvove, blessings of CPs in church. Since this is the case it would be interesting to know what the law has to say about this. Can the church actually accept money for an action which Mt Fitt would have us believe is ‘illegal’?

Isn’t there a parallel with sex workers paying income tax? (just a thought)

Posted by Richard Ashby at Tuesday, 29 November 2011 at 9:37am GMT

Would it not be pertinent for the General Synod of the Church of England - in view of the fact that clergy 'Civil Partnerships' have already been recognised through the clergy Pension scheme - to now prove the Church's magnanimity (with a degree of integrity) to allow some form of religious rite for the recognition of Same-Sex partnerships, that do exist, in actuality, in the Church? Or are we to continue with the 'nod-wink' culture that once existed in the military?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 29 November 2011 at 10:09am GMT

Richard - the church in question, St. Martin in the Fields, used to be in the jurisdiction of the Royal Peculiar of Westminster Abbey. If that's still the case (*), then there's no wackiness nor incompetence involved - simply that this church is outside the jurisdiction of the Bishops, and their pastoral statement prohibiting blessings of civil partnerships doesn't apply there.

(*) There are some indications that it _may_ have changed in the late 17th century.

Posted by Feria at Tuesday, 29 November 2011 at 1:22pm GMT

According to Crockford's, patron is the Bishop of London

Posted by John Roch at Tuesday, 29 November 2011 at 9:06pm GMT

Feria- My point was not about the policies of the church in question, it was about the diocese accepting monies for an activity which is forbidden by the bishops. Isn't that either wacky or incompetent? Surely at the very least it compromises any hardline about the blessings of civil partnerships in church. I would have thought that the principled thing the diocese should be doing is returning the fees, otherwise it is surely living off 'immoral earnings'!

Posted by Richard Ashby at Wednesday, 30 November 2011 at 9:28am GMT

John - that's one of the "indications" I was talking about. But it's not conclusive, because AFAIK, being Patron doesn't necessarily imply being Ordinary. The other "indication" is that marriages at St Martin in the Fields stopped appearing in the Westminster Abbey registers around 1669. That's not conclusive either, because peculiars often borrow the registers of a neighbouring diocese, which might also explain the payment of fees that Changing Attitude noticed.

Posted by Feria at Wednesday, 30 November 2011 at 12:00pm GMT

Given the usual shrillness which this subject tends to ellicit, I am astonished that no protestations of dismay have been made inspired by a decision which many will accept with relief. I do not see how the bishops could have come to any other conclusion. But what I don't understand is this thread about fees. Surely no self-respecting cleric would charge fees for a ceremony they were not allowed to conduct? Presumably such 'blessings' would be informal? But I wonder if fees were charged by the rector of St Bartholomew-the-Great, Smithfield, when he conducted a fiasco of a wedding of two clerics a year or two ago. I understand that one of them subsequently renounced his orders.

Posted by John Bowles at Thursday, 1 December 2011 at 10:09am GMT
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