Thinking Anglicans

Toronto: Same-sex Unions

The bishops of the Diocese of Toronto are proposing to respond pastorally in the matter of committed same-sex relationships.

See the press announcement: Bishops propose pastoral response to committed same-sex relationships.

See the Draft Discussion Document for Consultation (PDF).

The press statement includes:

The bishops’ proposal in offering a pastoral response is as follows:

  • Episcopal permission be given to a limited number of parishes, based on Episcopal discernment, to offer prayers and blessing (but not the nuptial blessing) to same-sex couples in stable, long-term, committed relationships, as an extension of the current pastoral norms.
  • Episcopal guidelines on the nature of the prayers/blessing will be established. A particular rite will not be authorized.
  • Episcopal permission for blessings will be required.
  • Evaluation of this pastoral response will be undertaken after one year.
  • No parish or clergy will be required to participate.
  • A Bishop’s Commission will be formed to create the guidelines, monitor activity and review.

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Neil
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Neil

I was never convinced by the phenomenon called ‘the Toronto blessing’ all those year ago. But how lovely to be able to reclaim the idea of the Toronto blessing from the charismatics!

Rev L Roberts
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Rev L Roberts

Yes, but a blessing hedged around with reistrictions and caveats, it woul apppear.

Still far, far from any kind of equality.

How many heterosexual lovers would rejoice at such an ‘offer’ ? At being called on to submit to such a process ?

Nom de Plume
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Nom de Plume

Two points stand out from the text: “The current status of the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Diocese of Toronto in particular, is adherence to the Pastoral Statement of the House of Bishops of 2007 within which a wide pastoral generosity has been encouraged.” This is problematic in that it elevates a “Pastoral Statement” to something akin to law which demands “adherence”. The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada has no constitutional existence, let alone any authority, and so whilst it may issue any number of communiques, pastoral statements or what have you, these should not… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

Oh brother: nearly 6 years after Civil Marriage (for same-sex couples) was permitted in Canada—and lo, the sky did not fall!—and THIS is the most the DioToronto can offer?!

[Yes, yes, I know: such miniscule baby-steps will STILL give GAFCON the vapors…]

The sooner we can get that d*mn “Prop H8” (ssm ban) overturned in California, the sooner TEC can go back to showing the AC “how it’s done”! [Hint-hint: it begins on p.422 of the ’79 BCP—w/ only *minor* changes]

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

I suppose this action of the bishops in Toronto could be seen as, at least, an opening up of the Church towards the recognition of same-sex relationship – as being a part of God’s ordinance for the Church as well as the world. Will this provision for ‘blessings’ be extended to include *marriage* one wonders, once the intended proposal of President Obama in the US (to allow equal rights of ‘maairage’ to gay couples) becomes law in Canada’s neighboring country? Perhaps what really needs to be discussed more fully at this point is the theology of marriage, where, formerly, there… Read more »

Robert Ian williams
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Robert Ian williams

Incredible , when one considers that until the 1960s Canadian Anglicanism forbade the re-marriage of divorced persons.

Rev L Roberts
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Rev L Roberts

‘Second, the proposal is to “offer prayers and blessing to same-sex couples in stable long-term committed relationships.” Given that there is no mention of Civil Marriage, I take it that couples who are cohabiting but not civilly married may request such prayers and blessing, creating a right for same-sex couples that is not extended to heterosexual couples, who must marry in order to avail themselves of the prayers and blessings offered by the Church.’

I feel for those poor heterosexual couples with their burden of discrimination. May their burdens soon be eased…

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“Incredible, when one considers that until the 1960s Canadian Anglicanism forbade the re-marriage of divorced persons.”

What was that? changing the subject… Some kind of slippery slope trick?

Nom de Plume
Guest
Nom de Plume

“I feel for those poor heterosexual couples with their burden of discrimination. May their burdens soon be eased…” The point was not that there are large numbers of heterosexuals suffering from inordinate discrimination, but that the Canadian General Synod had a debate in 2001 with respect to the blessing of cohabiting but non-married couples and decided against it. I don’t see how it is consistent to offer such a blessing to a cohabiting couple who are of the same sex when it would be withheld from a heterosexual couple. Equality demands that the requirement should be the same, does it… Read more »

Merseymike
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Merseymike

Personally, whilst I think that any move forward has to be positive, I can see no reason why any gay couple would want to bother when the state gives is so much more – really, it just demonstrates how redundant the Church is to me and to many others who once saw themselves as believers. Quite honestly, life is really so much better without having to bother with this nonsense. As the sign on the bus said – there’s probably no God, so get on and enjoy your life – as a gay couple with the statutory rights we all… Read more »

counterlight
Guest

“I feel for those poor heterosexual couples with their burden of discrimination.”

When did sharing a privilege and expanding a right become discrimination?
Poor me, I have to share a building and a city with other inhabitants, with people I don’t know and don’t like. I feel so put upon! The very idea that other people might have fully as legitimate a claim on this world as my own makes me feel diminished.

choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

Point well taken Pen Name, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander and for Canadian to allow such a loophole in the law feeds the “special rights” arguments of the gay bashing right wing in North America. Merseymike, I had a “go” at it in my mid-twenties, and it was a hollow, shallow, self-indulgent life that ended up in on one bar stool after another. You sound amazingly like George Bush I’s saying of “don’t worry, be happy” mantra. It is our love of Christ that many of us refuse to let Christianity be perverted by psychological… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

Collapsing big tent Anglican spaces globally and inviting the rest of us to become invisible and silent, or leave – this is more or less what the conservative Anglican realignment is mainly doing. Educated citizens are being told that they only way they can be in communion with an impoverished African believer in, say, Darfur is to burn any degrees or certificates, abandon one’s professional work (or at least fall scrupulously silent about being involved daily at work with modern best practice tool kits), and delight in having all manner of pat conservative biblicisms preached as closed, eternal good news.… Read more »

Ley Druid
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Ley Druid

“Perhaps what really needs to be discussed more fully at this point is the theology of marriage, where, formerly, there was an expectation of the possibility of a procreative element in marriage (of heterosexuals), but this seems to have been overlooked in the case of older, or sexually incapacitated heterosexual marriage partnerships.” Hear, Hear! In the Catholic Church perpetual impotence and not infertility is an impediment to marriage. To some this may seem arbitrary or discriminatory; to be sure, compassion should be offered to anyone suffering from either condition. However marriage is defined, as a result one will discriminate between… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

“Marriage is certainly about more than just heterosexual intercourse, but what does it mean to talk of marriage without it?”

Unless you’re policing it, it makes no sense to talk about sex at all. You can theorise and moralise all you like, every child born is possibly proof of one act of heterosexual intercourse, and that’s as close as anyone gets to evaluating the role sex plays in a marriage.

It’s about time we left sex to the people involved and talked about other goods and functions of marriage.

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“can see no reason why any gay couple would want to bother when the state gives is so much more”

I was unaware that any state gave us freedom from sin and death, access to free grace, and citizenship in the Kingdom of God. I know Canada might look like Heaven on Earth to those outside our borders 🙂 Trust me, it isn’t.

Rev L Roberts
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Rev L Roberts

So Ley Druid you advocate (do you) that if you (one) can’t get it up, then you can’t get married ? Bit odd.

And anyway how would anyone — let alone a minister RC or otherwise, know such personal information ? !

Religion can be decidedly odd…

Merseymike
Guest

But I just don’t believe all that super-spiritual flim-flam any more, Ford. Neither do I think the only alternative to Christianity is hedonistic alcoholism, choirboy. Try intellectually credible humanism. It works for me.

But all the same, I’m glad you are there to speak out for justice, even though I think you are ultimately on to a loser – religion in the west will become ever more the laager for the prejudiced and backward looking

Rev L Roberts
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Rev L Roberts

As a protestant, I am not clear that ‘the Church’ ‘gives’ these ‘things’ either.

Also, questions of meaning and spirituality are raised,for my self.

JCF
Guest
JCF

Well said, choirboy & Ford.

Merseymike, I was enriched by your posts here for quite a few years—now, it’s really time for you to move on. May you find what you’re looking for out in that great godless world(view). We’ll leave the light on for you, if it’s less than advertised.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“It’s about time we left sex to the people involved and talked about other goods and functions of marriage.”

I would be curious to know what the present Bishop of Rome would have to say about the woman here in the US who just had octuplets. And has six young children at home – she is 33 and divorced and lives with her parents – ALL of her children are the result of in vitro fertilization.

Lots of ethical questions about that.

I’ve not heard of any gay couples with 14 in vitro children!

Tobias Haller
Guest

Ley Druid, as you note, it is impotence, not infertility, the impedes marriage among Roman Catholics. So it is quite possible to have the marriage soufflé without eggs.

If you insist that heterosexual intercourse is the sine qua non for marriage, then obviously there would be no marriage without heterosexual intercourse. But that predicate is not conceded, if for no other reason than, for example, Canada thinks otherwise. You may think this ought not be, but it is. Marriage, in Canada, does not require heterosexual intercourse.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Mike
“But I just don’t believe all that super-spiritual flim-flam any more”

That’s perfectly ok, but it has little to do with the lgbt issue.
That people get God wrong and use religion as an oppressive tool is one thing.
That God doesn’t exist quite another.
You’re intelligent enough to understand the difference.

Ley Druid
Guest
Ley Druid

Tobias Haller, Her Majesty Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, may bestow her Royal Assent and enact legislation. In her infinite wisdom, she has decreed that: “No person shall marry another person if they are related lineally, or as brother or sister or half-brother or half-sister, including by adoption.” Sorry, but I find it more than a little disingenuous not to talk about sex in marriage. Surely two siblings or parents and children could enjoy the other goods and functions of marriage. Is this law merely an anachronism from the bad old days when people talked about sex and marriage? Or… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“Or does this point to truths about marriage beyond the law?”

It points to biological truths beyond the law, i.e. that there is an increased likelihood of genetic defects if close relatives marry.

No-one denies that sex is or can be a part of marriage, the question is whether it has to be the sole and overriding part to the extent that it even defines marriage.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“But I just don’t believe all that super-spiritual flim-flam any more, Ford.” We know. You’ve made it abundantly clear. So why do you feel the need to keep proclaiming it? And why do you look down your nose at those who do? Why is spirituality anathema for you? You seem to think the Church is nothing more than some sort of club to give social acceptability to human behaviours and you’re all upset because they won’t give you their imprimatur. Well, that isn’t what the Church is. No-one’s forcing you to be a Christian, nor is anyone forcing you to… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

Ley Druid, You are confusing me here. I’m talking about what you referred to above — “heterosexual sex” — which you said was essential to marriage, unless I’m misunderstanding you. My allegation is that sex is indeed a part of marriage, but that it can and does take place within a same-sex relationship. This is what Canada recognizes. Marriage is to some extent about sex — not procreation — which is why the incest rule still holds. Sex between related persons is proscribed by law whether same- or mixed-sex, and regardless of fertility. (With the exception, in certain parts of… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest

I am baffled, frankly, by both Merseymike and Robert Ian Williams. Both of them have “moved on” from Anglicanism, yet both are constant (and often caustic) posters here. Curious.

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

re Mike and Robert –

Would it do if we were all the same I wonder ?

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

I guess, Malcom+, that there is much more going on in the environment of Anglicanism at the moment than both Merseymike and Robert I Williams are able to discern within their own respective areas, of either: Church – Robert, RCC; or world atheism – Merseymike. Sometimes, it is easier for outsiders to comment on important activities outside of their own experience, than it is to try to discover what it is within their own particular milieu that might be at all interesting to anyone else. Perhaps both are so absorbed with the fact that the Anglican Communion still has something… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

I find it very odd that just because someone isn;t part of an organisation any longer, that it should then follow that one has no interest in what goes on within it. As an advocate for gay equality I find the position of the Church fascinating as the main institution in the UK which is refusing to accept or even live with the changes of recent years. That interests me sociologically and personally. Ford: I really don’t think that ‘healing’ and ‘peace’ are on my agenda, politically. On a personal level, anything to do with the church is now somewhat… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Mersey “As an advocate for gay equality I find the position of the Church fascinating as the main institution in the UK which is refusing to accept or even live with the changes of recent years. That interests me sociologically and personally.” I’m almost on my way out of the Anglican Church. Partly because I find their stances on political issues so irrelevant, it’s almost comical. And once something doesn’t make political or humanistic sense anymore it simply makes no sense. God created this world, us within this world, and if you believe in the incarnation, he came as a… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

If something makes me annoyed it is the charge that if someone leaves the faith or the Church of the faith then they have unresolved issues or something spiritual not being met etc.. There is bound to be some anger, at least frustration, that something you – as an individual – once attempted to reform becomes an institution largely of negative social impact. In the UK the Church of England retains an influence that is newsworthy, so it is right to maintain comment upon it at least until disestablished. I don’t think I can maintain the label Christian any more,… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“If something makes me annoyed it is the charge that if someone leaves the faith or the Church of the faith then they have unresolved issues or something spiritual not being met etc..”

Who is saying that?

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Erika – no, but then I have never been a Roman Catholic – and remember that I am English, and the Anglicans are the established church here. So, like it or not, they have influence on me and others like me.

Pluralist explained that quite well.

It wasn’t something I planned, Erika – juat realised that it didn’t make sense to me any more

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Merseymike Well, maybe a part of something “not making sense any more” is that you have to slag it off as “flim flam” and ridicule those who still find it meaningful on a forum that is supposed to be for constructive conversation. As for Anglicanism being the established church – I’m not sure I understand the argument Pluralist makes. The church has very little influence, only in its own realm is it still allowed to discriminate against people on spurious “religious” grounds. In any other aspect of politics it has become almost irrelevant and because of its squabbles and anti-human… Read more »