Thinking Anglicans

Don't legalise gay marriage, Sentamu warns David Cameron

Updated Sunday evening

Martin Beckford of the Telegraph has spent the week in Jamaica with the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu.

In Saturday’s Telegraph he has two articles:

Dr John Sentamu: Church must avoid being ‘too middle class’

…While the focus has often been on the introduction of homosexual and female clergy, Dr Sentamu is aware that the Church must do more to avoid its leadership being solely white and middle class.

“I used to chair the committee for minority ethnic Anglican concerns, and we seemed to be making some progress but that now seems to be going backwards. Where we have lost out is black people who had been realised Anglicans, who are now joining Pentecostal churches. That’s a huge drain.”

He said white working-class parishioners were also poorly represented in the Church’s leadership, often being relegated to making tea after services, and highlighted support groups for single mothers and replacing theological books with audio versions as ways to help disadvantaged groups.

“The Church should be a sign of the kingdom of heaven and should be telling us what it will look like. Heaven is not going to be full of just black people, just working-class people, just middle-class people, it’s going to be, in the words of Desmond Tutu, a rainbow people of God in all its diversity.”

Don’t legalise gay marriage, Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu warns David Cameron

NB This article now also includes a video interview. Watching it is recommended.

…But the Archbishop says it is not the role of the state to redefine marriage, threatening a new row between the Church and state just days after bishops in the House of Lords led a successful rebellion over plans to cap benefits.

“Marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman,” says Dr Sentamu. “I don’t think it is the role of the state to define what marriage is. It is set in tradition and history and you can’t just [change it] overnight, no matter how powerful you are.

“We’ve seen dictators do it in different contexts and I don’t want to redefine very clear social structures that have been in existence for a long time and then overnight the state believes it could go in a particular way.

“It’s almost like somebody telling you that the Church, whose job is to worship God [will be] an arm of the Armed Forces. They must take arms and fight. You’re completely changing tradition.”

Earlier this week, Lynne Featherstone (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Equalities Office) answered this question in parliament on the subject:

(1) what recent discussions she has had with (a) the Church of England and (b) other church groups on same sex marriages in church;

(2) what representations she has received from the Church of England on same sex marriages in church.

The Government will publish a formal consultation on equal civil marriage in March 2012. I have met with a wide range of organisations ahead of this consultation including with representatives from the following church organisations: Church of England, Catholic Church, the Evangelical Alliance, Christian Institute, Quakers and Unitarian and Free Christian Churches. Discussions have been held and are ongoing with other organisations including those representing other faith groups, non-religious groups and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups.

This consultation will not propose any changes to religious marriage. Same-sex couples will not be able, under these proposals, to have a marriage through a religious ceremony on religious premises.


Rosalind English has written this at UK Human Rights Blog: Archbishop on warpath.

Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, has thrown a firecracker into the consultation on gay marriage, which is about to begin in March. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph he declared that he did not agree that it was the role of the state to define what marriage is. ”It is set in tradition and history and you can’t just [change it] overnight, no matter how powerful you are”.


  • Davis Mac-Iyalla says:

    Archbishop John Sentamu, you cant define the real meaning of marriage and neither would you be able to stop marriage Equality in the UK, it is such selfish pronouncements like this from you and your fellow bishops that is actually making members leave the Anglican church for the new generation Pentecostal churches. If marriage is actually an institution ordained by God, then its only a matter of time before LGBTI Christians will be legally married in the church of England, its our right for our relationship and marriage to be blessed in our churches. Ordination of women bishop and full marriage equality is a task Synod must accomplish or lost its values.

  • “This consultation will not propose any changes to religious marriage. Same-sex couples will not be able, under these proposals, to have a marriage through a religious ceremony on religious premises.” – Lynn Featherstone –

    So, then; at least in the arena of Civil Marriage there will be no distinction between heterosexual and homosexual partnerships under the new peoposal.

    This is entirely consistent with the majority of heterosexual couples who do not want a religious ceremony. At least in the Civil Courts there will be no discrimination on account of the sexual orientation of couples – not like in the Church!

    Perhaps the arrangements for ‘Marriage’ should be the same as in many other civil jurisdictions – in that the legal Marriage Ceremony is a Civil Affair; that may be, if the couple qualifies, affirmed by a separate religious ceremony. That would seem to suit the Church’s unwillingness to add God’s Blessing on those who ‘don’t qualify’.

    But would this suit the Archbishop of York?

  • evensongjunkie says:

    Another brick in the wall.

  • Pat O'Neill says:

    I guess Archbishop Sentamu’s “rainbow of the people of God” doesn’t include any gays or lesbians.

  • I have never heard such an incoherent load of tripe in my entire life.

    And I watched several minutes of the last Republican presidential debate.

  • Daniel Walters says:

    “This consultation will not propose any changes to religious marriage. Same-sex couples will not be able, under these proposals, to have a marriage through a religious ceremony on religious premises.”

    I don’t understand… I thought that churches that wanted to, *would* be allowed to have same-sex marriages in their churches? Is this a u-turn? And if so, why?

  • Gerry Lynch says:

    Gay marriage has majority support in the UK, according to every poll done in the subject in recent years, and it will probably pass the House of Commons by a majority of 500-100 or so. I’m really not seeing the dictatorship thing here.

    As for the subtle dig that somehow this is an offence to the white working-class, I don’t think he has a clue what he’s talking about. Given that the Archbishop lives in a palace, and I live in a council estate, I’m claiming the inside track on this. Would anyone care to take a guess what proportion of clergy in council estate and inner city parishes in the C of E are gay? 40%? 50%?

  • JeremyP says:

    I think that what Lynn F means is that the consultation is not going to get into the very legally convoluted territory of marriages which are contracted in churches, where the priest is acting at one and the same time as the minister of the liturgy and the registrar of the marriage, and the marriage is contracted in and through the liturgy of the particular church (as in Church of England Marriages at present).

    The consultation is, as I understand it, about civil marriage. But, even though the consultation may reveal that the people of Britain want their country to open marriage to all it appears the Archbishop knows better – and unchanging tradition is to rule the day. What? Like the Gold Standard and the Empire?

  • Richard Ashby says:

    The church has always been middle class. Working people only went to church because they were expected to or intimidated into doing so by priests, landlords and masters. Once these social pressures evaporated and once other more attactive ways of passing the time became available the working classes deserted the churches in droves, never to return. The Bishop is whistling in the wind if he thinks that the provision of a few dvds at the back of the church and provision of support groups for single mothers (aren’t there any of these in his province?) is going to have any effect. His strictures on gay marriage show just how naive he is. It is precisely the lack of awareness of where real people are which alienates so many from the Church. His remarks reinforce the image of the church as a club you can only join if you play by its rules which are designed to exclude everyone who doesn’t think like he does.

  • JCF says:

    …as the moral authority of the CofE drops to ZERO.

    Kyrie eleison! Lord re-form your Church!

  • Martin Reynolds says:

    I am told that this man was once a lawyer, so it seems rather strange that he should be in such a lather about the way the state defines marriage.

    Here, in England and Wales, the State defines where you can marry; when you can marry; how you can marry; who you can marry; when your marriage is over and when it wasn’t a marriage in the first place; it only recognises one marriage at a time and (like the Church) used to make you stick to it!

    But all the same I, like this Ugandan guy, think the role of the state should not be absolute – so not withstanding the table of kindred and affinity and mindful of the protection due to those who can not consent I should be free to follow my heart and make an honest man of my partner of 32 years – I see no role for the State in forbidding it.

  • Laurence Roberts says:

    Equality for blacks alone in a vacuum ! ~Please.

    Sentamu I was born in a ‘2 up 2 down’ with an outside lavatory, in Liverpool 8, where my parents shared with my grandmother.

    That working class enough for you ?

    The C of E has made a poor fist of supporting working people and communities – as well as lgbt folk.

  • The Archbishop appears to be completely innocent of familiarity with sacred and secular history, and the rudiments of political science.

    The notion that the state is dictating to the society represents an ironic example of failing to recognize ones own visage in the glass.

  • BS says:

    In answer to Daniel Walters, current law allows for civil partnerships on religious premises. It is not yet clear whether, under the new proposals, same sex couples will still have the option of civil partnerships.

    If they do, then presumably the “civil partnerships on religious premises” will still be possible. If not, then presumably there will have to be a provision for “civil (same-sex) marriage on religious premises”.

    It’s interesting that +Sentamu appeals to long-standing tradition. These arguments were used against Catholic and Jewish emancipation in the 19th century. And, how should we say this, how many centuries of tradition were overturned when a non-white immigrant was appointed Archbishop of an English Province?

  • Geoff says:

    So at the same time that the government are abolishing the religious-premises ban on civil partnerships, they’re going to *institute* one on same-sex marriages?

  • Tom says:

    I don’t know who listens to Sentamu, Martin, now he is no longer a lawyer, or even if they ever did. It is absurd to try to conflate, as he seems to, the two concepts of Civil Marriage and Holy Matrimony when probably a very large number of people in legally contracted and state-recognised marriages would not have those marriages recognised as Holy Matrimony by the Church. Is he just a slovenly lawyer or does he think it helps his (anti-gay) cause to muddy the waters?

  • american piskie says:

    Can Tom give us an example? The C of E surely recognises all marriages contracted before the registrar, and has no special category “holy matrimony”.

  • Richard Wharton says:

    Having watched the actual video clip of the interview, I am left feeling deeply depressed that such an unintelligent stream of drivel will now stand in the minds of the population at large as being representative of the views of churchgoers in general.

    The archbishop fails to establish any kind of theological basis for his personal prejudices, instead merely making a vague appeal to ‘tradition’. It hardly needs to be pointed out that cultural traditions are in a constant state of evolution, resulting from the widening perspectives of those within them. This is how we came to abolish slavery, despite St. Paul having much to say in favour of it.

    As was pointed out earlier in the thread, the social structures whereby our traditions develop are consistently moving in favour of gay marriage and that is why it is correct for Cameron to move toward enacting it. To suggest that he is acting like a dictator is utterly perverse.

    If the archbishop is not denying the existence of homosexuality as an inherent orientation (as opposed to a ‘lifestyle choice’), wouldn’t he want gay people to approach the formalization of their relationships with the same request for the Church’s blessing as heterosexual couples? Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear………

  • Daniel Berry, NYC says:

    Amazing–amazing that a Christian bishop’s comments can be so uninteresting, un-visionary, uninspiring, un-prophetic, un-insightful, un-useful, in short, unremarkable in any way.

    Perhaps that’s how they justified making him Archbishop of York?

    And I agree with Pat O’Neil’s comment above: strange how he invokes Archbishop Tutu’s “rainbow” image while at the same time trashing one of the most important themes in Tutu’s witness: the place of gay people in the church.

  • Fr Mark says:

    Despite appealing to it, His Grace of York is not much aware of “tradition” in England, I fear: he castigates the Church for not appealing enough to the working class, but then proceeds to insist on precisely the middle class view of “family values” which even the Victorian working class proved surprisingly resistant to.

  • Randal Oulton says:

    “I don’t think it is the role of the state to define what marriage is. It is set in tradition and history and you can’t just [change it] overnight, no matter how powerful you are.”

    Unless, perhaps, you’re the founder of the Anglican Church, King Henry VIII?

    Sentamu’s thinking is like a railway crossing where the lights are flashing and the bells ringing, but there’s nothing coming.

  • Daniel Berry, NYC says:

    If I hadn’t known of the “witness” of other Ugandan bishops before now I’d never have believed that such drivel could come from the mouth of an Anglican prelate. It’s enough to make one wish to repent of “Christianizing” Africa.

  • Leonel says:

    Ban Ki-Moon: Africa Leaders Should Respect Gay Rights

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says African nations should stop treating gays as “second-class citizens, or even criminals”.

    Someone PLEASE tell Sentamu.

  • Leonel says:

    Sentamu made these sad remarks while in Jamaica.

    Jamaica is considered one of the, if not the most homophobia-ridden country in the Caribbean: In Jamaica, it can get you killed being gay.

  • Rod Gillis says:

    “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”

  • Robert ian Williams says:

    This is the same Archbishop of York, who when challenged on the royal cohabitation ( prior to last years royal wedding ) stated he agreed with it..and compared it to milking a cow.

  • Spirit of Vatican II says:

    Don’t these bishops know that in making their sniffy remarks they are touching on a millennial tradition of persecuting and murdering Jews, oops, gays I mean?

  • Laurence Roberts says:

    “I don’t think it is the role of the state to define what marriage is. It is set in tradition and history and you can’t just [change it] overnight, no matter how powerful you are.”

    Unless, perhaps, you’re the founder of the Anglican Church, King Henry VIII?

    ~What Randal Oulton said.

  • Tom says:

    Hello American Piskie, yes I can. Just one example will suffice though there are many more; how about Prince Charles and Camilla who were not allowed by the Archbishop of Cantuar to have a church marriage (Holy Matrimony)? The ABC did grudgingly allow them a “blessing” (what’s that worth?) AFTER the civil marriage conducted in Windsor Registry Office. Presumably the blessing was allowed because they were heterosexual sinners and not homosexual ones?

  • Anthony Keler says:

    I appears to me that many of the problems facing the Church of England stem from the marriage of Church and State. When these two entities are one, there is no impetus to minister to the needs of the people, or become accountable to people in the pews. When a job is guaranteed, and one is ordained to join the insiders, the only thing left is a group of people destined to propagate a hierarchy of stagnation.

  • JCF says:

    Seconding Leonel.

    That Sentamu said this in ***Jamaica*** takes this from inane to inexcusable.

    Archbishop Sentamu, for the sake of the CofE (and by extension in the minds of many, the Anglican Communion): RESIGN.

  • evensongjunkie says:

    “Sentamu’s thinking is like a railway crossing where the lights are flashing and the bells ringing, but there’s nothing coming. “-Randall Oulton.

    Except the train’s already gone, and leaving him in a cloud of ballast dust.

  • “Presumably the blessing was allowed because they were heterosexual sinners and not homosexual ones?” – Tom, on Monday –

    That could be fairly taken to represent the official attitude of the Church of England.
    Would it were less hypocritical. – Although, we must remember, that this concerned the future *Head of the Church of England*. so perhaps necessary.

  • Leonel says:

    I don’t understand why Sentamu is doing this.

    Lynne Featherstone (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Equalities Office): “This consultation will not propose any changes to religious marriage. Same-sex couples will not be able, under these proposals, to have a marriage through a religious ceremony on religious premises.”

    Sentamu must know this.

    He must know about homophobia in Jamaica.

    Article 79 of Jamaica’s Criminal Code: ‘Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or is a party to the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour, and being convicted thereof shall be liable at the discretion of the court to be imprisoned for a term not exceeding two years, with or without hard labour.’

    I mean, it’s not like it’s been done in hiding.

    Sentamu must know how deeply painful it has to be for blessed Desmond to be quoted by anyone who will then turn around and spew such unsensitive, homophobia-friendly, intolerant babble. Sentamu must know, how could he not, that when Desmond speaks of the rainbow people of God, he ALSO and INTENTIONALLY speaks of LGBT people.

    Forget about homophobic or ignorant, this makes Sentamu look intellectually lazy.

  • american piskie says:

    Thanks Tom. There are rules about wedding services, but that’s irrelevant since on the whole the C of E sticks to the classical position that it’s the couple who marry each other, and they are not obliged in any way to do so in a religious service. So C of E surely believes that the Prince and the Duchess are married, and it believes marriage is “holy”. It doesn’t, I think, make distinctions between one sort of marriage and another. (Individual clerical busybodies may try to do so, but what matters is what the law says.)

    After all, that’s why this rearguard action is being mounted. If suddenly people of the same sex can marry, either the C of E has to persist with its current practice, allow parishioners to marry within their parish church etc [my preferred solution, of course]; or else it’s got to construct a whole new understanding a la Roma, no doubt to be called a Code of Practice(!). The latter just won’t wash, of course; happily married couples are not going to sit quietly while the clergy bastardize their children.

  • Gerry Lynch says:

    To be fair to Jamaica, new Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller said during the candidates debate in last month’s general election that discriminating against people on the grounds of their sexual orientation is wrong, that government should provide protection against that, and that she would appoint any suitably qualified gay person to her cabinet. She also promised a review of the existing laws that criminalise homosexuality.

    This did not stop her winning the biggest landslide in Jamaica for decades.

  • Martin Reynolds says:

    american piskie is I believe correct in that the CofE now seems to accept all (monogamous?) marriages as marriages, though there was a time when the marriage of the unbaptised and marriage after divorce were seen …… well shall we say, differently. Since 2004 these marriages no longer require the special permission of the bishop.

    I would suggest it is less clear about the “holy” bit!!

    Is there a difference between civil and religious marriage? The blessing of the Prince of Wales’ marriage would seem to suggest that there is something deficient in the secular ceremony – Is there nothing added by the Blessing of a Civil Marriage? My reading of the associated papers leaves me still asking this question!

    I think the CofE would also look upon de facto marriages as marriages despite not having any recognisable sort of wedding event!

    What I see here is a tradition about Marriage that is moveable, flexible, bending with the changes in society and religious practice. Not an unchanging tradition carved in stone as some archbishops might want to spin it.

    Going back to the “holy” part, there has always been quite a debate about the “sacrament of marriage” or to a lesser degree “sacramentals” …. and I do not intend to rehearse the arguments here, but I would like to ask if the CofE is seeing this as profound reworking of the species involved as it were “pop and crisps” instead of bread and wine – or is this disagreement we see fomenting in the interview with the Archbishop of York of different order, say bread and non alcoholic wine? In the past people have seen these issues as “salvation matters” and I guess some still do today.

    But while american piskie is rightly dismissive of any attempt to create a fairyland world that mirrors the RC view on marriage, I wonder if there is some ground and hope, in the short term at least, by creating some real blue water between Civil Marriage and Holy Matrimony.

    There is some legal stuff we can emphasise. A priest is forbidden by law from celebrating a Civil Marriage and mention of God or prayer is proscribed. (interesting that while the proscriptions against prayer and God remain a Priest MAY become a Civil Partnership Registrar). I think we must do a good job of giving prominence to the differences between these two events and building a public view that Tom already holds and advocates.

    We must speak with authority and insist that people do not conflate Holy Matrimony/The Sacrament of Marriage with Civil Marriage – for what is true is that Government is set on a course that WILL NOT rewrite the preface of the Marriage Service – there Marriage will remain between a man and a woman as long as they so wish.

    Though my guess is that that will come sooner than the present leadership seem to think.

  • JCF says:

    I think that’s another reason the ABY’s remarks were so reprehensible, Gerry. The government of Jamaica is FINALLY taking some steps in the right direction—a direction which may not be easy for the society as a whole—and the ABY’s comments can be seen to undercut those efforts.

  • american piskie says:

    I find much of what Martin Reynolds says temptingly persuasive. But then I try to imagine a world in which there is a difference between Marriage (as defined in the law) and Marriage (as recognised by the C of E). I’m not speaking of the ceremonies, but the “state”. I fear I cannot imagine that world as not including constant judgmental behaviour by the clergy and others, with a vocabulary shading from “not really married” through “essentially adulterers” to “and the children are, I’m afraid, in God’s sight, bastards”. So I’d like to see a continuation of the current situation, that the C of E recognises as valid marriages contracted before the registrar (I’d like to add the other former scottish possibilities of before witnesses, or by habit and repute!) and –with great hope — sees signified in them all the union betwixt Christ and his Church. This may be messy and maybe incoherent, but it seems to me the best course for the C of E, if its primary objective is preaching the gospel rather than defending what is in the big picture a rather local (time and space) view of marriage.

  • Martin Reynolds says:

    I am sorry to be “temptingly persuasive” while remaining ultimately unconvincing! Still, I think american piskie is being more melodramatic than incoherent.

    I am not sure that in any reasonable modern discussion emphasising the differences between civil marriage and marriage in a religious setting necessarily has the responses we read above. in fact I struggle to get there at all.

  • Erika Baker says:

    but what, precisely, is the difference?
    If two people decide to try and spend the rest of their lives together in an exclusive relationship, then that’s a marriage. Whether they affirm that before a registrar or before God in a church.

    I can’t help but fear that the curch only ever asks for a differentiation when it wants to maintain some “equal but different” form of discrimination.

    Where is there a genuine difference between mere marriage and holy matrimony that goes beyond social prejudice?

  • It is hard for the C of E or TEC to define a difference because in both places we clergy act as ministers of church and state — and share a theological view from the Reformation (officially) that downplays the notion of “sacrament.”

    But for RCs, particularly in lands where the Code Napoleon is in force, it is much easier to make the distinction, and to maintain the requirement, for instance, that an RC couple must have a church marriage in order for the church to recognize it as licit. Similarly, the Eastern Orthodox regard the nuptial blessing to be an intrinsic element in a sacramental marriage — I don’t know how they regard civil marriage, but I am sure they don’t regard it as sacramental.

  • Erika Baker says:

    I grew up and got married in Germany where you have to have been married in a registry office before you can have your church wedding.
    It’s not called a blessing, it’s called a wedding. And apart from the signing of the register it’s exactly the same as any British church wedding I’ve ever been to. Most people who opt for church weddings have a small ceremony in the Register office on a Friday and then their “real” wedding with guests in church on the Saturday.

    But I have never heard anyone say that there is a material difference between the two. One is getting married before the law, the other is getting married before God.
    But the marriage is a marriage is a marriage.

    It makes some level of sense when the RC church treats marriage as insoluble and does not allow remarriage after divorce.
    I can see a genuine difference in theology there that differentiates a civil marriage from a religious one.

    But I cannot see any difference for first marriages.

  • Martin Reynolds says:

    I am simply trying to take full advantage of the government decision not to allow religious groups to celebrate same-sex marriages.

    In this case we ministers are proscribed from acting for either church or state – and as I said earlier clergy are forbidden by law from being state marriage registrars.

  • Martin Reynolds says:

    If there is no difference “between mere marriage and holy matrimony” , then why should I seek the legal and canonical faculty to be married in my Church?

  • american piskie says:

    I would not have applied the adjective “mere” to marriage. (I know Martin Reynolds thinks me too alarmist, but using this dismissive word is the start of the slippery slope as far as I am concerned.)

    I would (as one who tries to see all marriage as sacramental) would answer Martin’s last question this way: I would want to celebrate publicly and proclaim what the prayer book sees signified in marriage.

    But it’s not necessary to believe that the wedding service is what makes a marriage signify that.

  • Erika Baker says:

    Because you want to be married in the presence of God supported by your congregation and by prayers. If God is the centre of your life you would not want to take this major step in a purely secular setting.

    But the step itself is the same.

  • Martin Reynolds says:

    I am not convinced by these.

    I would not find these arguments helpful in the struggle………..

  • Erika Baker says:

    I’m not trying to convince you, I’m trying to understand you and in my last 2 posts I have been trying to explain why I don’t.
    For me, there is no difference.
    As there clearly is one for you, and as it is clearly important to you, I would very much like to hear what that difference is.

    One of my posts got lost. I had replied to Tobias’ post about the difference being difficult to define because in both TEC and the CoE clergy act as ministers of church and state.

    I grew up and got married in Germany where you cannot get married in church unless you have already been married in a registry office. It’s not called a blessing, it’s called a marriage.
    There’s the “registry wedding” and the “church wedding”. They are virtually identical, only that the church one contains religious language, includes God and prayers and hymns, and that it contains no legal language and nothing is signed.
    I have never heard anyone make a distinctin between the two forms of marriage. You opt for the church one if your faith wants to you make your promises before God, but they’re the same promises you have made the previous day before the registrar.

    People from other faiths get married according to their religious rites after they have undergone the same registry office service everyone has.

    I have never heard anyone say that these people are somehow differently married than Christians.

    I really do not understand the difference. But I would like to.

  • Erika Baker says:

    I think part of my difficulty is that a marriage is made by the couple and confirmed by the priest. So at what point is the marriage made, at what point does it become sacramental? If the priests only confirms it, then the ceremony is not, strictly speaking, important. And the priest’s words are, essentially, also part of the ceremony, they don’t add anything vital – unless we believe that the priest’s confirmation of the marriage is important in order to make it a marriage… which is not what the theology says.

    So when my wife and I made the same deep promises to each other in a register office that people make in church, we considered ourselves to be just as sacramentally married as anyone who marries in church or anyone who has a registry office wedding and a church blessing afterwards.

    Of course – my understanding of the theology of who and what makes a marriage could be deeply flawed – that’s really what I would love to know.

  • Erika Baker says:

    My posts don’t seem to be getting through recently.

    Martin, I wanted to say that I am not trying to convince you but to understand you.
    I don’t see a difference and in my last posts I have tried to explain why I don’t see a difference.

    You clearly do and it is clearly important to you. I would like to understand what I’m missing.

  • Laurence Roberts says:

    Erica no-one I know of expresses the theology of marriage and true love with greater clarity, felicity and feeling, than yourself.

  • Martin Reynolds says:

    Not wishing to labour this more than we already have, Erica.

    I think, from a purely political point of view your argument is unhelpful.

    You seem to be arguing that they are the same and have the same outcome.

    I would sometimes argue that they are different and have the same result and then I might say they are different and have the same outcome and at least one other variant of this!

    Marriage (these days even Christian Marriage)is very much in the eye of the beholder, whereas for me it signifies the mystical union of Christ ……. you know the rest.

  • Erika Baker says:

    I only just came across this comment. Thank you Martin. That really helps!

    I know the rest…. I wish!

    Yes, I think I can understand the difference. I don’t know whether that difference lies in the heart of the people who enter into the marriage or whether it is found in the church ceremony.

    I would like to think that God can see beyond what people will allow other people and that he can bestow the sacraments accordingly.

    The question remains – can the church do more than withhold the ceremony?

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