Thinking Anglicans

More about the Canadian marriage canon

Continuing the story from here.

Alan Perry who is Executive Archdeacon in the Diocese of Edmonton, has written this blog article: Marriage Canon Redux.

And he also wrote another article, a few days earlier: Read the Memo: The Living Church and the Chancellor’s memo on marriage.

These articles seek to explain very precisely what the legal situation in the Canadian church remains.

The Chancellor’s original 2016 memorandum is available here.

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Rod GillisTim ChestertonJohn BunyanRod Gillisdr.primrose Recent comment authors
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Tim Chesterton
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Note that Ajit John (who is also a canon lawyer) takes a different view from Alan. https://livingchurch.org/covenant/2019/07/08/the-scope-of-the-marriage-canon-against-the-chancellors-memo/

Kate
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Kate

The Pharisees were greatly concerned with obeying written law.

Jesus, John the Baptist, the Disciples even St Paul, pretty much ignored written law – secular and spiritual – and concentrated on their ministry. I wonder how they would regard these modern attempts to circumscribe ministry through Canon law? If we really do want to get back to Scripture then Canon law and all its prosecriptions and prescriptions needs to go to.

Russell Dewhurst
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Russell Dewhurst

Without law you have autocratic, unaccountable rule by the powerful. Favouritism; no consistency; no avenue for voices to be heard or claims to be made; no remedy for injustice. As the book of Exodus makes clear the story of law is at the same time the story of freedom.

John Wallace
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John Wallace

I agree with Russell. Judges 21:25 sums it up for me: ‘In those days there was no king [i.e. a legal framework] in Israel; all the people did what was right in their own eyes. A recipe for selfish chaos

John Bunyan
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John Bunyan

Jesus certainly did not ignore the Law (Torah), John the Baptist had very strict ideas about moral issues, and generalisations about the Pharisees are unfortunate. The late Geza Vermes, great Jewish Jesus scholar, tells Christians a good deal about 1st century Judaism of which most Christians are still unaware.

Leslie Buck, Vancouver
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Leslie Buck, Vancouver

All three houses voted by majority to pass the motion to amend the marriage canon. The majority in one of the houses was not quite sufficient to meet the rules of order and the motion failed. But the debate clearly showed that Canadian Anglicans are overwhelming in favour of permitting their priests to officiate at marriages of same-sex couples, and that will no doubt happen. Archbishop Melissa Skelton of New Westminster (the venue of the General Synod) has written that she will permit this in those parishes of her diocese who request such permission, and my parish, St Paul’s Vancouver,… Read more »

Susannah Clark
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Susannah Clark

Here in the UK, Church of England priests are marrying gay and lesbian couples, notwithstanding what the official status quo decrees. It’s going on. Sure, the couples need to obtain a piece of paper to confirm it, but the marriages are taking place in the presence of God and God’s people.

Grace speaks to conscience, and sometimes conscience has its way with law.

Jesus and the Sabbath comes to mind.

Whole communities here in England believe in deep conscience and fidelity that equal marriage is just and lovely and pure.

It must be the same with community after community in Canada too.

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Excellent expert articles by Alan Perry. The ruling by Canadian synod chancellor David Jones Q.C., that the current canon does not prohibit same sex marriage, is well known and is now being widely acted upon. However, I was interested to learn that apparently even conservative bishops cannot on a canonical basis prohibit their clergy from performing same sex marriages. “By not adopting the motion due to the vagaries of our procedure, we have also not adopted that ability to say ‘no’ locally.” (Perry in Redux above). Looks like the conservative group in an attempt to be legally parsimonious may have… Read more »

dr.primrose
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dr.primrose

“Jesus certainly did not ignore the Law (Torah) …. The late Geza Vermes, great Jewish Jesus scholar, tells Christians a good deal about 1st century Judaism of which most Christians are still unaware.” Another Jewish scholar of the New Testament that I’ve found helpful is Amy-Jill Levine, an Orthodox Jew who a professor of New Testament at Vanderbilt. Her books are very accessible to literate laypeople. I certainly don’t agree with everything she says. But she greatly admires Jesus as a rabbinic teacher and has much to say about the Old Testament background of what Jesus said and did. I… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Great comment. Jewish scholars have taught/have a lot to teach Christians about both Jesus and the NT. The problem is, it assumes an ability for rational discourse and a willingness to look at evidence. When one is dealing with fundamentalists, including fundamentalist Canadian bishops whose starting point is that that Jesus Christ “is God Almighty”, there is no possibility for such discussion. I’m not even sure that Christians like me who accept the doctrine of the Trinity could find a basis for conversation there.

John Bunyan
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John Bunyan

I wonder if using the term “fundamentalist” is very helpful in our discussions, and I doubt that the starting point for conservative Canadian bishops is a belief that Jesus Christ is “God Almighty” : that is not even the orthodox conciliar teaching ! I doubt if the bishops of the Diocese of the Arctic (remaining within the Canadian Church, but now walking separately), and their mostly Inuit people are all fundamentalists. As a very old Australian Episcopalian priest, theologically a liberal, I for one share their view regarding the nature of Christian marriage and I am far from being fundamentalist… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

“I doubt that the starting point for conservative Canadian bishops is a belief that Jesus Christ is ‘God Almighty’ ”. Actually, it is. “To all the people of the diocese of the Arctic, Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ who is God Almighty.” (see link). The conservatives who oppose SSM in Canada all adhere to a notion of biblical inspiration that is consistent with fundamentalism in its originating historical sense. Fundamentalists they are, and so, as matter of analysis, they may be described.

https://anglicanplanet.net/statement-from-the-arctic-house-of-bishops/

Tim Chesterton
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Rod, I don’t think its correct to say that (for instance) Greg Kerr-Wilson or Stephen Andrews hold a fundamentalist view of scripture. More to the point, I opposed SSM until very recently and I can state categorically that my view of scripture has been far from fundamentalist for decades. (It’s actually summed up quite well in these quotes from C.S. Lewis: https://tachesterton.wordpress.com/2014/04/01/c-s-lewis-on-the-bible-2/). I don’t deny that some of the people you’re talking about approach the Bible in the way you describe, but it’s highly inaccurate to say that they ‘all’ do so.

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Tim, various sexual orientations occur randomly as a natural phenomena. Anyone, I mean anyone, arguing that homosexuality has been ‘revealed’ by a deity as ‘unnatural’ and a ‘wrong choice’, or that binary heterosexual ‘complementary’ is legislated by a deity, is arguing against empirical fact on the basis of unfalsifiable religious claims. Such arguments mirror classic fundamentalist method reminiscent of the evolution debate. I love the wonderful creative stories C.S. Lewis wrote. However, his comments via the link you provided are examples of conservative ‘smoothing’–no longer philosophically viable.

Tim Chesterton
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Rod, whether or not you think C.S. Lewis’ view of scripture is philosophically viable – and I suspect there are a good many Christian philosophers who would disagree with you on that – I think it’s fairly clear from his writings that he was not an adherent of fundamentalism in (to quote you) ‘its originating historical sense’ (i.e. consistent with the views taught in ‘The Fundamentals’ in the early part of the 20th century). And if this is true, then those whose view of scripture is similar to his can’t be described as having a fundamentalist view of scripture either.… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Tim, I’m well aware of the populist expansion of the term ‘fundamentalism’. Notwithstanding, I’m confident in my analysis about the use of classic fundamentalist method by conservatives in the debate over human sexuality. If you have a point specific to my argument, I’d be pleased to have it. The ‘is’ is implicit in the ‘ought’. The fundamentalist-conservative argument about what we ought to do about sexuality contains an implicit mistaken ‘isness’ based on unfalsifiable claims that are at odds with empirical data on natural occurrence. Funny you should mention ‘false witness against a neighbor’. Is that not what fundamentalist-conservative arguments… Read more »