Episcopalians Review a New Rite for Gay Unions

Remember, if you cannot handle these things, there is safe refuge in the Chair of St Peter or Traditional Anglican Communion.

The Boston Globe:

Episcopal Bishops Thomas Shaw (left) and Gene Robinson marched in this year’s gay pride parade in Boston

Episcopalians, gathering this week in Indianapolis for their triennial General Convention, are expected to overwhelmingly approve trial use of a new liturgy for blessing same-sex unions…

In 2009, the Episcopal Church lifted a temporary ban on blessing gay unions and said bishops may provide “generous pastoral response” to gay couples, especially in states that allow civil unions or gay marriages.

Many Episcopal bishops now permit the blessing of same-sex relationships, and some in states where gay marriage is legal — including ­Bishop M. Thomas Shaw of the Diocese of Massachusetts, which runs roughly east of Inter­state 495 — let priests ­officiate at the marriage of same-sex couples.

But because the Episcopal Church canons and the Book of Common Prayer describe marriage as between a man and woman, some bishops have not embraced same-sex blessings or weddings. Bishop Gordon Paul Scruton of the ­Diocese of Western Massachusetts, does not allow priests to do either.

Scruton, who is retiring Dec. 1, and Bishop-elect Douglas John Fisher said through a spokeswoman Thursday that they planned to issue a joint statement following the General Convention vote. They did not indicate what it might say, and they declined a request for an interview beforehand.

At the last diocesan convention in October 2011, Scruton said the diocese would move toward allowing the blessing of same-sex unions if the ­General Convention adopted the new liturgy this summer, said Steve Symes, diocesan ­coordinator of Integrity USA, a group within the church working for the full inclusion of gay people.

Even if it does not happen before Scruton retires, change seems likely to occur under Fisher. During a meet-and-greet where candidates for bishop met voting delegates, Fisher indicated he would look to the people of the diocese for guidance on the issue, Symes said. At last October’s diocesan convention, delegates voted overwhelmingly for a resolution to begin blessing gay unions, Symes said.

“I almost think it’s a slam-dunk — I think it will happen,” he said.

In a phone interview from Indianapolis, Shaw said the proposed new liturgy may not be used often in the eastern portion of the state, where priests have been allowed to craft their own services in conducting gay marriages for several years.

The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, which wrote the new rite, has “done a good job,” Shaw said. “It’s just for Eastern Massachusetts, it’s about five years too late”…

Shaw said that at a recent meeting of bishops he was surprised to learn that even in dioceses in traditionally conservative parts of the country, such as Houston, preparations are being made to offer the new liturgy in some parishes…

 

19 thoughts on “Episcopalians Review a New Rite for Gay Unions

  1. In reality there are many homosexuals in the RCC, even in the priesthood, perhaps some at least.. are not practicing their sexual bent? as the RCC does stand up against, and still calls it a sin! And the Chair of Peter, nor Traditional Anglicanism is not our “safe refuge”, but only God In Christ! The true Church points us to the proper Law & Gospel (Grace) in Christ!

    We must note that the “Church” or Assembly (Ekklesia, Gk.) is both the whole company of the redeemed in this present time, the company of which Christ said, “I will build my church” Matt. 16: 18, and which is also and further called or described as “the Church which is His Body” (Eph. 1:22). Both a single “congregation”, as the “Israel” of old, gathered and regarded as representative of the whole nation, (Septuagint..LXX); and in the plural, with reference to churches in a district. In 1 Tim. 3:15, it is used of the local church, which represents the whole, and is called a support or “stay” and foundation of the truth. We should note, 1 Peter 2: 4-8, here as in verse 4 and with verse 5, we can see that Christ is the “A Living Stone”, by men rejected, but “with God Chosen.” And “Yourselves also as living stones”!

    • Doctrine Fr. Sound doctrine. A place where heresy is not taught. Where sin is not passed off as evil. A safe theological home. Where the truth is taught and explained. A place that points to God in Christ Fr! Come on Fr… You clearly think poorly of me.

      • No Fr. Stephen, not “you”, but a “church” that has allowed sexual sin, and among the so-called “priesthood”! And who has moved or shoveled around those who have committed such sexual sins! And then when caught here, simply pays off those who have been plundered & ravaged, both physically and pastorally! Again, this is the great sin of the so-called modern Roman Catholic Church! When is the RCC going to own up here? THIS is the real elephant in the room! The real point here, is that the whole idea of celibacy in the Roman priesthood simply just cannot be mandated! And note, I am not on some hobby-horse here, but I hear and counsel a few of those that have been hurt deeply here by the RCC, and simply bad priests. There is just no excuse here! And so, it is hard to still see this “elephant” up and still walking around! Sorry, but when we try to put this “face” up of some near perfect papal church, it just won’t fly! The Church is itself, a sinful and pilgrim body!

      • “Despite headlines focusing on the priest pedophile problem in the Roman Catholic Church, most American churches being hit with child sexual-abuse allegations are Protestant.”
        Make a guess where this quote comes from.
        NCR? EWTN? Osservatore Romano?
        Wrong. Generally anti-Catholic biased Christian Science Monitor. “Sex Abuse Spans Spectrum of Churches”, a very thorough study of the data for the US, which showed that in the worst period the pedophilia incidence rate was 0.2–1.7% in the Catholic Church and 2–3% in Protestant communities.

        The Church has never called sexual sin good and never allowed it – that’s the difference. Even if some homosexual priests fell in their vocation (80% of pedophilia cases in the Catholic Church were of homosexual sort; the rest almost exclusively involved post-adolescent girls). So, referring to celibacy in this context finds no confirmation in the hard evidence. The Church had a problem with lenient attitude toward homosexual candidates for priesthood rather than celibacy.

      • CC: You can kid yourself, but not me…I have just seen too much sadly, and ROME is guilty here! I remember when I was a Benedictine for a few years in my 20’s (I’m 62 now), and we were sent “priests” who had fallen sexually. They might be around for a month or so, then it was off to a new parish. Sad but true! And yeah this was in the 70’s.

      • You do God’s work by counseling those who suffer at the hands of those who don’t know what they’re really doing or those just as broken as those they harmed.

        But it is blasphemy to call the Mystical Body of Christ as “sinful” and sure enough, those who call it as such work to make it as such, like certain liberal, modernist theologians.

        Call me or the pope any names you wish, and if you find any trouble, you can always go to atheists’ blogs for some help. But never insult the Church, because I believe in in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, the Church that Jesus Christ established, separating itself from Muhammad’s religion, from Martin Luther’s religion, from King Henry’s religion, from Joseph Smith’s religion. from L. Ron Hubbard’s religion, and from ALL other religions.

        The Church is Fully Divine and Fully Human, as Christ is. Some more human than others. They forget that though they be on the earth, they are not of it. You ever wonder why there are only so few bishops and clergy that are declared saints? Because the human nature of the earthly Church is present. To say that all there is to the Church is the human is blasphemy, because it states that those in Heaven are not a member of the Church as much as the sinful, earthly Church is a member, and that the Holy Spirit is not present, and to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit is unforgivable.

        Granted, the pope is not perfect, but who ever said he is in ALL things, and that includes managing bureaucracies and administrative offices? Respect the title, not the man. And if you really don’t like this particular pope, maybe we should dig up Roderigo Borgia and put the papal tiara on him and parade him around just to make everyone uncomfortable. It’s been done before with Pope Formosus.

      • “Ioannes”: You insult those who have been bruised and broken at the hands of the just bad and sinful priests? Very sad indeed! And you can ask our blog host here, I am certainly no liberal! But, we just cannot bury our heads in the sand, or look the other way with such sin and problems in the visible church! And how can the Church be both a true pilgrim body (human & sinful), and yet be “Infallible”, at least at the papal level? It simply cannot, at least to my mind! YOU want to believe this teaching? Have at it! But, again this is just not believable, in a world/culture and even church, that is daily pressed by postmodernity and even sin itself!

        I actually like and respect some in and who serve the RCC, but I will never violate my own heart, mind and conscience, especially when I see “evil”! And btw, I must first see the “evil” of my own heart!

      • 1. As for pedophile scandals, you simply turn blind eye to hard evidence from non-Catholic sources. In the US, a child was at the highest risk of abuse by a close or distant relative, family friend, sports coach, teacher, protestant minister, Jewish rabbi and Catholic celibate priest (exactly in that order; cf. data from the famous report by the US Department of Education).
        2. Handling of offenders used to look pretty much the same in different institutions, be it schools or religious bodies. In the 70s it was actually believed that in the Christian spirit offenders should be given another chance after a period of penance and retreat. Only nowadays we now that it is psychologically unlikely, particularly in case of homosexuals.
        3. You seem to confuse two different domains, that of sound teaching and that of individual sinfulness. Our Lord decided to use such sinful people like Peter to spread the Gospel. It has been like this ever since. Regardless of the number of sinner-priests the Church has never pronounced child abuse a good thing – quite the contrary, as the canonisation of Maria Goretti (whose feast falls today) clearly shows.
        4. Contrary to what you kind of obsessively keep repeating (as if to reassure your own beliefs), the concept of infallible preservation and presentation of the deposit of faith is quite sound and consistent, unlike almost any other alternative, which leads straight to relativism.

      • Your the one with ‘apples and oranges’ mate! I am an old biblicist, that means I believe and stand on the Holy Scripture, and as a classic Anglican.. its the Thirty-Nine Articles, with too the old Irish Articles 1615. And yeah I am an Augustinian also, from both the Reformational and Reformed positions, that’s a Calvinist! No “relativism” here! 😉

        And my “obsession” surely would be the Doctrine of God!

      • “Genuine understanding of Luther cannot be achieved without serious engagment.” (Walther von Loewenich, 1982)

        This really goes at all levels historical and theological, and using even philosophy therein as a tool. I am speaking beyond Luther of course!

  2. Golly. But what do you really mean for those us uneducated masses who ain’t got a clue what you are talking about. Thanks in anticipation of some really strait forward simple teaching – you know the sort of thing our Lord did

    • Joseph: “Uneducated masses”? I might be just an old theolog, myself, but there can be no excuse for the so-called laity, to sit in biblical ignorance! This just won’t fly either. When we stand before the Lord, we won’t have human priest or pastor, save that of Christ..the God-Man, and before HIS Bema-seat we shall all stand, in conscience & covenant, and give an account! (Heb. 9: 26-27-28)

      • But it’s your interpretation which needs explanation. Many don’t recognise the Bible you refer to!

      • Well, certainly many on this blog! Note, our blog host and brother Fr. Smuts, used to be an Anglican Calvinist! I am reminding him….😉 (And he is a good friend and brother ‘In Christ’! 🙂
        And btw, Joseph.. ya might want to read those Anglican Thirty-Nine Articles? I hope there you could see what I believe!

      • Sola Scriptura, which I think is what Biblicism or borderline Bibliolatry calls itself, isn’t in the Bible, and neither is the word “Bible” in the Bible, so if we can accept that the “Bible” isn’t in the Bible, but is apparently true in its existence and nature, so can we accept that Sola Scriptura, though not in the BIble, is true. But then so do a lot of things that exist outside the Bible. And that’s dangerous to the faith.

        “Of the beliefs and practices whether generally accepted or enjoined which are preserved in the Church, some we possess derived from written teaching; others we have delivered to us in a mystery by the apostles by the tradition of the apostles; and both of these in relation to true religion have the same force” (Saint Basil “On
        the Holy Spirit”, 27).

        “In answer to the objection that the doxology in the form with the Spirit’ has no written authority, we maintain that if there is not another instance of that which is unwritten, then this must not be received [as authoritative]. But if the great number of our mysteries are admitted into our constitution without [the] written authority [of Scripture], then, in company with many others, let us receive this one. For I hold it apostolic to abide by the unwritten traditions. ‘I praise you,’ it is said [by Paul in l Cor. 11:1] that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I handed them on to you,’ and Hold fast to the traditions that you were taught whether by an oral statement or by a letter of ours’ [2 Thess. 2:15]. One of these traditions is the practice which is now before us [under consideration], which they who ordained from the beginning, rooted firmly in the churches, delivering it to their successors, and its use through long custom advances pace by pace with time” (Saint Basil “On the Holy Spirit”, 71).

        Now, excuse me. My layman brain is fried from all this Patristics.

      • “Anglican Evangelical”, that at least includes the Calvinism of a Newton and a Whitefield! 😉 And btw, the Letters of John Newton, now there is some pastoral advice!

        Btw, I think one of the great problems here, is that I at least understand “theologically” the positions of my Roman Catholic brethren, I would say again by degree. But, few really understand “my positions”! Save somewhat Fr. Smuts perhaps? I mean how can the Church Catholic not include Luther, and even Calvin? It simply cannot! Funny how both of these great Reformers are still being read after over 500 years!

        Keep at it “Ioannes”, you’ll break thru into classic theology yet! But then you will have to acknowledge the Body of Christ Mystical, more fully and larger! 😉

        *And note Ioannes, I have read, and still read my share of the patristics and Fathers. And yeah, Augustine is still my first love, but too I love to read Tertullian! And also my share of the Eastern Fathers.

      • I wonder if there are any brave hearts out there, who would read Luther? I mean, like Walther von Loewenich’s bio: Martin Luther: The Man and His Work, or too Regin Prenter’s classic book: Spiritus Creator. Luther’s concept of the Holy Spirit, (the latter is still in print with WIPF and Stock). Yep, I have both – and I have read both, and still read and refer to them (besides others).

        Any takers? 😉

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