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Doubts over motion to change Canada's marriage canon

11 March 2016

ANDRÉ FORGET

Unity concerns: Archbishop Fred Hiltz

Unity concerns: Archbishop Fred Hiltz

A MOTION to change the Anglican Church of Canada’s marriage canon to allow for same-sex marriage is “not likely” to be carried in the Order of Bishops, the House of Bishops has warned.

The motion, due to be presented to the Canadian General Synod in July, requires a two-thirds majority in each order. The warning, issued to the Council of the General Synod last month, said that some bishops were “mortified and devastated by this realisation”.

“We have been conscious that the presence of this motion has brought distress to some, and we acknowledge the deep pain that our statement will cause both within and beyond the Church,” they wrote. “And we are all saddened that we do not seem capable of unity on this issue.”

The statement said that the bishops “continue to wonder whether a legislative procedure is the most helpful way of dealing with these matters”.

The Primate of Canada, the Most Revd Fred Hiltz, said this month that the bishops were split three-ways on the matter (News, 4 March).

“We’ve got about a third of the bishops that would clearly love to see us move, and we’ve got a third that would say no . . . and I think we’ve got a third that are really wrestling,” he told the Anglican Journal.

Unity was a concern, he said. “As bishops, we are all charged, notwithstanding our own personal view on anything. . . We all make a vow to guard the faith and unity of the Church.”

The Primate has also denied that it was the Church’s three indigenous bishops who were largely responsible for the opposition to changing the canon.

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