THE Bishop of Wangaratta, in regional Victoria, Australia, the Rt Revd John Parkes, has agreed to the Australian Primate’s request that he should not proceed with the service for the blessing of same-sex marriages recently authorised by Wangaratta Synod (News, 6 September). He has said that he will “delay” using the service while its validity is examined by the Anglican Church’s Appellate Tribunal, at the Primate’s request.
The service was to be used tomorrow to bless the civil marriage of two retired priests of the diocese who have been in a same-sex partnership for the past 20 years. It is understood that a modified service of morning prayer will be used instead.
Bishop Parkes is quoted as saying that it would have been “rude” to ignore the Primate’s request. He said, however, that the diocese would be “actively involved” in presenting its views to the tribunal. “I can’t for the life of me believe that we won’t be able to bless people,” he said, “but, if not, some of us will have to consider our position very carefully.”