*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***

Australian Bishops differ over blessing of same-sex marriages

27 November 2020

iStock

THE Australian House of Bishops has acknowledged “with pain” that it is unable to agree on the blessing of same-sex marriages.

In a statement released from a meeting held to discuss the Appellate Tribunals ruling that cleared the way for blessing same-sex marriages (News, 13 November), the Bishops said that they recognised that “there is not a common mind on these issues within the House of Bishops.”

They have refrained from calling for a moratorium on use of the blessing liturgies that were approved by the dioceses of Wangaratta (News, 6 September 2019) and Newcastle (News, 8 November 2019) last year and were referred to the Tribunal to test their constitutionality. It had been expected that the Bishops would ask for no action until the meeting of the General Synod scheduled for next May-June.

Instead, they have urged clergy “to manifest the fruit of the Spirit in considering whether or how to bless those married according to the Marriage Act 1961”. (The Australian Government amended the Marriage Act in 2017 to provide for same-sex marriages.)

The Bishops continued: “We recognise these are issues that affect people profoundly. Consequently, there will be a variety of deeply felt and sincerely held responses to the Appellate Tribunal Opinions. Members of the House of Bishops have variously received requests to restrain clergy from exercising this ministry and, on the other hand, to welcome the opportunity for this ministry. There is not a common voice.”

Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Glenn Davies, has written to his clergy saying that, in his opinion, “the effect of the [Tribunal] majority opinion’s legal interpretation undermines the clear teaching of Scripture and thereby dishonours God”.

He continued: “This is a crisis for our National Church”; and congregations “may be disturbed as to how a judicial panel could arrive at such conclusions, yet the teaching of Scripture has not changed.”

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events

Green Church Awards

Awards Ceremony: 6 September 2024

Read more details about the awards

 

Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

tickets available

 

Inspiration: The Influences That Have Shaped My Life

September - November 2024

St Martin in the Fields Autumn Lecture Series 2024

tickets available

 

SAVE THE DATE

Festival of Faith and Literature

28 February - 2 March 2025

The festival programme is soon to be announced sign up to our newsletter to stay informed about all festival news.

Festival website

 

Visit our Events page for upcoming and past events 

Welcome to the Church Times

 

To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)