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Archbishop of Brisbane defends bishops’ stand on same-sex marriage

10 June 2022

Anglican Church Southern Queensland

The Archbishop of Brisbane, Dr Phillip Aspinall

The Archbishop of Brisbane, Dr Phillip Aspinall

THE Archbishop of Brisbane and a former Australian Primate, Dr Phillip Aspinall, in an ad clerum to his diocese, has defended the 12 diocesan bishops who, at the recent General Synod meeting (News, 13 May), did not support Sydney diocese’s motion against same-sex marriage.

Although passed in the Houses of Clergy and Laity, the motion failed in the House of Bishops. It was “incorrect and unsustainable” to claim that the Bishops were “unwilling to uphold the Church’s traditional teaching on marriage, and even that they had abandoned that teaching”, Dr Aspinall said.

Referring to the 2020 decision of the Australian Church’s Appellate Tribunal, that same-sex marriage blessings were constitutional, he said that it was likely that some bishops thought the Sydney motion appeared “to be tantamount to contradicting the authoritative determination” of the tribunal.

It was likely that a significant number of bishops would have been “deeply troubled” by the prospect of disrespecting the tribunal’s constitutional authority. There were also concerns that the motion “would be singularly unhelpful to the Church’s mission and pastoral endeavours in Australian society”.

Commenting on a failed motion that sought to declare same-sex marriage a moral good, he said that the motion was “quite remarkable, and an initiative that would have been unthinkable even 20 years ago”. Its support by 40 per cent of the General Synod showed “how much and how quickly the ground has shifted both in wider society and in the Church”.

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