Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
What happens when you sit on a three legged stool with only two legs?
Out of the UK comes news that at a meeting of the Anglican House of Bishops in May, they voted for the first time to allow divorced bishops.
The only question I have is, what took them so long? What I mean to say is that in a ‘church’ that has formally abandoned the indissolubility of marriage (a point on which Jesus was fairly unambiguous), that this day was surely to come.
The Anglican traditionalists are shocked and disappointed. For my part, I am shocked and disappointed that there are still traditionalists adhering to the Anglican Communion.
For those not fond of slippery slope arguments, let’s recap shall we? Comments mine.
RECENT CHURCH OF ENGLAND STATEMENTS
1957 Act of Convocation- “…in order to maintain the principle of lifelong obligation which is inherent in every legally contracted marriage and is expressed in the plainest terms in the Marriage Service, the Church should not allow the use of that Service in the case of anyone who has a former partner still living”. [So at least in 1957 Anglicans still cared what Jesus had to say.]
This 1957 statement was rescinded in Nov 2002 by a vote in all three Houses of the General Synod (27-1(B); 143-44(C); 138-65(L)).
1981 General Synod motion, “That this Synod (a) believes that marriage should always be undertaken as a lifelong commitment; (b) considers that there are circumstances in which a divorced person may be married in church during the lifetime of a former spouse…”. [Uh oh! They just caveated Jesus! 1981 was a bad year in the UK, Paul McCartney and Wings broke up and marriage died.]
2002 General Synod motion, “That this Synod (a) affirm, in accordance with the doctrine of the Church of England as set out in Canon B30, that marriage should always be undertaken as a “solemn, public and life-long covenant between a man and a woman”; (b) recognise (i) that some marriages regrettably do fail and that the Church’s care for couples in that situation should be of paramount importance; and (ii) that there are exceptional circumstances in which a divorced person may be married in church during the lifetime of a former spouse; (c) recognise that the decision as to whether or not to solemnise such a marriage in church after divorce rests with the minister (or officiating cleric if the minister is prepared to allow his/her church or chapel to be used for this marriage); and (d) invite the House of Bishops to issue the advice contained in Annex 1 of GS 1449.” [And by 2002, anything goes! Just find yourself a sympathetic Anglican priest (Are there any other kind? ) and you are good to get your Liz Taylor on!]
So there you have it. In 1981 the Anglicans opened the door and by 2010 the slope has become so slippery that now Bishops are sliding.
So I ask my Anglican friends to do us all a favor and to cut to the chase and approve divorced and re-married lesbian Bishops. C’mon, you know you want to. Just do it now so all the so called traditionalists in the Anglican Church can either swim the Tiber or admit that they aren’t really ‘traditionalists’ after all.
My advice is that they take the Pope up on his offer pronto because after all, what do you buy as a wedding gift for a lesbian bishop on her second marriage? They are just so impossible to shop for.