House of Bishops seeks compromise

Anglicans may have a better idea of what sort of amendment, if any, is likely to be proposed to a resolution on same-sex marriage in less than two weeks, says Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.

NOTE: After the conclusion of the recent meeting of CoGS, there was no mention of any amendment having been proposed.

“Whether or not we have any kind of an amendment will be one of the things that the Council of General Synod will have to wrestle with in their November meeting and in their March meeting next year,” Hiltz told the Anglican Journal last week, after a meeting of the House of Bishops in Charlottetown, P.E.I., October 25-30.

Council of General Synod (CoGS), the executive body of General Synod, is slated to hold its fall meeting November 23-25.

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A resolution to amend the marriage canon to allow same-sex marriages was approved at General Synod 2016, and will need to pass a required second reading at General Synod’s next meeting in July 2019 in order to become church law. In the meantime, the House of Bishops has been discussing the idea of an amendment to the amendment—adding wording to the resolution that would include protections for Anglicans holding a traditional view of marriage.

Some traditionalists say they fear that the resolution, if passed, would make them outsiders within the Anglican Church of Canada or the Anglican Communion; others are concerned that refusing to perform same-sex marriages would expose them to human-rights complaints or disciplinary measures by the church.

The idea of amending the amendment has some strong support among the bishops, Hiltz said.

“I would say there’s…a deep yearning within the House that…we get to General Synod with maybe some kind of amendment to the amendment that actually speaks to the reality that there are a variety of views of marriage in our church—an amendment that could possibly get worded…to reflect the fact that people of a conservative view of marriage would feel absolutely free to continue to aspire to that view—teach it, uphold it and practice it. And that liberals would understand that,” he said. “And then on the other side of the coin, that liberals would have the blessing of the church to proceed with same-gender marriages with an assurance that people of a conservative view understand that and respect it. And that neither is imposing their view on the other,” Hiltz said.

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