Sunday, June 15, 2008

London Telegraph All eyes turn to Rowan Williams after two male priests marry in a lavish ceremony held in historic London Anglican church

BB NOTE: We continue to maintain that this is a political action event timed to follow Gene Robinson's wedding last weekend and to push the Communion into schism (remember this?) as Lambeth approaches next month. It was a wedding - check out the side-by-side analysis of the wedding liturgy here). That the Episcopal (and now Anglican) activists would pull such a public stunt as this inside an historic Anglican church in the Diocese of London no less illustrates a desperation that frankly should cause the orthodox Anglicans to pause.

This is classic
crazymaking - and if you don't know what crazymaking is, learn more about it here and here and here - and here. The classic crazymaking responses can be read here and here, but put your cup of tea down before you read them or watch the twisted interview with the celebrant, especially if you read the liturgy comparison first. Really, put the cup of tea down first.

Make no mistake about it, the point of this wedding is the equivalent of setting off an ecclesiastical bomb, especially just days before GAFCON begins. Perhaps the response from London and Canterbury should keep that fact in mind.


LONDON---The Church of England's first homosexual wedding could not have come at a worse time for the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.

A breakaway group of conservative Anglican archbishops meets this week, threatening to split the worldwide communion over the issue of homosexuality, and the 10‑yearly Lambeth Conference starts next month. The future of the 80 million-strong Anglican Communion hangs by one of Dr Williams's whiskers.

Anglicans in Africa and Asia are infuriated enough with the liberal North American churches, where openly homosexual clergy and church blessings for same-sex couples are now commonplace. But the news that two male priests used a traditional wedding liturgy, involving the exchange of rings and vows, in a Church of England church could push them to the edge.

The marriage calls into question the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury – one of four fundamental points of unity for the worldwide communion – and tears at the very heart of Anglicanism.

Only three years ago, Dr Williams flew to meet the African archbishops to reassure them that the Church's teaching on sexuality would not be compromised by the introduction of the Civil Partnerships Act. The Church issued guidelines allowing clergy to register their relationships on the condition that they assured their bishop that they would abstain from sex. It said homosexual couples should not be given formal services to celebrate their relationship.

The archbishop stressed that priests who broke these rules would be disciplined. However, a number of clergy have since performed so called "blessing services" for homosexual couples. These are significantly different from wedding services: they involve no wedding rite; there is no exchange of vows, no bridesmaids or pageboys. Most are carried out quietly. Despite being controversial, not one has resulted in disciplinary proceedings.

The fact that one vicar has actually conducted a proper wedding service, using such traditional liturgy and furthermore, between two priests, makes the issue impossible to ignore.

Even Gene Robinson, the homosexual cleric whose appointment as a bishop in the United States triggered the current crisis, had a relatively low-key blessing service in comparison with the pageantry of this wedding.

Some may try to argue that the relationship is not legally recognised as a marriage. But there can be no doubt that in every other respect this service constituted a church wedding.

The Rev Martin Dudley, who presided at the service, is understood to have received a plea from the Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, not to offer such a ceremony. His decision to ignore this request leaves the Church's guidelines in tatters and brings the Anglican Communion to the brink of irreversible schism.

The eyes of the Anglican world will now be on Dr Williams.

The archbishop will be expected to act by showing strong leadership. This will test his authority and potentially shape the future of Anglicanism.

While the pro-gay lobby will argue that this wedding is part of being an inclusive Church, the traditionalists claim that homosexual behaviour is a sin and conceding on this would be to undermine the authority of the Bible.

It is set to ignite a battle for the soul of the Church.

UPDATE: The Bishop of London, the Rt. Rev. Richard Chartres has now ordered an investigation by the Archdeacon of London. Read more about it here.


1662 BCP said...

Baby Blue,
I watched the interview with the Rev'd Martin Dudley, who officiated at the ceremony yesterday. I have to say that I am absolutley aghast at the Clintonesque behavior of this man. This is absolutely the same thing that other biretta wearing clergymen did in the nineteenth century. Watch the clip for yourselves and see if I'm not right. The interviewer asks him if he was told not to perform the service to which he replies that the bishop of London instructed him not to "offer" the service and then says that they have no sign at St. Bartholomew's "offering" these services. He then goes on to say that his treasurer asked him to also bless his "union", to which he ascented. I've had it with these smarmy sons of Belial. It's well and fine for us all to wait upon our own bishops to react to this, but in the meantime, for what it is worth, I, along with my congregation, can have no communion with anyone who tolerates or condones such behavior.
Rev'd Richard M. Bruton
Christ Church, Woolmarket
Biloxi, MS

Perpetua said...

Dear Baby Blue,

I completely agree with you that this was a deliberate act of provocation. The timing of the release of the information about this event from May 31st on the eve of GAFCON and one week after the Gene Robinson wedding in the progressive London Telegraph is strategic.

I was interested in your link to the new Zealand Press Release:
"The New Zealand priest involved has felt it appropriate to lay down his clergy license, in the light of Anglican Communion processes and discussions in the area of same gender Blessings and ordination.

Both the bishops to whom the priests were licensed, one in New Zealand and the other in the United Kingdom, were not aware of the ceremony."

How is it that the priest from New Zealand was disciplined immediately but England has to investigate?

Turkeylegs said...

In the Saturday June 14 article on the same topic, you ended with reference to buying gifts at Marks and Sparks (ie, Marks and Spencer).

Whether or not intentional, yes, the sparks will fly.

Pageantmaster said...

I agree with you BB this is orchestrated political action from a church that describes itself as Anglican Episcopal and with heavy TEC links, much as the other dio London church where the Gay Eucharist was held by Rowan Williams also had an Episcocrat on staff.

The liturgy appeared promptly online at Episcopal Cafe either leaked directly or via Mindless Anglicans.

It is carefully orchestrated pro-TEC and possibly TEC organised and supported and its aim is to undermine the CofE and its standing. Our position could not be clearer - no gay weddings - period.

We in the CofE are going to have to decide what our attitude to troublesome TEC and its innovations will be.

Anam Cara said...

At some point, people must realize that the "Anglican Communion" is NOT the safe haven those who have left TEC wish it to be.

I'm wondering how quickly Antioch can set up Western Rite parishes in the US for those who would like to "come home" to Orthodoxy.