Anglican Church of Canada Tables Same-Sex Blessing Proposal

The controversial proposal authorising the Anglican Church of Canada dioceses to provide “blessing ceremonies” for same-sex couples in the church was tabled just hours before a vote on the issue was due at the national church meeting on Wednesday, June 02, 2004.

The cautious move followed several warnings from the worldwide body of 77-million Anglicans – a denomination severely split on the topic of homosexuality.

While some say liberals may try to restore the original proposal to allow “local” regions to vote individually on the issue, it is highly unlikely that any decision would be made before 2007 when the next assembly will take place.

Many are considering this revised proposal, which calls for a two-year study of whether same-sex rituals are “a matter of doctrine.” The study would be similar in essence to the London-based commission that had been studying about “human sexuality” in the church since 2003, when a gay man was ordained as bishop to one of the U.S. dioceses.

Following the ordination, some 38 worldwide groups under the Anglican Communion severed ties to the U.S. branch – the Episcopal Church USA.

Just last week, the head of the Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, expressed fears that the body may easily split over the decisive issue.

Also, just two days ago, the Anglican Church of Canada voted for a liberal leader as the head of its denomination two days ago. Montreal Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, who will be seated officially on Friday, had been one of five Canadian archbishops to sign a letter last year opposing an international ban on same-sex “marriage” blessings.

While Hutchison had clearly stated that he would not favor gay marriages in the church, he urged for the gay and lesbian Anglicans to continue fighting until they are fully included in the denomination.

Meanwhile, even if the revised proposal favoring same-sex marriage formally passes on 2007, it would not be until 2010 when gay “marriage” blessings would come about.

Pauline J. Chang
Ecumenical Press