Monday, 5 May 2014

In Response to the Church of Ireland's letter re: Equal Marriage

Before the vote in the Assembly the Chrurh of Ireland wrote to all MLAs in an open letter stating:

"The Church of Ireland continues to uphold its teaching that marriage is part of God’s creation and a holy mystery in which one man and one woman become one flesh … The Church of Ireland affirms, according to our Lord's teaching that marriage is in its purpose a union permanent and life–long, for better or worse, till death do them part, of one man with one woman, to the exclusion of all others on either side … The Church of Ireland recognises for itself and of itself, no other understanding of marriage."

Two interesting letters have appears in The Irish Times since challenging the church in this view.

First on 30th April:

Sir, – The Church of Ireland (report, April 29th) in its official response to Sinn Féin's motion in the Stormont Assembly in favour of same sex marriage has affirmed "that marriage is in its purpose a union permanent and life-long ... of one man with one woman, to the exclusion of all others on either side ...The Church of Ireland recognises ... no other understanding of marriage."
Just over a year ago an electoral college of the same church elected to the see of Meath a cleric in that diocese who had remarried after his first marriage ended in divorce. His election was subsequently ratified by the House of Bishops. He was obliged to withdraw from the position days before his consecration was due to take place when (as newspapers reported widely at the time) disclosures were made regarding his conduct as rector of a parish in Northern Ireland.  
The Church of Ireland  believes that it is appropriate for a divorced and remarried man to be a candidate for the office of bishop; other divorced and remarried men still act as clergy in the church. The remarriage in church of divorcees is no longer uncommon. In that case why does the church continue to affirm its commitment in principle to a theology of marriage which it cannot be bothered to honour in practice? 
Yours, etc,
Ulidia House,
Belfast BT12 5JN
Then on 3rd May:

Sir, – In opposition to the recent Sinn Féin motion in the Northern Assembly proposing the introduction of same sex marriage in the North the Church of Ireland has reaffirmed its position that marriage is "the permanent and lifelong union of one man with one woman". How can this position be reconciled with the practice of marrying divorced persons in church whilst the previous spouse is still living? 
Yours, etc,
Blarney Street,
So you have to wonder just how  permanent and lifelong the mixed-sex marriages that the Church of Ireland carries out are, if one or both partners can latter be married to someone else? Also how is a same-sex couple seeking to enter into a life long commitment to the exclusion of all others being judged to be not as permanent or lifelong as some of those marriages?

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