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Irish synod asked to affirm traditional marriage: The Church of England Newspaper, May 13, 2012 p 6 May 17, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Ireland.
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Two senior bishops have asked the Church of Ireland to reaffirm the church’s traditional teachings on marriage, human sexuality and clergy continence.

Motion 8 entitled “Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief” will be brought before the 10 May 2012 session of General Synod meeting in Dublin. The three part motion submitted by the Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Rev. Michael Jackson, and the Bishop of Down and Dromore, the Rt. Rev. Harold Miller asks Synod to affirm that there is “no other understanding of marriage” than that found in Canon 31.

“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, for the procreation and nurture of children, for the hallowing and right direction of the natural instincts and affections, and for the mutual society, help and comfort which the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity.”

The motion further asks the church to affirm that “faithfulness within marriage is the only normative context for sexual intercourse. Members of the Church of Ireland are required by the Catechism to keep their bodies in ‘temperance, soberness and chastity’. Clergy are called in the Ordinal to be ‘wholesome examples and patterns to the flock of Jesus Christ’.”

The Church of Ireland has been threatened with schism between Ulster and the Republic of Ireland in the wake of revelations the Bishop of Cashel and Ossory permitted the Dean of Leithlin to register a same-sex civil union. The Primate of All-Ireland, the Archbishop of Armagh Dr. Alan Harper told the Sept 11 “Sunday Sequence” programme of BBC Radio Ulster he was “very, very concerned at the potential for division” within the church over homosexuality.

The outcry forced Bishop Michael Burrows to skip the consecration of the Bishop of Tuam and has sparked protests. A statement issued by the Church of Ireland Evangelical Fellowship, the Evangelical Fellowship of Irish Clergy, New Wine (Ireland) and Reform Ireland said: “If the orthodox view of marriage and sexuality is allowed to be shattered by the actions of Dean Gordon and others then it is difficult to see how a respectful fellowship can be maintained.”

In a pastoral letter released on 5 October 2011 the bishops called for a moratorium on clergy entering into same-sex civil partnerships and also asked critics of clergy civil unions to moderate their language while they debate the issue. The bishops called a special closed session of synod to meet in the Spring to “discuss the content of this Pastoral Letter, to assist the church in becoming more fully informed, and to explore wider issues related to human sexuality.”

Motion 8 asks synod to also foster an environment of safety within the Church of Ireland in support of its on-going reflection by affirming:

“A continuing commitment to love our neighbour, and opposition to all un-biblical and uncharitable actions and attitudes in respect of human sexuality from whatever perspective, including bigotry, hurtful words or actions, and demeaning or damaging language; a willingness to increase our awareness of the complex issues regarding human sexuality; and a determination to welcome and to make disciples of all people.”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.