Same-Sex Rites Backdoored in by TEC at Int. Anglican Liturgical Consultation

david at david at
Fri Aug 19 13:03:40 EDT 2011

Same-Sex Rites Backdoored in by TEC at International Anglican Liturgical Consultation 
Episcopal Church's position viewed as cultural innovation, not theological 

By David W. Virtue 
August 16, 2011

The biennial meeting of the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation (IALC), which drew 56 Anglicans from six continents and 19 provinces of the Anglican Communion to Canterbury recently, heard representatives from The Episcopal Church give a rationale for rites for same-gender relationships, but got no approval for these rites from the consultation group.

The IALC focused on completing their work begun two years ago in Auckland and set forth in Rites Relating to Marriage: A Working Interim Document. This task was carried forward in this year's session by three groups examining (1) the theology of marriage, (2) cultural contexts of marriage, and (3) the shape and elements of the ritual. The Report of this work will be circulated to the Provinces of the Anglican Communion, and to the Standing Committee of the Communion, according to a press release.

Attendee Bolivian Bishop Frank Lyons said the "consultation within the Consultation" push by The Episcopal Church got no traction, with the IALC final Communique offering up a generalized description of TEC's presentation of the development of their new liturgies. 

"Unfortunately, it is so brief as to be open to highly suggestive interpretations. The theme of blessings for same sex partners was not in the purview of the IALC which is preparing a forthcoming study based upon marriage between a man and a woman. This is the norm and the canonical reality for the entire Anglican Communion at this date. It is an excellent work that raises important questions for local development of rites for marriage and also a range of other moments important to the sustaining of this estate. It would be a shame to dismiss it out of hand based on misinformation. 

"In reality, however, it was impossible to deal with TEC's theological rationale because they have already reached their conclusions on this and removed it from discussion a priori. As there is no biblical warrant for it, only controversial discussion could take place in an Anglican setting anyway. 

"When the issue came up in plenary it was dealt with as cultural innovation, not a theological issue. With the theological rationale dismissed, the task presented to the working group by TEC was to evaluate the rite as liturgy. 

"This elicited a mountain of criticism and important suggestions in various small groups, such as comments concerning the rite's basic purpose and its structural presentation. These comments are to be returned to SCLM by their representatives for evaluation, but there is no way of knowing what the Commission will do with the information gathered as this consultation comes late in a process that has  been developed by TEC. 

"To my knowledge there will be no report back on how these responses are used. This should not be regarded as approval of these rites."

Lyons said the discussions were clear and frank and the working group was not deterred from its task about the significance of marriage between a man and a woman within an Anglican context.


More information about the VirtueOnline mailing list