Thursday, June 04, 2015

A.S. Haley: Making a Mishmash of Marriage ........(Part II)

June 3, 2015

In Part I of this post, I showed how every member of the Episcopal clergy who celebrates, officiates at and solemnizes in any State, as a Church "marriage", any civil union between two persons of the same gender thereby commits a violation of the Church's canons on marriage, and is consequently liable to disciplinary proceedings under Title IV of the 2012 Church Canons.

Now let us take a look at the Resolution 2015-A036 which the Church's Task Force on the Study of Marriage has proposed to resolve this dilemma. The first thing it does is rewrite Canon I.18.1 to substitute the plain word "marriage" for the liturgical (BCP) term "Holy Matrimony":

Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That Canon I.18 is hereby amended to read as follows: 
CANON 18: Of the Solemnization of Holy MatrimonyCanon 18: Of the Celebration and Blessing of MarriageSec. 1. Every Member of the Clergy of this Church shall conform to the laws of the State governing the creation of the civil status of marriage, and also to the laws of this Church governing these canons concerning the solemnization of marriage Holy Matrimony. Members of the Clergy may solemnize a marriage using any of the liturgical forms authorized by this Church.
The replaced words, "Holy Matrimony", had a well-defined status under the Book of Common Prayer, where we may read in time-honored language (on p. 423):
Dearly beloved: We have come together in the presence of God to witness and bless the joining together of this man and this woman in Holy Matrimony.  The bond and covenant of marriage was established by God in creation, and our Lord Jesus Christ adorned this manner of life by his presence and first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee.  It signifies to us the mystery of the union between Christ and his Church, and Holy Scripture commends it to be honored among all people.
Thus, for purposes of the BCP, "marriage" means "Holy Matrimony," and vice versa. As far as the BCP (and Canon I.18 up to this point) are concerned, there is no other kind.  the rest


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