SEC model for same-sex marriage for Church of Ireland?

Speaking at the Diocesan Synod in Cork on Saturday 10th June 2010, The Rt Rev Paul Colton, Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, suggested that ‘”it may well be the Scottish approach represents a way forward for us too that recognizes all integrities.” “It is worth considering in our debate here Ireland”. The Diocesan Press Release is reproduced below. 


Scottish Episcopal Church’s approach to same-sex marriage may represent a Way Forward for Church of Ireland says Bishop Paul Colton

Posted on June 11, 2017 by Latest News and Photos from the Church of Ireland Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross

Speaking at the Diocesan Synod of Cork, Cloyne and Ross in the Rochestown Park Hotel in Douglas, Co. Cork on Saturday 10th June 2010, the Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork, Bishop Paul Colton, noted the decision earlier in the week (8th June) of the Scottish Episcopal Church to amend its Canon on marriage, making same-sex marriages in church possible, while also recognising that there are ‘differing views of marriage in our church … and that we are a church of diversity and difference, bound together by our oneness in Christ’ (quoting phrases used by the Primus of Scottish Episcopal Church, the Most Reverend David Chillingworth).

Bishop Colton suggested that ‘it may well be the Scottish approach represents a way forward for us too that recognises all integrities.’ ‘It is worth considering in our debate here Ireland’, he said.

In this section of his Synod address, Bishop Colton said:

‘Change is signalled also by the decision two days ago, on Thursday, 8th June, of our sister Church in Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church, to alter its canon on marriage by removing the doctrinal clause which states that marriage is between a man and a woman. Clergy who wish to conduct same-sex marriages will have to opt in, and no priest is to be compelled to do so.’

‘As we saw at our own General Synod recently arising from a private members motion, there are many in the Church of Ireland who are anxious to debate such issues here too. Equally many are determined that this is not a matter which is up for debate at all. There is a debate, and, however tentatively, it has, in fact, started.’

‘That such things are open to debate in this Church has always been the case. If there had been no questioning or discourse, the Reformation itself would not have happened, nor would many other developments have unfolded over the centuries, in ministry, in liturgy and in belief, the most recent examples being our change in approach to suicide, to the marriage in church of divorcees, and also the ordination of women, and there are many others.’

The Most Reverend David Chillingworth, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, who is from Ireland and ministered for most of his life here, said:

The new Canon itself affirms that there are differing views of marriage in our church. Nobody will be compelled to do anything against their conscience. We affirm that we are a church of diversity and difference, bound together by our oneness in Christ …

‘The reality is that there is such diversity and difference throughout the Church of Ireland too. Those differences and that diversity cannot be ignored. We will have to engage with one another to find a way forward. There are in the Church of Ireland ‘differing views of marriage’, and ‘…we are a church of diversity and difference, bound together by our oneness in Christ.’ It may well be the Scottish approach represents a way forward for us too that recognises all integrities. It is worth considering in our debate here.’


Comment

The above observations form only part of Dr Colton’s Synod address, in which “[his] overriding concern is to reflect on our times and to set alongside those reflections some aspirations of what sort of Church, what sort of Christians, we are called to be”. A reading of the complete presentation is recommended.

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "SEC model for same-sex marriage for Church of Ireland?" in Law & Religion UK, 11 June 2017, http://www.lawandreligionuk.com/2017/06/11/sec-model-for-same-sex-marriage-for-church-of-ireland/

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