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C of E Gay Marriages

2012 December 14
by Gordon Reid

The Church of England Bishops seem to have got their purple knickers in a twist. But I know a way they can relax and untangle them (This metaphor has gone quite far enough!)

France has the right solution. Even Roman Catholics cannot get married in church in France: everyone has to be married by the state. Then a newly married couple (maybe just an hour ago) can go to their church and have a Nuptial Mass, which the RC Church regards as the “real” wedding.

So, since the British Government seems almost certain to carry its proposal to allow full gay marriages, what is to stop sympathetic C of E priests telling all couples, gay or straight, to go and get married by the registrar, and then come to church for the “real” wedding. I would suggest Nuptial High Masses, with full orchestra, for any couple of God’s children, straight or gay, who want to stand at their Father’s altar and pledge their love for each other.

The other (cunning) benefit to such clergy is that they would not  (as at the moment) have to send marriage fees to the Diocese, but can keep for their own discretionary fund, any donations given them for marriage blessings. And the donations, out of gratitude, would be far greater than any paltry fees!

If all this proves too much for the poor English, the Scottish Bishops should step in and open a Scottish Episcopal church in London. They would be allowed to marry  same-sex couples, just like the Quakers or any other church (except the C of E!). For the males, kilts would of course be compulsory!


8 Responses leave one →
  1. Todd permalink
    December 14, 2012

    “All of Gods Children” may be married in any Episcopal Church in Connecticut. All I have to say, Fr., is that I agree with you 100%. Thank you for being a voice of tolerance within the Anglo Catholic movement.

  2. Richard permalink
    December 14, 2012

    Well, our canon law would be one thing that would stop it. For good or no.

  3. Christian M. Jessen permalink
    December 14, 2012


  4. Murray Small permalink
    December 15, 2012

    Amen! Amen! Amen!. There was a letter in the Guardian a couple of days ago outlining the fact that in many European countries couples of both orientations can have a State Wedding,and of course are perfectly free to request subsequent blessing from any spiritual authority willing to give such a blessing.The British Govt. though well meaning in their current call for Gay marriage have being aware that the C of E would protest introduced an exemption for the C of E and the Church in Wales. Already the Church in Wales has protested that exemption be given for them,obviously there are sympathetic souls in the Church in Wales. So, already one can see that the usual “cocked up” legislation would follow, creating all sorts of anomalies.(Very English).Fr. Reid, your suggestion to follow the French model is eminently sensible and practical at all levels. Of course ,we would still have the moaners.Having been in a Civil partenership (30 years together, partner now deceased)
    I must state that the love we shared was exemplary as commented on by others, not my assertion. All the time being faithful and practising members of the Church. Out of charity I refrain from commenting on those who would seek to limit the social regularisation of shared and committed love.

  5. December 15, 2012

    All well and good Gordon until you get to the idea of exporting the Scottish Episcopal Church. Why would anyone want to export that ? The ‘bishops’ of the SEC have always refused any provision for Anglo-Catholics.

  6. Jeff Ezell permalink
    December 18, 2012

    In respect to Fr Crosbie’s assertion, I thought the Scottish Episcopal Church was essentially what got exported to America after the CofE in the former North American colonies collapsed amidst the American War of Independence. And I had thought that moderate Anglo-Catholicism and old fashioned High Churchmanship were generally stronger in the SEC than the overall situation in the CofE.

    • Murray Small permalink
      December 18, 2012

      In reply to Jeff, the way I read Fr. Andrew Cosbies’s reply was that the SEC bishops have made no separate episcopal oversight for Anglo-catholic parishes not willing to accept ordination to the priesthood of women. Whereas in England petitioning Anglo-catholic parishes not accepting priestly ordination of women can apply to have episcopal oversight from “flying bishops” ( bishops also in agreement with petitioning parishes). I know it all sounds riven with legalese,unfortunately that is how things have transpired right across the Anglican Communion. Owing to a lack of a “fit for purpose” foundational ecclesiogoly in the Anglican Tradition,when the “issues” of today arise e.g. female priesthood,gay marriage etc., the effects
      lead to frictions in polity on various grounds of theology,history,social conscience and so forth.
      Sadly all of the above diverting priests and laity away from our real mission and incurring grief on all sides.
      I understand Fr. Gordon’s idea about popping an SEC church into London,but I doubt that the Bishop of London would allow such or would the SEC bishops allow such, unless a brave rector wishes to re-establish the practice of non-Hanoverian chapels. Now there is a thought(totally illegal of course)

      • December 18, 2012

        It would be tit for tat (as it were). I can remember when St Thomas’s, Edinburgh and St Silas’s, Glasgow were neither of them under the Episcopal Church’s Bishops, but took their candidates to Carlisle for confirmation. They were the last of the qualified chapels in Scotland. I doubt if the Bishop of London would care a bit if a Scottish Episcopal Church opened in London. He would almost certainly find it highly amusing.

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