Some Canadian Anglicans call for cautious approach

The General Synod Canadian Anglicans meets in June. Among the resolutions before the synod are several dealing with same-sex blessings.

The Anglican Journal reports that several groups within the Anglican Church of Canada have separate statements of caution. These include the Primate’s Theological Commission:

The commission has clarified that only one of five resolutions related to the blessing of same-sex deals with the St. Michael Report it released in 2005.

That resolution states, “That this General Synod accepts the conclusion of the Primate’s Theological Commission’s St. Michael Report that the blessing of same-sex unions is a matter of doctrine, but is not core doctrine in the sense of being creedal.”

Bishop Victoria Matthews, chair of the commission, explained why the commission issued a clarification: “I don’t think the Anglican Church of Canada has been as diligent as I would like to think it has. And so I’m afraid that people could read those resolutions and believe that that’s the recommendation of the St. Michael Report.” She added: “We don’t make recommendations, we do raise theological questions.”

In an interview, Bishop Matthews said that she was “very surprised” by CoGS’ recommendation that General Synod deal with the issue of same-sex blessings through resolutions requiring the approval of a 60 per cent majority of the members of the order of bishops, laity and clergy or 60 per cent of dioceses if a vote by dioceses is requested, instead of the adoption or amendment of a canon….

She said that she was surprised by CoGS’ decision because when she presented the Commission’s report to CoGS, she had heard the chancellor (legal advisor) of General Synod express a legal opinion that it would be dealt with as doctrine.

A majority of CoGS members decided at their March meeting that a canonical change “set the bar too high” and would create an impasse in a church already exhausted with the divisive issue of sexuality.

The commission, appointed by the primate to consult on theological matters, also said that General Synod should, as part of its determination, consider whether it is “theologically and doctrinally responsible for one member church of the Communion to approve a course of action which it has reason to believe may be destructive of the unity of the Communion.”

Read it all here.

Bishop Matthews is one of four nominees for primate in Canada.

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