Anglican debate on marriage risks splitting church

NZ Herald 30 June 2012
Proposals being considered by the Anglican Church could see gay marriage services carried out in churches by gay priests. Bishops and priests are to vote on proposals covering the blessing of same-sex civil unions, the church’s response to requests to marry those couples, and ordination of gay priests. The debate, to be heard next week at a meeting of the church’s ruling body, the General Synod, has created concern it could divide parishes in New Zealand and – if adopted – cause a schism with the international faith. The move comes against a backdrop of acknowledgement that secret blessings are being carried out contrary to church rules, and just weeks after moves to address concerns relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members by appointing a committee to report on the issue by 2014.

…Massey University associate professor Peter Lineham, an expert on English and New Zealand religious history, said he believed the proposals were likely to lead to gay priests and gay marriage. Preliminary votes among the seven dioceses in New Zealand had led to support from four. “The bishops have been walking very carefully because they are nervous they’ll be held responsible for the Anglican Church falling apart.”

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