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Lambeth Palace Blunders On Canada Same-Sex Blessings Press Release


By David W. Virtue

A statement from the Archbishop of Canterbury on the deferral of a decision over the blessing of same sex unions by the Anglican Church of Canada was released prematurely before the General Synod had completed its final vote.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Dr Rowan Williams, has been publicly embarrassed by the press release issued on Wednesday which welcomed the decision by the Canadian General Synod to defer a decision on the question of same sex blessings until 2007.

"The decision to defer the question of the right of dioceses over same sex blessings offers hope for the continuing collegiality of the Anglican Communion. It is important that the Canadian church has held back from a structural shift that would have run counter to the pleas and wishes of the Primates' meeting last Autumn and of so many around the Communion," wrote Williams.

In doing so, it has avoided complicating still further the work of the Lambeth Commission," said the release.

But on Thursday, at the eleventh hour, The Anglican Church of Canada approved a measure to "affirm the integrity and sanctity of committed adult same sex relationships."
The move stops short of authorizing dioceses to hold same-sex blessing ceremonies.

Nine bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada issued a statement saying that bishops, lay and clergy gathered at General Synod committed an error when they approved a statement that “affirms the integrity and sanctity of committed, adult same-sex relationships.”

The bishops said that synod’s actions – including affirming the “sanctity” of same-sex relationships – ignore “the work of the Lambeth Commission for Anglican provinces not to take any action on these matters before the release of their report.”

A statement to faithful Canadian Anglicans from a consultation of Archbishops, bishops, theologians and leaders meeting in Nassau also condemned the Canadian action.

"We are sad, however, that the General Synod of the ACC has passed an amendment to resolution A-134 which has the effect of negating the deferral of paragraph 2 to the Primates Theological Committee. In our view, the amendment is much more serious than even the original form of the motion which did not describe the nature of same-sex unions," said Archbishop Drexel Gomez, Primate of Nassau and the Bahamas.

"The amendment goes much further than the original motion in employing expressions which Scripture uses to describe marriage (Eph 5:25-33). In accordance with Scripture, your own Prayer Book uses this language in its marriage service. It is completely unacceptable to Bible believing orthodox Christians that same-sex unions are described as "holy." Such language is reserved for marriage alone.

Attempts to reach Lambeth Palace were unsuccessful, but a knowledgeable insider said that the early release has clearly embarrassed the titular head of 77 million Anglicans.


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