Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Straight or Gay Everyone Might Be Able To Have A " Same Sex Wedding " At the National Cathedral

At least for people of opposite genders that might be in play soon.

I note today that the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. has an big announcement. See Washington National Cathedral to Celebrate Same-sex Weddings.

Now let me point out something that really baffles me as to this announcement.

"Consistent with the canons of the Episcopal Church, the Cathedral will begin celebrating same-sex marriage ceremonies using a rite adapted from an existing blessing ceremony approved in August 2012 by the Church at its General Convention. That approval allowed for the bishops who oversee each diocese within the Church to decide whether or not to allow the rite’s use or to allow celebration of same-sex marriage"

Now I thought at the Episcopal Convention this past summer  that sanctioned same sex blessings they went to pains to say this was a same sex blessing not a "wedding" and not a "marriage" . In other words  the Episcopal Church in the Convention did not sign off that on same sex unions as a SACRAMENT OF MARRIAGE. Yet wedding and in particular the word  marriage is all over the place in this announcement.

Returning to other matters via the Washington Post :

The “heterosexual marriage [ritual] still has some vestiges of patriarchy, with woman being property. There’s hope in same-sex marriage that it is a teachable moment for heterosexual couples. The new rite is grounded in baptism and radical equality of all people before God,” said Hall, who has been blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples for decades. “I’d like to use it for heterosexual weddings because I think it’s so much better than our marriage services.”

- Update

My memory is not faulty. Someone might want to inform the Cathedral they seem to be jumping the gun. From the Blue Book which can be downloaded here  we see  on page 168

Resolution A050 Create Task Force on the Study of Marriage

Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 77th General Convention

direct the Presiding Bishop and President of the House of Deputies to

appoint a task force of not more than twelve people, consisting of theologians,

liturgists, pastors, and educators, to identify and explore biblical, theological,

historical, liturgical, and canonical dimensions of marriage; and be it further

Resolved, That the task force consider issues raised by changing societal

and cultural norms and legal structures, including legislation authorizing

or forbidding marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships between two

people of the same sex, in the U.S. and other countries where The Episcopal

Church is located; and be it further

Resolved, That the task force develop tools for theological reflection and

norms for theological discussion at a local level; and be it further

Resolved, That the task force report its progress to the 78th General

Convention; and be it further

Resolved, That the General Convention request the Joint Standing

Committee on Program, Budget and Finance to consider a budget allocation

of $30,000 for the implementation of this resolution.


As the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music developed liturgical resources for blessing same-gender relationships, it faced repeated questions about marriage. What makes a marriage Christian? What is the relationship between the Church’s blessing of a relationship, whether different gender or same-gender, and a union, “marriage” or otherwise, created by civil law? Is the blessing of a same-gender relationship equivalent to the marriage of a different-gender couple, and if so, should this liturgy be called “marriage”?

Because the Church’s understanding of marriage affects so many of its members, the Commission believes it is important to engage in a Churchwide conversation about our theology of marriage. The Dioceses of El Camino Real and North Carolina have both recently undertaken studies of marriage,with reports available from the Digital Archives.

In other words Same Sex Marriage might be coming but it is  not in the Episcopal Church yet.

Starting on page 241 you can see  approved rite and  "marriage" appears nowhere .. Also on page 186 we see  :

As we developed the resources, many people asked whether we were actually preparing a rite for

same-gender marriage. In accord with Resolution 2009-C056, the Commission has understood our
charge to be the development of a liturgy of blessing, not marriage. Nonetheless, there are a number
of parallels to different-gender marriage, as General Convention Resolution 2000-D039 suggested
when it acknowledged that “there are currently couples in the Body of Christ and in this Church who
are living in marriage and couples in the Body of Christ and in this Church who are living in other
life-long committed relationships.” That 2000 resolution then set forth the expectation that “such
relationships will be characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest
communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the
image of God,” and denounced “promiscuity, exploitation, and abusiveness in the relationships of any
of our members.” These expectations have defined the Commission’s understanding of the same-gender
relationships for which we have developed resources. While the liturgy we have developed is not called
“marriage,” we recognize significant parallels: two people publicly make a lifelong, monogamous commitment to one another with the exchange of solemn vows in a ritual that pronounces God’s
blessing on their life together.

In other words the issue in the Episcopal Church of it a same sex union is a sacramental union like a union of two different genders is still in the discussion stage.


Andy said...

It appears Episcopalian Zeitgeist has overtaken Episcopalian Canons.

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