In a move that can only be seen as open defiance against their diocesan bishop, the Primate of Australia Archbishop Philip Freier, liberals in Melbourne have put up a motion for their October synod seeking blessings of same-sex relationships. The wording of the motion is as follows:
10 Form of Blessing for Civil Marriages
a) acknowledges the widespread national and local support for the recent changes to Australian marriage laws, to include same-sex couples; and
b) commends the pastoral value of the Archbishop authorising a Form of Blessing of a Civil Marriage for optional use within the Diocese of Melbourne alongside, or in addition to, a wedding conducted by a civil celebrant.
Moved: Archdeacon Craig D’Alton; Seconded: Dr Leanne Beagley
Archdeacon D’Alton recently stirred controversy by openly challenging the Australian bishops’ policy on marriage. It seems he is now directly challenging his own bishop on the floor of diocesan synod.
Theological liberals in Melbourne also have other fish to fry…
12 Affirmation of Communion with the Church of England in England
That this Synod
1. reaffirms our communion with the Church of England in England (as defined in the Constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia) and opposes moves made by any group to discredit the See of Canterbury and our relationship to it, including those made by the Global Anglican Future Conference; and
2. asks the Archbishop to write to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby, to express our prayers and support for his ministry.
Moved: The Reverend Canon Dr Colleen O’Reilly; Seconded: The Reverend Luke Hopkins
Readers of davidould.net will note the incongruity of criticising the alleged “discrediting” of the Anglican Communion by GAFCON and others immediately after asking Synod to agree to the very things (blessings of same-sex relationships) that led to the need for GAFCON and resulted in the Primates of the Communion describing those moves as causing a “tear in the fabric of the Communion”.
Archbishop Freier has a difficult job holding together his diocese, let alone the Anglican Church of Australia and a number of her bishops who, despite entering into a clear agreement not to move forward unilaterally on changes to marriage doctrine and liturgy, are promoting, encouraging or turning a blind eye to exactly those proposals in their own dioceses. To now be effectively defied by his own archdeacon on the floor of synod cannot make that job any easier. It’s hard to envisage any scenario where the Primate can give any form of assent to the motion without causing a fracture at the national level thus the motion can only be seen as either virtue signalling or a deliberate move to place him in an impossible position.