The Australian Bishops’ “Secret” Marriage Agreement Published

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Monday’s article on the appointment of the new Bishop of Gippsland made reference to “a private agreement on how to proceed on [the question of same-sex marriage]” put together by the Australian bishops. The agreement was described to as “embargoed” and to be used at the bishops’ discretion.

This month’s issue of The Melbourne Anglican has a front-page article on the topic which is more than comprehensive…

Given that this “secret” document is now clearly public we are publishing the original version:

It is clear from the document that any bishop wishing to push ahead in any way with affirmation of same-sex marriage will be in a obvious breach of this agreement. It has been suggested to that the agreement was required after a number of bishops suggested to their peers that they may proceed with some form of blessing of same-sex unions or even a marriage rite. Senior conservative figures that have talked to since the agreement was made back in March have expressed their confidence in the document.

With this publication in the newspaper of the diocese of the Primate, not to mention the transparently conservative position taken by the 2017 General Synod, it seems clear that the boundaries and guidelines for any future engagement on this topic are firmly set.

see also: Editorial: To Publish Or Not To Publish?

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  1. Paul Nolan

    Putting aside the appropriateness of Anglican ministers blessing (post-ceremony) the parties to a same-sex civil marriage and the possible form and setting for such, the most significant statement from the Bishop’s response to the amended Marriage Act is their affirmation at paragraph 4 – “We earnestly desire that all people hear and respond to God’s word and receive the grace of the sacraments”.

    As Holy Matrimony is a (non-dominical) sacrament of the Australian Anglican Church, I disagree with Rev. Ould’s conclusion that the boundaries and guidelines for any future engagement on the topic are firmly set. On the contrary, the Bishop’s response leaves the door ajar for a future change to Holy Matrimony to accommodate same-sex marriages.

    Does David know the Primate’s response to the Bishop’s 20/3/18 affirmation or is the Primate an attendee at National Bishop’s meetings? Also are decisions of the Anglican Church Law Commission and the Doctrine Commission of General Synod readily available to the public please?

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