Bishop Mark Sisk: Gay Marriage Authorized ignoring Constitution and The Book of Common Prayer

Posted by The_Elves

Permission Granted for Clergy to Officiate at Same-Sex Marriages
From September 1, 2012

July 19, 2012

Bishop Mark S. Sisk today sent a letter via email to the clergy of the Diocese of New York giving permission for them to officiate at same-sex marriages both in a religious capacity and as agents of New York State, commencing September 1, 2012. He wrote the letter, which contains a complete explanation of his reasons for making the change in policy, after consultation with, and with the full support of Bishop Coadjutor Andrew M. L. Dietsche (whose own letter appeared followed in the email) and Assistant Bishop Andrew D. Smith.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship--Book of Common PrayerParish Ministry* Culture-WatchMarriage & Family* Theology

Posted July 20, 2012 at 7:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Ralph wrote:

Anathema! Which dioceses and which provinces will have the courage to declare broken communion with this diocese? Who will have the courage to file Title IV charges against this bishop for acting contrary to the written, clear doctrine of TEC?

July 20, 9:16 am | [comment link]
2. Br. Michael wrote:

1, no one.  This is the standard revisionist tactic.ignoring of rules, regulation and Canons whenever and where ever they wish.  Remember the irregular women’s ordinations?

Just remember the Church cannot bless what God condemns.  It can pretend, it can give false assurance, but a false blessing is all it can do.

July 20, 9:22 am | [comment link]
3. SC blu cat lady wrote:

Too bad this post seems to had been ignored. I was looking for a post which had the title Diocese of NY allows gay marriage. Anyway, I first saw this at Robert Munday’s blog.  IF Bishop Sisk is going to ignore the December 1, 2012 date for same sex blessings, why not allow these “provisional rites” starting this saturday,July 21st? Why wait? since the bishop is taking his stance from the civil law of the state of New York not TEC. If I were in that diocese,  I would be writing a letter to whatever civil authority would need to know that TEC by its C & C does NOT approve gay marriage.

Going by the title, this should make Bishop Lawrence very happy. All this does is show how hypocritical the left really are. We can ignore TEC whenever we want but we can make sure Title IV charges brought against conservative clergy for simply acting on their civil rights by affirming TEC polity. Good grief what a flaming bunch of you-know-what!!!

July 20, 9:29 am | [comment link]
4. c.r.seitz wrote:

Using a blessing rite that studiously/necessarily avoided reference to ‘marriage’ in the context of civil marriage (in states where this is legal) would seem to run up against constitutional and canonical road-blocks as marriage is defined already in them. Here is yet another problem with a ‘provisional’ rite.

July 20, 9:44 am | [comment link]
5. Tomb01 wrote:

“But please be assured that no clergyperson or parish which in conscience does not believe they can offer marriage to same sex couples will be required to do so”

Provisional?  Blessing?  Sorry, any ‘conservative’ that voted for this was simply fooling themselves.  If it looks like duck, walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, then it is a duck.  Sigh.  Thank God for ACNA.

July 20, 9:58 am | [comment link]
6. sophy0075 wrote:

After a period of “discernment,” the same will be happening in other dioceses too (like Dio GA, which I’m so glad I’m out of!).

I’ve seen roller coasters go slower than the revisionists in TEC are determined to take that “good intentioned” road to Wormtongue’s home.

July 20, 10:26 am | [comment link]
7. martin5 wrote:

So Tec’s hierarchy stops at the bishop after all. smile

July 20, 12:10 pm | [comment link]
8. Ralph wrote:

#7, the way this reads makes me wonder whether the attorneys at 815 would have lost pulse and blood pressure when they read it. One eagerly awaits AS Haley’s analysis of the potential impact on the lawsuits.

#6, do any of the Southern states permit same-sex marriage?

July 20, 2:03 pm | [comment link]
9. SC blu cat lady wrote:

#5, When I commented the title was different.  The title has now been changed (my thanks to whomever changed it).

While Dr. Seitz is correct that this is a problematic (only for those who go by the rules)  “provisional rite”, the left has no problem in interpreting what General Convention did as allowing same sex marriage and lets be honest the bishops in NY are clear that as far as they are concerned this is “gay marriage”. Here is that quote.

Therefore, in my view, if a cleric of this diocese feels moved by conviction and pastoral need to respond in the affirmative to a request to perform a same-sex marriage , he or she is free to do so on or after September 1, 2012.


Bold is mine and not in the original letter. Notice the term used is not a same sex blessing or even a provisional rite, it is same sex marriage. These two bishops see gay marriage (i.e. provisional rites) as perfectly acceptable and prophetic even if it is in direct violation of the Constitution and Canons- most importantly they don’t care as they get to do what they want to do. They got what they wanted- gay marriage. What did the conservatives get ? A conscience clause that liberals will have no problem violating in a second if they can get rid of some clergy by using it.

July 20, 3:57 pm | [comment link]
10. c.r.seitz wrote:

#7—this and other inconsistencies will be fully in the record.  Did the Bishops other than Sisk all agree to his interpretation? Are the Constitution and Canons now trumped by GC? It is important for conservatives to be able to say that they are the ones respecting the governing documents of this church. Let others live inside their machinations and constitutional chaos.

July 20, 4:29 pm | [comment link]
11. tjmcmahon wrote:

“Who will have the courage to file Title IV charges against this bishop for acting contrary to the written, clear doctrine of TEC? “

How about you?

July 20, 7:44 pm | [comment link]
12. Oreo wrote:

While they are at it, how about including Bishop Shaw, who has been allowing clergy in his diocese to sign marriage licenses for almost three years now.

July 20, 7:56 pm | [comment link]
13. tjmcmahon wrote:

Dr. Seitz,
“It is important for conservatives to be able to say that they are the ones respecting the governing documents of this church”

You might want to qualify that to say “respecting the constitution of this church.  If you include the canons, I am sure there are any number of TEC bishops who would be more than happy to see all conservatives respect the new Title IV, restore the Dennis Canon in South Carolina, depose the few remaining Anglo Catholics under Title III.  And don’t forget to ordain a few transgendered clergy.

July 20, 7:57 pm | [comment link]
14. c.r.seitz wrote:

It used to be an easier issue to focus on unconstitutionality and we needed to make the clear point in legal realms that the Constitution is the governing document of TEC. But now TEC is also ignoring the canons (on marriage). But you are surely right that one needs to handle this with care. We now have Sisk claiming that GC is an authority unto itself, but only because it endorses a diocesan polity that he has already chosen to prosecute anyway. Towhuwavohu. My only point is that conservatives gain ground if progressives end up making a mess of their own claims to be operating in orderly ways vis-a-vis the Constitution (and occasionally also the canons). At some point they simply manifest the reality that it doesn’t really matter anyway. I think this is imprudent and will divide their own ranks (we saw this with CWOB).

But God runs things….

July 20, 8:26 pm | [comment link]
15. MichaelA wrote:

Ralph at #1, a fair question. 

The Global South (comprising 20 of the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion) has already declared its position in 2010 when it invited Communion Partners bishops from TEC to participate in Holy Communion presided over by ++Duncan of ACNA.  Katherine Schori and non-CP bishops of TEC were not invited. 

This was followed by a communique confirming that the GS maintained communion with ACNA and with CP in TEC.  Conversely, the GS is out of communion with the rest of TEC. 

In other words, +New York was already out of communion with more than half the Anglican Communion because he didn’t declare for orthodoxy after the Glasspool nomination.  He can’t get any more out of communion through this latest action!

July 20, 9:16 pm | [comment link]
16. Ralph wrote:

#14, tohu wa vohu (תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ) Formless and empty (Gen 1:2). And darkness was over the face of the deep.


You say, “But God runs things.” Yes. Yet, we know perfectly well that God also lets certain things happen. We look for answers, for the reason. We ask, “Where is God in this?” We wonder whether He’s taken a vacation or is asleep.

We dare not look at this situation, declare “It must be the will of God,” throw up our hands, and sigh.

God calls us to see where and how He is present in this crisis. God is severely testing Christianity, the Anglican Communion, The Episcopal Church - its laity and its clergy. In times of crisis and despair, God calls us to find strength and to increase our faith, while staring in the face of evil. We don’t look away. Instead, we continue to proclaim, resolutely, God’s word.

Tohu wa vohu. Look at what happened in the next verse.

July 21, 9:31 am | [comment link]
17. c.r.seitz wrote:

#16—I can assure you no one at ACI is slowing down. This is one of our busiest seasons. And it has been for some time now…

July 21, 10:33 am | [comment link]
18. Cennydd13 wrote:

Schori and her friends…...and those who succeed them…...are going to continue to ignore their own Constitution and Canons, and their Star Chamber will run things their way, so therefore TEC might just as well toss the C&Cs; down the sewer for all the good they serve.

July 24, 1:38 am | [comment link]

“Clergy may now sign marriage licenses and officiate at the full civil and sacramental marriages of same sex couples.” +Dietsche
WOW at least this bishop has the audacity to call a thing what it is and label the “blessing” rite what it is intended to be, a canonical end around way to produce a same sex marriage rite.  I am still dumbfounded how one can declare such things sacramental when they are against over 2,000 years of the church’s definition of the sacrament of marriage from all corners of the church.  Kyrie Eleison.

July 24, 11:39 am | [comment link]

Also, it seems to me this whole mess is the true death of our Anglican way of :Evangelical faith and Catholic order” in TEC.  Not only did A049 institute an un-biblical and un-apostolic practice, but it did so at the expense of the Catholic order of the church.

July 24, 12:00 pm | [comment link]
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