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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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As you are aware, both the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops passed by wide margins a resolution that gives Episcopal clergy the opportunity to offer an authorized liturgy for the blessing of same-sex unions (A049). The liturgy is entitled, “The Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant.” One can only preside using this liturgy with the permission of the Ecclesiastical Authority- in our case, the diocesan bishop. This liturgy also has the status of being only in “provisional” usage- meaning that it has no constitutional or canonical status. It is presently temporary.
While the title of the liturgy might indicate that something is happening other than a marriage service, the rite itself contains the same structure and components of the marriage rite found in the Book of Common Prayer: Scripture readings, vows, rings, a pronouncement, prayers and a blessing. Consequently, it is clear that such a service is a step towards redefining Christian marriage as clearly expressed both in the Scriptures and in the Book of Common Prayer. As such, I cannot endorse or extend permission for the use of this rite by the clergy under my care in the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida. As I wrote to the Diocese during the election process for bishop: I see nothing in the Scriptures or in our Anglican tradition that give me permission to expand or redefine the institution of marriage. The Scriptures and the Book of Common Prayer are clear that God established the bond and covenant of marriage; and it is my responsibility as a bishop to uphold and maintain what God has created.
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Previous entry (below): Bishop Ed Little’s Pastoral Letter to the Diocese of Northern Indiana
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