The law change approved by the Church of England at the turn of the year that allows gay clergy to be considered for consecration will be put to a test by a legal briefing sent out to General Synod members that says priests in civil partnerships will have to prove to archbishops that they are not in a sexually active relationship.
"To be admitted to Holy Orders a person must be 'of virtuous conversation and good repute and such as to be a wholesome example and pattern to the flock of Christ,' the Legal Office document sent in June reads. "Once in Holy Orders a cleric must be diligent to frame and fashion his life and that of his family according to the doctrine of Christ and to make himself and them, as much as in him lies, wholesome examples and patterns to the flock of Christ."
The legal briefing reminds Church of England members that a clergy's sexual orientation is "irrelevant to their suitability for episcopal office" and that it should not be taken into account when considering nominations for the position. more >>
Pope Francis, the leader of the 1.2 billion-large Roman Catholic Church, met for the first time on Friday The Most Rev. Justin Welby, the head of the 80-million strong Anglican Communion, as the two Christian leaders talked about the differences, the similarities, and the road ahead for the two traditions.
The Vatican leader noted that the visiting Welby was officially installed as senior bishop of the Church of England just days after Pope Francis was elected to succeed Benedict XVI, meaning that the two leaders "will always have a particular reason to support one another in prayer."
The Anglican ordination of women as priests has been one of the main causes of strain between the two Christian traditions, since only men are allowed to serve as priests in the Catholic Church. more >>
A District Court judge has ruled that the suit regarding the name, seal, and property of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina will be tried in a state court rather than at the federal level.
Judge C. Weston Houck of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, Charleston Division made the ruling Monday in favor of the breakaway South Carolina Diocese against The Episcopal Church in South Carolina.
"ECSC argues that a federal court's exercise of jurisdiction in this case will not result in a substantial number of state trademark cases being removed to federal court because this case implicates a First Amendment issue that simply does not arise in the vast majority of cases presenting similar claims," said Houck. more >>
A diocese that recently voted to break away from The Episcopal Church has alleged that the denomination is "holding hostage" the retirement accounts of over 80 lay employees.
The Diocese of South Carolina alleged that The Episcopal Church's insurance entity, the Church Pension Group, is refusing to allow lay employees to roll over their 403B plans. The Rev. Canon Jim Lewis, spokesman for the Diocese, explained to The Christian Post, "Similar to a 401K, a 403B is a tax-advantaged retirement account available for employees of non-profits or educational institutions.
"There are currently over 80 lay employees of the diocese and our parishes whose retirement savings are held in a 403B account controlled by the Church Pension Group. The Episcopal Church is not allowing these employees to roll their funds over to another qualified plan of their choosing." more >>
The Rt. Rev. Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual head of the Anglican Communion, defended traditional marriage on Monday as part of a two-day government debate on a bill seeking to add gay couples to the definition of marriage.
Welby warned that the bill would create different and unequal forms of marriage and will weaken society as a whole, The Guardian reported.
"Marriage is abolished, redefined and recreated – being different and unequal for different categories. The new marriage of the bill is an awkward shape with same gender and different gender categories scrunched into it – neither fitting well," the archbishop of Canterbury said during the debate, during which 91 people are scheduled to speak. more >>
The head of the global Anglican Communion has released a statement on the recent brutal murder of British soldier Lee Rigby.
The Right Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, said on Friday regarding Rigby's murder that Christian and Muslim leaders in the United Kingdom have been helping to bring reconciliation. "I want to recognize the response of churches, mosques and other faith and civil society groups as well as those of brave individuals who have done so much to bring our communities together at this time," said Welby.
"The strong response from the Muslim Council of Britain and many other organizations has rightly emphasized that these acts have no place in Islam." more >>