A debate over legalizing assisted suicide for the terminally ill in the U.K. has unfurled in the Anglican Communion after a number of former Anglican archbishops backed a proposed bill, while the Church of England confirmed its opposition.
"Some people opine that with good palliative care there is no need for assisted dying, no need for people to request to be legally given a lethal dose of medication," Anglican archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace laureate, wrote for The Observer.
"That was not the case for Craig Schonegevel. Others assert their right to autonomy and consciousness – why exit in the fog of sedation when there's the alternative of being alert and truly present with loved ones?" more >>
The General Synod of the Church of England voted in favor of approving women bishops for the first time in its history on Monday, receiving the required two-thirds majority. While many Anglican leaders have praised the significant move, they and others have warned that the theological debate on women's place in the Church will continue.
"The challenge for us will be for the church to model good disagreement and to continue to demonstrate love for those who disagree on theological grounds. Very few institutions achieve this, but if we manage this we will be living our more fully the call of Jesus Christ to love one another. As delighted as I am for the outcome of this vote I am also mindful of those within the Church for whom the result will be difficult and a cause of sorrow," said the Archbishop of Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
"My aim, and I believe the aim of the whole church, should be to be able to offer a place of welcome and growth for all. Today is a time of blessing and gift from God and thus of generosity. It is not winner take all, but in love a time for the family to move on together." more >>
The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, a group of "continuing Episcopalians" within the Diocese of South Carolina, has embraced a rite that would bless same-sex relationships. Its leaders are involved in a legal battle over property against a diocese that broke away from the denomination.
"Our covenantal life with God is expressed in relationships of commitment and faithfulness, including those of same-sex couples," a document from the group about the rrelatively new rite states. "It is the Church's joy to celebrate these relationships as signs of God's love, to pray for God's grace to support couples in their life together, and to join with these couples in our shared witness to the gospel in the world."
The Rt. Rev. Charles G. vonRosenberg, bishop of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, sent out a letter Tuesday allowing for priests to perform the rite known as "The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant." more >>
A trial centered around the name, seal, and property of a diocese that broke away from The Episcopal Church over theological differences will begin Tuesday.
After months of legal back and forth between TEC and the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, the trial will decide who rightfully owns the assets and property of the diocese.
Supporters of the denomination who remain within the Diocese are known as The Episcopal Church in South Carolina. more >>
A second gay priest has married his same-sex partner in a ceremony, going against the Church of England's doctrine. Meanwhile, the first gay priest to do so has had his clergy rights revoked by his bishop.
The Rev. Andrew Cain, vicar of St. James church in West Hampstead, London, married his partner Stephen Foreshew on Saturday, The Guardian reported. The ceremony was in defiance of Church of England rules, after the House of Bishops reaffirmed marriage as a lifelong union between one man and one woman earlier this year, and banned the blessing of same-sex unions.
Cain, who posted photos of his wedding on his Twitter account, became the second known priest to make such a move. Canon Jeremy Pemberton, a hospital chaplain, who married his long-term partner back in April, was notified that his rights as a priest are going to be revoked, the Daily Mail reported on Saturday. more >>
Pope Francis told the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at a meeting on Monday that their division is a "scandal and an obstacle to our proclaiming the Gospel of salvation to the world," while both Church leaders expressed hopes to move forward in unity.
"We cannot claim that our division is anything less than a scandal and an obstacle to our proclaiming the Gospel of salvation to the world," Francis told Welby according to Asia News. The Roman Catholic Church leader added: "The goal of full unity may seem distant indeed, [. . .] it remains the aim which should direct our every step along the way."
Francis added that although they share a "commitment to the great cause of reconciliation and communion between Christian believers," a problem is that "Our vision is often blurred by the cumulative burden of our divisions and our will is not always free of that human ambition which can accompany even our desire to preach the Gospel as the Lord commanded (Matthew 28:19)." more >>