Thursday, November 30, 2017

Never underestimate the romantic appeal of a roast chicken dinner

Prince Harry, during a home cooked roast chicken dinner, proposed to Meghan Markle who was so excited by the prospect of appearing endlessly in the Daily Mail and NZ Woman's Weekly that she said "Yes" before he finished the question. I have watched Suits, once, and I see Harry's point of view: she is rather lovely.

The question, however, which is keeping the good ecclesiologists of Anglican Down Under awake at nights is how could ++Justin so readily step up to the mark as the marriage celebrant for this couple's wedding in a church? Meghan, famously, is a divorcee. Not so long ago, Prince Charles and Camilla could not marry in church. They had a civil wedding followed by a blessing in a church, conducted by ++Justin's predecessor, ++Rowan. What is the difference?

Ian Paul helpfully sets out the rules and regs of the C of E re marriage of divorcees here. And he explains the difference between Charles and Camilla's situation and Harry and Meghan's situation. Along the way Ian clearly explains why Anglicans accept the dissolvability of marriage whereas for Roman Catholics marriage is indissoluble.

I will NOT accept comments which seek to link questions of marriage, divorce and remarriage with same-sex marriage or same-sex blessings. There is a link but we are having a holiday of posts about the latter here so I see no need to have further comments re SSM or SSB. (If desperate they can still be made at the post below, About that submission). I am interested in your comments re the situation in the CofE re divorce, Ian Paul's explanation of what Jesus taught, the situation in your own church and the situation in ACANZP.


Andrei said...

The Church of England has its genesis in the divorce of Henry VIII from Catherine of Aragon - without this divorce this would be no Anglican Church.

But marriage in the 21st century is essentially meaningless anyway.

In New Zealand people who cohabit for more than two years receive all the rights and incur all the responsibilities that a legal "marriage" would bestow

And so a wedding is reduced to being a pretty ceremony of your own choosing, a party and recorded with an expensive bit of Government issued paper

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge cohabited before their royal wedding as are Harry and Meghan, that is par for the course in these enlightened times.

The real cost in societal terms is that marriage and family and particularly fatherhood are undervalued and people are not raising children and the native populations of the West are not replacing themselves but are importing people from more fecund regions of the world to fill the gaps

The real crisis facing Anglicanism is that Anglicans are not raising a new generation of Anglicans in Anglican families who will be faithful Anglicans from cradle to grave.

In fact the value of monogamous heterosexual relationships today is so debased that a growth industry is sex robots to entice men to establish a relationship with a doll rather than a real woman with all the difficulties that entails...

Father Ron Smith said...

It would seem, Peter, that Archbishop Justin is more in thrall to the Royal Family than he is to his Evangelical conscience. We Anglo-Catholics have got used to pastoral adjustments to reality. May this Royal couple remain faithful in their legally-contracted commitment to one another.

Father Ron Smith said...

Andrei said:
"The Church of England has its genesis in the divorce of Henry VIII from Catherine of Aragon - without this divorce this would be no Anglican Church."

Is it not also true, Andrei, that without The Great Divorce from the Western Church there would be no 'Orthodox' Church?

Noe of us is blameless. Only God is perfect. Deo gratias!

Anonymous said...

Take care, Peter, Revd. Dr Ian Paul's response to my disagreeing with him was to focus not on the disagreement but on the fact that I hadn't used his proper titles!

If the Church of England now teaches, as he indicates, that marriage is "intended to be lifelong" - I think it should have the transparency to change its canon (B30). I am prevented, by the limitations on comments to this post, to suggest what else it might change...

His interpretation of "except on the ground of unchastity (πορνεία porneia)" hinges on his interpretation of πορνεία (porneia). Much more likely is that Jesus is, in Matthew’s single “exception”, talking about the couple being in a πορνεία (porneia) relationship with each other. In other words, this couple consists of a brother and sister, or some other relationship that cannot be married. We see this use of the word πορνεία (porneia) in, for example, 1 Cor 5:1: "It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality (πορνεία porneia) among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father’s wife."

As for Revd. Dr Ian Paul's misunderstanding of Eastern Orthodoxy, that is not unusual in the West. The first marriage in Orthodoxy is sacramental, a subsequent marriage is penitential. It is not a properly ecclesial marriage. It has a different rite. Reception of the sacraments for people so married is also permitted in Orthodoxy by way of tolerance (often today termed "economy").

Upon the criticism, I immediately, of course, updated my discussion by using Revd. Dr Ian Paul's proper titles.



Andrei said...

"Is it not also true, Andrei, that without The Great Divorce from the Western Church there would be no 'Orthodox' Church?"

No Fr Ron the Orthodox Church has existed from the beginning - the term was used long before the great schism and the English word orthodox" is derived from the ecclesiastical usage rather than the Orthodox Church usurping it for its title, in the way the Latin Church has usurped "catholic" to describe itself

But you shouldn't be thinking denominationally anyway - there is but one Church and on the Day of Judgement it will not matter one iota which denomination you identify with.

In the best of all worlds the Anglican Church despite its origin would have become the English expression of Christianity and my children would have been baptized thus and sacramentally married in the Anglican Church - but they weren't because the world is broken so some were baptized ROC and others ROCOR and the one wedding thus far was ROCOR in Australia. Theoretically speaking those baptized in the ROC were not in communion with those baptized the ROCOR churches at the time they were baptized but it never mattered to anyone then (except perhaps for hotheads I never encountered) and is irrelevant now

And it is that ROCOR wedding that gives the marriage its meaning not the Australian wedding licence, which is a meaningless piece of paper.

You can get married before God standing in front of the Altar in a Church or you can leap out of a plane with a "celebrant" and do it in free fall in the worldly world and to that world they are equivalent - but they are not the same thing at all!

Unknown said...

Hi Peter, I did like Ian Paul's little piece, highlighted the importance of wrestling and trying to rightly express scriptural standards in dealing with divorce and remarriage. I may have a few differences, but on the whole very sensible I thought.
I was also pretty impressed with CofE's 'marriage after divorce' leaflet that their marriage website (linked to by Paul) linked through to - it seems to put on the table from the start the seriousness of the issue, which is something that I think we could perhaps encourage more in ACANZP. And at the same time it still seeks to deal with it in a pastoral tone and encourages pastoral dealing with it by ministers, which is the right way to do it I think within doctrines, liturgies and boundaries of practise that try to reflect a biblical understanding of divorce and remarriage. Quite impressed with CofE at that juncture!

One little comment I can't resist Ron - I think there are a fair number of Anglo-Catholics, especially in provinces other than ours, of a more traditional bent (who I would guess would claim they are true Anglo-Catholics in the tradition of JH Newman et al) who would want to take issue with your statement about becoming used to pastoral adjustments such as these! But I agree with hoping for the Royal couple to remain faithful - and even better, to find true faith in the faithful One! (maybe they already have such true faith, but it would seem not - and if they do, may it deepen!)

God bless

Andrei said...

Following on from Fr Bosco's "As for Revd. Dr Ian Paul's misunderstanding of Eastern Orthodoxy, that is not unusual in the West. The first marriage in Orthodoxy is sacramental, a subsequent marriage is penitential. It is not a properly ecclesial marriage. It has a different rite. Reception of the sacraments for people so married is also permitted in Orthodoxy by way of tolerance (often today termed "economy")."

The curious thing here is that if this was an Orthodox situation i.e. Prince Harry was Orthodox rather than Anglican then the sacramental first marriage rite would be in order since he has never been married and his intended wife has presumably never had a sacramental marriage rather a civil one

Also noting that she is not, as yet, a baptized Christian though that is about to be rectified (this too being a prerequisite for a sacramental Church wedding) .

James said...

It's interesting to use the Royal Family and the evolution of attitudes towards divorce over the past few decades as a microcosm to how our attitudes towards marriage, divorce and remarriage have also moved. I also liked Ian Paul's piece clearly articulating the current attitude / law towards HRH Prince Harrying marrying a divorcee.

In 1936, King Edward VIII abdicated rather than try and square the circle of being head of the church and married to a divorcee. However, today the CoE has evolved its understanding of divorce and remarriage to the extent that Prince Charles will become head of the church despite not only being a divorcee himself, but also married to a divorcee. Similarly, Prince Harry remains in the line of succession despite marrying a divorcee.

I note that the church did not marry HRH Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall (only blessing them) as they were each involved in their previous marriage breakups, so that makes their marriage anomalous to the Duke of Windsor and HRH Prince Harry.

So was the CoE scripturally wrong in 1936, or are they wrong now? I think Chris Spark hits in on the head with his earlier comment that local ministers with a more intimate pastoral approach dealing with the situatio0n is the best way to go - heavy handed outright bans on remarriage (as in 1936) neglect to take into account repentance and forgiveness, or the circumstances of individuals involved.

I'd also note that 'the establishment's' refusal to allow HRH Princess Margeret to marry the divorcee GPCAPT Peter Townsend was a shameful neglect of their pastoral duties to these two individuals, with resulting unhappiness and bitterness especially for HRH Princess Margeret. Especially given that GPCAPT Townsend's divorce was due to his wife's alleged adultery, and therefore his divorce seems to be permitted in Scripture.

Jean said...

I have to say before reading the linked article my first thought was it might have had a bit to do with the little dalliance between Camilla and Prince Charles while she was still married...

The missing information of course is also we know little about the bride to be (e.g. why her first marriage ended, her faith convictions etc..) so it puts the generic 'us' in a place of being only able to comment with supposition.


David Wilson said...

I have a personal interest in this in that two years ago I married (for the first time, aged 61) a divorced woman (and gained three teenage step-children!). What Ian Paul does not say is that a minister can decide that he or she will not permit the remarriage of divorcees in the parish. That is the case for our parish, so we had a civil marriage, followed by what is commonly called a 'blessing', but more properly called 'a service of prayer and dedication following civil marriage'. For those not paying reasonably close attention, it can seem like the standard Common Worship marriage service, but there are differences. Most importantly, there is penitence expressed in the liturgy.

I feel that this is a good compromise. I know from personal experience that remarriage can be redemptive. However, there does need to be some public acknowledgement of the falling short of the nature of marriage as life-long.

We discussed this in PCC some years ago (not that it is a PCC choice), and some were concerned for those coming forward for marriage whose circumstances would not preclude remarriage. However, my view is that it creates huge ethical and pastoral issues for the minister if they are the one who has to decide yes or no on the circumstances of the couple facing him. It would be hard to say to a couple, "yes, we do sometimes remarry divorcees, but in your case, I'm afraid we cannot."

My concern for Meghan is that she was married for a short time, but divorced only 4 years ago, which is actually quite a short time.

Some more tongue-in-cheek observations:

- Henry VIII sought annulment of his marriage, which is the Roman Church's option for those influential enough. It was political rather than theological considerations which prevented it being granted.

- Having recently watched 'The Crown', I'm surprised that the prospect of a royal marrying an American Divorcee has not created more disquiet.

- At least +Pete (acting Bishop of London) has managed to hold his tongue this time.

Andrei said...

There are no analogies between Edward VIII's abdication over Wallis Simpson nor with the situation involving Charles and Camilla and Prince Harry marrying Meghan Markle.

Edward VIII always was a playboy with a penchant for having affairs with other men's wives. When he took up with Wallis Simpson she was still married to her second husband who she divorced in order to marry him

Both Charles and Camilla had an affair while they were still married to other people and two marriages were destroyed as a result

Princess Margaret also began her relationship with Group Captain Townsend when he was married to another

On the other hand Meghan Markle's short lived marriage was over long before she ever met Prince Harry...

There is a big distinction here and Great Britain dodged a bullet when Edward VIII abdicated - he would have been a terrible King.

In any case it is hard to imagine a situation arising that will lead her to becoming the consort to the King of England

As a matter of History George IV was probably a bigamist and treated his consort extremely badly. He was a terrible king and died unmourned by all

George III on the other hand had a model marriage and was devoted to his wife - it was considered unusual in his time that he never took a mistress

Human relationships are messy - we have our ideals and some like George III come close to meeting those ideals and other don't

Father Ron Smith said...

" However, today the CoE has evolved its understanding of divorce and remarriage to the extent that Prince Charles will become head of the church despite not only being a divorcee himself but also married to a divorcee."
- James -

I wouldn't bank on that, James. His Royal Highness Prince Charles may yet revoke that honorific granted to Henry VIII 'Fidei Defensor' as being the Defender of Christianity only. He seemingly will want to be called a Defender of Faiths (plural) in a multi-Faith society such as England now has become.

Thank you, Andrei, for reminding us all that there is only One God, whom we Christians worship as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who, together with the Holy Spirit, is the God and Father of ALL people, not just a sect.

And, Chris, I do agree that there are more strict Anglo-Catholics who regard themselves as 'more Catholic than the Pope' But I am not one of them.

Father Ron Smith said...

"The real crisis facing Anglicanism is that Anglicans are not raising a new generation of Anglicans in Anglican families who will be faithful Anglicans from cradle to grave." - Andrei -

Andrei, I delight in sparring with you on this weblog. I recognise your Orthodox faithfulness and thank God for it. However, on this matter that you refer to here; I have to wonder whether the ultra-conservative churches today have anything attractive to offer to well-educated younger people whose lives are much more open to other ideologies.

Not only Anglicans are suffering the loss of thinking youngsters. All of us find it difficult to encourage our young to consider the discipline of a loving, faithful relationship within a Church that can seem so life-denying in its attitudes to sectors of society that are in any way 'different' from the traditional mainstream.

Our young people long for justice, integrity, and openness to new, exciting discoveries in the scientific age that we are now experiencing; while the Church often seems locked into a mediaeval understanding of 'oughts and shoulds' that no longer resonate with the modern generation. I, personally, love the beauty of 'tradition' but we need to be more open to the 'wisdom' inherent in our young, whose consciences are not immune to social injustice.

Andrei said...

" I have to wonder whether the ultra-conservative churches today have anything attractive to offer to well-educated younger people whose lives are much more open to other ideologies. "

Strangely enough it is the young who are attending the Latin Mass Fr Ron

You do this caricature of the Church as THOU SHALT NOT ...!. Which it is not. The Church teaches there are consequences for sin, which there are.

Does a broken marriage bring happiness? Or are you more likely to find fulfillment and contentment in a strong family.

It is a no brainer Fr Ron - commit adultery, obtain immediate gratification and destroy your family or forgo whatever ephemeral pleasure you may derive from this sin and watch your children and grandchildren thrive

The Church is full of wisdom, the Bible is a repository of Wisdom - the Wisdom of the ages

Actually the modern world is far more puritanical than the Church ever was.

We are continually being hectored about eating too much sugar, McDonalds, salt, meat, driving too fast, killing polar bears by using energy, bashing our "partners" (even though we don't). Even to suggest promiscuous homosexual behaviour spreads disease with empirical evidence to support that contention can lead you into trouble...

How many men are coming unstuck these days over "sexual harassment" a crime that can be redefined so far down as to include an off color joke told more than twenty years ago it seems.

The Church, Fr Ron, recognizes peoples weaknesses and failings and helps them overcome them, grow beyond them

Church is not about being entertained on Sunday morning, nor being hectored about sin. It is about connecting with God, that we may be healed and live lives pleasing to him

And you know this because like me you put the sacrament at the heart of Sunday worship, the central feature

Glen Young said...

Hi Ron,

I to long for justice and integrity; and that is what causes me to take the stand you don't agree with.The ACANZP was gifted much land and monies,
for the mission of proclaiming the Doctrine of Her Constitution (both 1857 & 1992);but now wants to preach a new message,that is at odds with Her True Gospel. I fail to see the justice or integrity in doing so.

The Church is locked into the only place and time it can be; 30 to 33 AD, where it was established in the Ministry of Christ.

Father Ron Smith said...

Glen, I think you have the wrong priorities here in your last statement at 4.49pm.
The primary mission for Anglicans is not to "proclaim the Doctrine of the Church's Constitutions" (either 1857 or 1992), but to proclaim the Message of Christ's Salvation. Our Faith lies in Jesus Christ as portrayed in the Catholic Creeds, not in any humanly conceived understanding of the rules of engagement in the propagationm of ther Gospel.

We are not 'saved' by Constitutions - however meaningful to our particular faith communities - but by the Mercy and Love shown to us by Almighty God - by virtue of the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Sole Redeemer.

David Wilson said...

Ian Paul has now published his post on his own blog:

and in that the sentence "Christians debated the question of remarriage after divorce for the first 1,000 years after Jesus," links to:

Worth a read, in my view.

Glen Young said...

Hi Ron,

Abiding by the Constitution just might "save" the ACANZP leadership from being accused of fraud; ie. accepting donations for one purpose and using them for another.

I am interested in where you get your message of Salvation from; if it is not from the Doctrine of the ACANZP, as defined in Her Constitution. Fundamental Provision 1:"The ACASNZP doth hold and maintain the Doctrine and Sacraments of Christ as the LORD hath commanded in His Holy Word and as the Church hath received the same in ........(Her Formularies)..... General Synod shall also hold and maintain the said Doctrines and Sacraments of Christ and have no power to alter the Doctrine or Formularies".

Article V1 "Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation".
Article V111 "Of the three Creeds".
Article X1 "Of the Justification of Man".
Article X11 "Of Good Works".
Article X111 "Of Works before Justification".
Article X1V "Of Works of Supererogation".
Article XV111 "Of obtaining eternal Salvation only by the Name of Christ".

If Christ's Glorious Gospel of Salvation is not spelt out clearly in that Doctrine,perhaps you could go back to Google.

Father Ron Smith said...

I'm afraid not even the 39 Artifacts will save you, Glen.
Most Christians around the world have never heard of them. How will they get on?
"In Christ alone is our salvation!"

Anonymous said...

Hi Ron,

Don't you have any members in your congregation, that you preach to the choir?Do you think I am so uneducated that I do not accept the Scriptures?

The Doctrine of the ACANZP, which General Synod, ALL Bishops and All Priests are required to Hold and Maintain;is the "WORD of GOD" as explained in the Formularies, (including the 39 Articles). This is the Authority to which all Priests and others sign a submission to.Any Priest who has a problem with this Doctrine should not sign a submission to it, and find a Church with which they are happy.

That Doctrine contains the GLORIOUS GOSPEL OF SALVATION in CHRIST and THROUGH CHRIST and CHRIST ALONE. The seven Articles I pointed out (at 10.03)
explain ,along with the BofCP and the Ordinals; spell out quite succinctly, the Doctrine which the ACANZP is required to hold and maintain.The aim of the 39 Articles was to stop errant Priests from going out on tangents and preaching heresies. They are not there as an alternative to the Scriptures.

Nor am I suggesting that the 39 Articles are any more necessary to Salvation than the BofCP or the Ordinals.If any one has not heard of them,so what. But they form a vital part in defining legitimate ACANZP Doctrine.

Anonymous said...

Hi Glen,

Curiosity bids me ask four not unfriendly questions.

(1) What, if anything, assures that ACANZP's constitution can never conflict with God's will?

(2) Could it ever be right for someone to object to God that he was obliged by the said constitution to do the ACANZPly thing rather than the apparently godly thing?

(3) Why do you answer (2) as you do?

(4) How does a new Christian get from new faith in Jesus Christ to belief in the constitution of ACANZP?

These questions are not rhetorical. Good answers to them could conflict. But I wonder what you think. Thank you for your thoughts on this.


Glen Young said...

Hi Bowman,

Thank you for your questions which I shall try to answer from a layman's
(1) The non-Fundamental clauses may well come into conflict with God's will.
They can be legally altered by due processes which are spelt out in the Constitution itself and the Church of England Empowering Act 1928.The Fundamental Clauses define the Doctrine and Sacraments of Christ as commanded by the LORD in His Holy Word, and the Church has explained in The Book of Common Prayer,The Ordinals and the 39 Articles.No one has the authority or power to alter these Provisions.General Synod must also Hold and Maintain that Doctrine and Sacraments.
(2) The Constitution is only binding upon those who are under submission to General Synod. It is not addressed to the layman unless they are on G.S.
It is there to empower do certain things in administering the Church and to prohibit them doing other things.In short,it is there to keep their eyes on the God Given Mission for the Church. I think that the present accusation is, that some of us are hindering the Church from doing the godly thing of bringing social justice and compassion into play; by our attitude to the Scriptures and the Constitution.
(3) The Constitution is not part of the Doctrine of the ACANZP,but only defines it.The Scriptures are the Doctrine; and the formularies only give acceptable interpretations of them. A number of Bishops have failed in their
leadership and hence this false notion of the ACANZP being a "Broad Church".
(4) The Doctrine of the ACANZP,as defined in Her Constitution, is simply what any priest should be teaching people as the basis of their faith.The ACANZP Formularies are just part of the Church that N.Z. Anglicans have come
to fellowship in;

Anonymous said...


Thanks for your link.

In his articles, Thomas Renz’s magic trick is accomplished by misdirecting to the usual Western misunderstanding of Eastern Orthodoxy, and the core of the trick is expressed well by Anglican Rev. Charles Dodgson: “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” So: hey presto – remarrying divorcees was strictly forbidden – now it’s about half the people married in the Anglican Church!

There is no real analysis of why Anglicanism switched from the situation where “the Church of England adopted the most stringent practice in all of Christendom” to accepting, in our province, people can be married any number of times in church (the maximum I am aware of is seven marriages with partners still alive, so far).

[Hint: whatever way you lie with your statistics – the church could survive with its stringent approach in the days when heterosexuals (the vast majority of the Church) mostly stayed in their marriages. Those days have gone].



Bryden Black said...

David Wilson @ December 1, 2017 at 1:12 AM is quite correct: H VIII sought an annulment, not a divorce. And furthermore, it was not forthcoming from Clement VII due to Catherine of Aragon having some powerful relatives. She was the aunt of Charles of Netherlands and Spain, who also had states in Italy. I paraphrase: “You grant an annulment, and I’ll wreck havoc with your papal states!”
It seems Henry was not the only one playing realpolitik here ...