Standing with the Sydney Anglican Bishops in their relentless crusade against any Services of Blessing for Same-Sex Marriage Blessings in the Australian Anglican Church, Tasmania’s Evangelical Anglican bishop, Richard Condie, expresses his own anger by calling the result of a failed motion ‘Fundamentally Awry’.
The very word ‘Fundamentalist’ applies to his (and the Sydney bishops’) reluctance to admit the FACT that civilised society has moved on from the culture of rampant institutional homophobia and misogyny; towards the more eirenic and just, social recognition of the common human rights of LGBTQI people, whose fundamental right to exist has, hitherto, been threatened in a patriarchal and sexist environment occupied by crusaders of the Conservative/Evangelical wing of the Church which is most evident at Moore College and the Sydney Diocese.
To accuse the Australian General Synod’s bishops (who rejected the Archbishop of Sydney’s proposal to veto any possible move towards the Blessing of Same-Sex Marriages conducted by the State) of leading the Church into a ‘perilous position’, is a code for the fact that most of the Australian Anglican Church’s bishops in the Australian General Synod did not fall for Sydney’s blatant call for a continuing ethos of homophobia and sexism, such as is still upheld in the Sydney Diocese.
It may not be generally known that Bishop Condie came to New Zealand recently with another bishop, from the Sydney Diocese, hoping specifically to convince our own New Zealand Anglican bishops that it would be theologically dangerous to enact a proposed opening up to the Blessing of Same-Sex Civil Marriage Couples in our churches.
Our New Zealand bishops, however, aware of the pastoral need for such a measure – and aware of the fact that most N.Z. Anglicans no longer harbour the culture of homophobia – went ahead with consenting to a measure that would allow our clergy (with their local bishop’s express permission) to go ahead with a Service of Blessing that would meet the pastoral needs of a Christian couple already legally married by the State authority. (n.b. unless the couple were Christians, why would they bother to even seek the Blessing of God in the church?)
Shortly after ACANZP made the decision to allow for the Blessing of Same Sex Married Couples, these same bishops from Australia were present in Christchurch, New Zealand, for the ordination of an ex-Anglican minister to become the bishop of a breakaway Anglican Church here by the Chair of the Gafcon, Foley Beech, who also happens to be the Primate of the schismatic ACNA in the U.S.A.
Whether the Sydney diocese will now break away from the parent provincial Anglican Church in Australia over this issue of S/S Blessings is yet to be seen. If it does happen, then the Sydney Diocese (and maybe the Anglican Church in Tasmania) will become just one more province of the conservative evangelical fellowship of the Gafcon – which (despite claims to be ‘orthodox Anglican’) no longer claims Eucharistic Fellowship within the official Anglican Church centred around the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lambeth Conference.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand
‘Fundamentally awry’: bishops block move to reject same-sex marriage – though stopping short of
“A statement from the evangelical Bishop of Tasmania, Richard Condie, said ‘many people were visibly shocked. There were tears and confusion in the room … a number of orthodox bishops are concerned about the implications for our common life and work in the days ahead.’
Straight after the vote, a shocked [Archbishop Kanishka] Raffel said the failure to support the statement left the church in ‘a perilous position, and no-one should be mistaken about that’…”
– The Sydney Morning Herald’s report by Jordan Baker includes these reactions to the failure of the House of Bishops to uphold clear Biblical standards.
Photo: Richard Condie, Bishop of Tasmania.