News for Week Ending 2/28/2011
Covenant opponents publish new material, decry unbridled advocacyModern Church, an English advocacy group “that promotes liberal Christian theology,” has recently added new material opposing adoption of the Anglican Covenant and specifically aimed at the covenant discussion within the Church of England. The latest pages on the Modern Church Web site supplement an already extensive section (“A very un-Anglican Covenant”) dedicated to Covenant opposition. Meanwhile, the No Anglican Covenant Coalition has issued a press release calling for “fair process and honest debate.” The Coalition cites one-sided advocacy of Covenant adoption by the Church of England hierarchy and the publication of biased “educational” material concerning the covenant by the Anglican Communion Office. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.)
Church continues to oppose liberalized British civil partnership lawThe Guardian published a strong editorial February 28, 2011, criticizing the Church of England and the Roman Catholic church for opposing a plan by the government to allow same-sex, civil partnership registrations to be held in religious buildings. Currently, the events are banned from churches, etc., even though some religious groups, such as the Quakers, would like to host them. The government has no plans to force any religious organization to host such registrations. (See Church Times article here.) According to The Telegraph, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has been adamant in insisting that marriage is between a man and a woman and that he would not bow to pressure to conduct civil partnership ceremonies in Church of England buildings.
Deposed Episcopal priest avoids jail time for no-contest pleaDeposed Episcopal priest Donald Armstrong was sentenced to four years probation, $99,247 in restitution, and 400 hours of community service unrelated to his current Convocation of Anglicans in North America church for a no-contest misdemeanor theft plea. Armstrong’s probation, imposed by Colorado judge Gregory R. Werner, will run concurrently with a four-year deferred sentence he received last year in a no-contest plea agreement on a felony theft charge. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Details of the sentence are available in stories from The Gazette of Colorado Springs and The Colorado Springs Independent Newsweekly. Both stories link to additional material on the case.
S.C. amends constitution; cites Title IV revisionsThe Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina passed, on second reading, several constitutional amendments weakening its ties to The Episcopal Church. The action came at its annual convention held February 18–19, 2011, held in Beaufort, S.C. Ostensibly, the changes were occasioned by the revised disciplinary canons of The Episcopal Church. (A new Title IV, which contains canons related to clergy discipline, take effect on July 1, 2011. The revised Title IV was passed by the 2009 General Convention.) The S.C. changes gut accession to the canons of The Episcopal Church, localize clergy discipline, and make it easier to amend the diocese’s constitution.
Several people involved in creating the new Title IV have launched a Web site, the Title IV Resource Site, which offers a 9-page justification of the constitutionality of the new canons, as well as procedural flowcharts to explain the new disciplinary process.
The Living Church reported on the South Carolina actions February 23, 2011. More information about the Title IV controversy can be found in a story from Episcopal News Service.