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Source: (consider it) Thread: Church, state, and marriage
Angloid
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# 159

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quote:
Originally posted by Michael Astley:
because this state church has a low sacramental view of Holy Matrimony, and would have no qualms about recognising for Christian purposes a civil wedding performed by a registrar in a register office.

I would argue that to recognise a civil marriage could just as well imply a 'high' sacramental view. The couple are the ministers, their vows are sacramental whether or not a priest of the church is present.

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Angloid
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# 159

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quote:
Originally posted by Zacchaeus:
It is only in the CofE where the priest is automatically the registrar too.

And it has to be a priest legally recognised by the C of E. In other words, a visiting American Episcopalian will not do; his/her orders must be recognised by the English bishop (so a priest, male or female, ordained by a female bishop is not accepted) and s/he must have the bishop's licence.

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Josephine

Orthodox Belle
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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Morlader:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Zacchaeus:
[qb] Is my wife, who the hospital know nothing about and who lives more than "a sabbath day's journey" away, still legally my next of kin?

I am not a lawyer, and you don't live in England, but as far as I know here in England that's almost certainly the case. And even if it isnt, as Michael said, there is a huge potential for trouble and grief. Over hospital decisions, inheritance, and all sorts of other things.
I had an uncle in that situation, and when he was incapacitated by a stroke, and lost the power of speech, it indeed caused all manner of trouble and grief. I would urge anyone in a relationship that is legally irregular to consult a lawyer and, if the relationship can't be regularized, to do enough paperwork to minimize the risk of grief.

My uncle had done the paperwork necessary in the event of his death, but he didn't do the paperwork necessary in the event of disability.

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Morlader
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# 16040

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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Morlader:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Zacchaeus:
[qb] Is my wife, who the hospital know nothing about and who lives more than "a sabbath day's journey" away, still legally my next of kin?

I am not a lawyer, and you don't live in England, but as far as I know here in England that's almost certainly the case. And even if it isnt, as Michael said, there is a huge potential for trouble and grief. Over hospital decisions, inheritance, and all sorts of other things.
Thanks Ken. And thanks Michael. We come under the laws of England here so the three of us have a problem. Our arrangements suit us, we are all on good terms with each other and inheritance has been legally sorted - from when I was not expected to last long ...
I shall take legal advice, but it does seem to be uneccessary, and potentially expensive and painful, state interference in our 'arrangements'.
Thanks again.

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frin

Drinking coffee for Jesus
# 9

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quote:
Originally posted by Josephine:
Perhaps the couple have been living together for 25+ years. He wants to marry; she doesn't. He proposes regularly. She regularly declines. Then she develops terminal cancer. They take steps to protect him from the effects of her medical debt -- they don't want him to be homeless as well as alone after she dies. A couple of years down the road, she's in hospice, and may die at any time. And she says she wants to marry him before she dies.

At that point, it might very well take too long to do the paperwork for a legal marriage.

It can take a bit less than 24 hours for a registrar to arrange a wedding for a couple where one is about to die in the UK. A strict demarcation of civil ceremonies as non-religious would mean that it could not have any religious aspect to such a ceremony - including prayer, religious songs, religious symbols. It would of course, as you say, rewrite their legal and financial arrangements immediately. As an aside, the idea of needing to protect a loved one from your medical debt is deeply shocking. Gosh.

The idea of a religious wedding which is not recognised by the state is not a concept I come across in the UK. There are religious communities which are not registered to perform marriages who would therefore offer a wedding ceremony which would necessarily be separate from the act of marrying in the eyes of the state. I have not personally come across an instance of this where the civil ceremony did not also take place.

'frin

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"Even the crocodile looks after her young" - Lamentations 4, remembering Erin.

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The Scrumpmeister
Ship’s Taverner
# 5638

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Morlander, you're very welcome. I hope things work out with a minimum of angst.

quote:
Originally posted by Triple Tiara:
The Catholic Church's position on marriage is akin to what Michael describes, although we are not quite as separatist about the rest of humanity as he implies ("they are no more married than the owl and the pussy cat"). The Catholic Church accepts as valid marriages - marriages according to nature - those contracted in other religions and even in civil registers, where these comply with the essential nature of marriage. The Catholic Church does not set itself up against those and regard them all as invalid unless and until they are performed in a Catholic Church. Should two Anglicans marry and subsequently become Catholics, their marriage is not affected by their conversion. They are married.

Ok. Yes. I admit to overstating the case to emphasise my point that there is a distinction.

I think the ultimate result of our slightly different approaches is much the same. Generally, we don't comment on what happens outside the Church or the nature of unions outside of it. We would properly only say that we cannot recognise it as a Christian Sacrament of Matrimony. If a Methodist-Anglican couple were to marry and they were later to become Orthodox, while I am sure they would be able to have an Orthdox wedding if they wished, I don't think I know of any bishop who would insist on it in his diocese. It would be seen as being covered by economy. That, however, says nothing about it prior to their entering the Orthodox Church other than that there is a union of sorts in the first place to work with.

quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Thanks for the clarification - and that's exactly where we disagree. I believe that the biblical evidence is that a 'secular' marriage is a marriage in God's eyes.

1) Paul tells people married before they were Christians to stay together

You're welcome. Thank you, as well, for laying out your understanding so clearly.

I think that the exhortation to those married before conversion to stay together is just pastoral good sense, and in fact emphasises what I said before, about the life in the Church drawing people into the fullness of life in Christ, marriage included. The Body of Christ is the channel for such unions, and for the theosis of those involved therein.

quote:
2) Jesus uses the passage in Genesis about them 'becoming one flesh' of, in effect, secular marriages. That's when the 'creation ordinance' was ordained.
I confess to not being well versedin the culture of the time but, having re-read Mark 10 and Matthew 19, it seems that it was the Pharisees who raised the question. I assume that it was religious weddings that were being discussed. This suggests to me that this was the Church of the Old Covenant rather than someting secular.

quote:
3) Similarly the phrase about 'one flesh' is used by Paul of the relationship created with a prostitute - there's nothing especially 'Christian' about it.
Ok. I don't think this necessarily undoes the distinction between what happens in law and what happens sacramentally in Church.

I am glad that civil marriage exists in our society: that two people can enter into a legal arangement with social support, and I think that Christian married couples should certainly take part in both, but I just don't see the two as the same, and leaving aside for the time being questions of what I believe actually is, I also see problems with conflating the two. Your example about the situation in Greece and the big to-do about same-sex civil marriage are just two. I'm sure there are others.

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If Christ is not fully human, humankind is not fully saved. - St John of Saint-Denis

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The Scrumpmeister
Ship’s Taverner
# 5638

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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
quote:
Originally posted by Michael Astley:
because this state church has a low sacramental view of Holy Matrimony, and would have no qualms about recognising for Christian purposes a civil wedding performed by a registrar in a register office.

I would argue that to recognise a civil marriage could just as well imply a 'high' sacramental view. The couple are the ministers, their vows are sacramental whether or not a priest of the church is present.
The hole in that argument, though, is that this particularly Latin doctrinal understanding belongs specifically to the Roman Catholic church - not even the Eastern Catholic churches with which it is in communion hold to the same view - and even the RC church does not recognise such marriages as a Christian sacrament.

Other churches may now adopt this terminology of the bride and bridegroom being the "ministers of the sacrament" when it comes to marriage, even if talking in terms of defining who the minister is in each sacrament is usually out of character for them and they don't do it for any other sacrament. This would suggest to my cynical side that they have adopted it in this particular instance not because they generally hold to a high sacramental view but because it provides a non-confrontational solution to the question of how, from their inclusive perspective, to deal with a wedding between two agnostics performed by an atheist registrar, as an example.

The obvious answer that it isn't to be accepted as the Christian Sacrament of Holy Matrimony would be unthinkable from that pespective.

[ 16. May 2012, 15:40: Message edited by: Michael Astley ]

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If Christ is not fully human, humankind is not fully saved. - St John of Saint-Denis

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leo
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# 1458

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quote:
Originally posted by Zacchaeus:
Ok being a reader is a licensed public office and has selection processes and 3 year accredited training from the wider church. It is also be publically sanctioned by the diocesan bishop. So the criteria for readreship are stricter than for churchwardens.

Churchwardens are elected by the local community annually and they only critieria for them is that they are a 'fit and proper person' according to charity law. Also that they are church of England communicants.

There election depends on the local people thinking they are acceptible. It is not a public leadership or worhip office and so sexuality may not be an issue - that depends on the views of the local congregation.

Not wishing to start a tangent but cannot let this pass - Readers are LAYpeople and Issues In Human Sexuality allows lay people to enter into gay relationships if it is in accord with their consciences. Some bishops misinterpret this and withdraw licenses but they shouldn't.

On the other hand, i know of a lesbian-in-relationship churchwarden who was democratically elected at an APCM but vetoed by her incumbent.

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My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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leo
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# 1458

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quote:
Originally posted by Morlader:
quote:
Originally posted by Zacchaeus:
Yes but most people who are in a permanant relationship would want to be the one who is considered as the legal next of kin.

For example, they would want be the one who was consulted about the turning off a life support machine. Without the legal marriage this is not the case.
I can see from what geraldine says there may be people who don't mind about the legal bits, but by and large most people would want to be the one that was to be consulted about their loved ones life.

Sorry for the tangent, but could a medical shipmate comment, please? I have been admitted to hospital several times in the past couple of years and I have given my partner of 22 years as my next of kin with absolutely no problem/comment from the person filling in the admission documentation. Is my wife, who the hospital know nothing about and who lives more than "a sabbath day's journey" away, still legally my next of kin? How would the hospital know to consult her about life support etc?
Depends where you are. In the UK, they'd prioritise your wife. Unless you get a divorce and then have a civil partnership.

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My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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Rosa Gallica officinalis
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# 3886

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Continuing the tangent. Apparently 'Next of kin' is like 'common law wife'not a legally defined comcept concept in English law. According to the Advice Now webpage you can nominate whoever you choose to be your next of kin.

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Ender's Shadow
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# 2272

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quote:
Originally posted by Michael Astley:
quote:
2) Jesus uses the passage in Genesis about them 'becoming one flesh' of, in effect, secular marriages. That's when the 'creation ordinance' was ordained.
I confess to not being well versedin the culture of the time but, having re-read Mark 10 and Matthew 19, it seems that it was the Pharisees who raised the question. I assume that it was religious weddings that were being discussed. This suggests to me that this was the Church of the Old Covenant rather than someting secular.

Why on earth do you assume that it relates only to religious marriages? The Pharisees turn up and ask for Jesus' teaching on a topic of hot discussion at the time in the Jewish 'academy'. He answers by referring to the origin of marriage in the original creation story, and establishes THAT as the gold standard to which to conform. He then says of their religious marriages:
quote:
Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.
Mt 19:8-9
So FROM THE BEGINNING the ideal was no divorce and remarriage. That's what the creation ordinance is about. And that's why the church - as the visible representative ('priest'!) of the Creator on earth - has a special role in declaring the true nature of marriage against the states that want to mess with it.

--------------------
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Josephine

Orthodox Belle
# 3899

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This is worth reading. It briefly describes the role of the Protestant reformation in redefining marriage.

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ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by Josephine:
This is worth reading. It briefly describes the role of the Protestant reformation in redefining marriage.

Unfortunately the author is ignorant of the history of marriage in English-speaking countries, so the article is nonsense as far as we are concerned. It might well be true of Germany or France or Italy, I don't know.

Both before and after the Reformation most people in England did NOT get married in church. Marriage was considered to be between the couple. Any religious minister was a witness to it, not the person who performed it. There was such a thing as Christian marriage, it was often considered an ideal, but it was by no means either compulsory or universal. Church weddings were useful for people with property to be able to establish that a marriage had taken place (for inheritance and so on) but not relevant to most.

The rich tended to marry privately in front of a clergyman, the poor tended to marry publically, often in a pub. As in many places clergy were the only literate people it was useful to get one to witness the wedding and record it in case of future disputes, but they did not make the marriage valid in the eyes of the law. In early moidern times, especially the late 17th and early 18th century there was a notorious trade in clandestine weddings. There were corrupt clergy who would witness a marriage for a fee, in private houses, in public houses, sometimes even in brothels. It was one way for a clergyman who had lost his living to make ends meet.

In Protestant England the government did NOT nationalise marriage at the Reformation. They hardly changed anything about the law of marriage. They did not regulate marriage till the 1750s, when (amiong other things) they tried to maake church weddings compulsory, which they had never been in Catholic times. The exact opposite of what that web page claims. Civil registration of marriage didn't come in in England till the 19th century. Far from a side-effect of the Reformation, it came at a time of Catholic revival, and one of the reasons it was introduced was that Catholics wanted to legitimise their marriages without involving Protestant ministers.

The article is plain wrong.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
On the other hand, i know of a lesbian-in-relationship churchwarden who was democratically elected at an APCM but vetoed by her incumbent.

I woudln't want to encourage a stereotype - but if every lesbian churchwarden in the Diocese of Southwark had been kicked out of their job, most of our churches would have rotted away decades ago.

Not that those stern but caring old women ever called themselves lesbian. Well, not in public, anyway.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by Rosa Gallica officinalis:
Continuing the tangent. Apparently 'Next of kin' is like 'common law wife'not a legally defined comcept concept in English law. According to the Advice Now webpage you can nominate whoever you choose to be your next of kin.

Not if you are unconscious and bleeding to death in the street after a car hits you you can't.

Which is why, if you think you are every likely to want to, it probably makes sense to put it in writing and get it witnessed in some way.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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SvitlanaV2
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# 16967

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quote:
Originally posted by frin:


The idea of a religious wedding which is not recognised by the state is not a concept I come across in the UK. There are religious communities which are not registered to perform marriages who would therefore offer a wedding ceremony which would necessarily be separate from the act of marrying in the eyes of the state. I have not personally come across an instance of this where the civil ceremony did not also take place.

It's an interesting point. Maybe having a legally binding marriage offers the kind of social respectability that a religious marriage within a new sect doesn't. However, considering that so many British couples happily do without marriage altogether, it's ironic that Christian couples from new churches or religious groups should go to the trouble of having two ceremonies, just to cover all bases!

In France, perhaps having a religious ceremony but avoiding the legal one may be more commonplace. I once knew a French lady whose stepdaughter married a Muslim in a religious ceremony, but didn't bother with the legal ceremony. Practicing French Catholics have a reputation for being socially conservative, so perhaps they almost always have a legal ceremony as well, but maybe it's different for other religious groups.

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Mockingale
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# 16599

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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
quote:
Originally posted by Mockingale:
In the United States, a minister has the power by law to process a a civil marriage, as do most judges, court clerks, and notaries. American law does not (indeed, could not, thanks to the First Amendment) force upon religious ministers the obligation to marry any person who comes before them, regardless of the requirements of that minister's religion.

The accuracy of this statement depends on what you mean by "process". Most American states consider clergy to be legitimate witnesses to the signing of the state-issued marriage license which makes a marriage legal in the U.S. Clergy cannot, absent such a license, perform, process or in any other way create a legally binding marriage.
It's a little confusing. Typically (states may vary and I can't speak for all of them) a couple goes down to the county courthouse or town clerk and requests a marriage license. They pay their $50 and sign papers saying that they are not currently married to someone else, or closely related to each other, and are of lawful age to enter into a marriage. The clerk then issues a marriage license.

The couple is not married at this point. The marriage must be "performed" by some person authorized by state law to preside over a marriage. This can be a priest, pastor, rabbi, judge, clerk, or even a notary in some cases. His or her job as far as the civil law is concerned is to ensure that the bride and groom properly consent to the marriage in conformity with state law and that the marriage is properly witnessed. The marriage must ALSO be witnessed by two outsiders to the marriage (e.g. friends of the bride and groom).

The minister is not merely a witness. He or she has specific state authority which authorizes him or her to give the marriage legal effect.

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Morlader
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# 16040

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quote:
Originally posted by Rosa Gallica officinalis:
Continuing the tangent. Apparently 'Next of kin' is like 'common law wife'not a legally defined comcept concept in English law. According to the Advice Now webpage you can nominate whoever you choose to be your next of kin.

Thank you for that link - very valuable. As the admission form is very clear and even asks for the relationship, I think the 'next of kin' IS the person who one specifies, at least where we live*. I don't think I need to take specific legal opinion on the point after all.

* By the way, "Morlader" (no 'n') is Cornish for "Pirate".

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the long ranger
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# 17109

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I'm no lawyer, but your situation is complex. I wouldn't ignore proper legal advice because you've clicked on a link or someone has said something on a website.

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"..into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” “But Rabbi, how can this happen for those who have no teeth?”
"..If some have no teeth, then teeth will be provided.”

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Not

Ship's Quack
# 2166

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On the next of kin issues there are possibly two concepts being mixed up here. In the UK 'next of kin' is whoever the patient says they are. Spouse, partner, family member, friend (I had a patient recently whose next of kin was his landlord). Equally, it is entirely up to a (competent) patient who they don't want given information. I have been in the very tricky situation before of patients forbidding me to give information about their condition to close family members or refusing to allow them to visit. I absolutely cannot breach their confidence in that situation.

However being next of kin does not, contrary to popular belief, give you any specific rights to information or decision making if the patient is unable to make decisions or communicate. The responsibility of the medical team then is to seek and take into account the views of those close to the patient on what the patient would want. That is where confusion can arise if there is conflict between family members both of whom claim to know what the patient's wishes would have been.

If you want to avoid that situation you can consider appointing your partner (or whoever you wish) as a health and welfare lasting power of attorney, in which case they do have the ability to make decisions on your behalf. Information here

Hope that's some help Morlader

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Was CJ; now Not

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Ender's Shadow
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# 2272

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quote:
Originally posted by Josephine:
This is worth reading. It briefly describes the role of the Protestant reformation in redefining marriage.

Hmm - what it fails to discuss is:

1) How the early Christians celebrated their marriages. Given that there was complex state matrimonial law in the Roman Empire, how did they fit into that.

2) Why Luther and Calvin argued that marriage is a matter for the state, not the church. Just assuming that those Reformers were wrong whilst the church that was burning their followers was right on the issue, whilst convenient, hardly makes for a coherent argument.

From a biblical perspective, it is perhaps interesting to consider whether marriage was a religious ceremony in the Old Testament. Given that the ONLY legitimate place for public religious events was the temple, and there is no suggestion that all weddings should be occurring there, it makes sense to suggest that Jewish weddings were secular occasions. At least worth a look! Given that, it makes the idea that Christian weddings are in some special way religious harder to sustain.

--------------------
Test everything. Hold on to the good.

Please don't refer to me as 'Ender' - the whole point of Ender's Shadow is that he isn't Ender.

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Josephine

Orthodox Belle
# 3899

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quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
quote:
Originally posted by Josephine:
This is worth reading. It briefly describes the role of the Protestant reformation in redefining marriage.

Hmm - what it fails to discuss is:

1) How the early Christians celebrated their marriages. Given that there was complex state matrimonial law in the Roman Empire, how did they fit into that.


Hmm. Well, according to Ken, it was worse than that. I'm not much of a historian. But, for your question, as best I can remember at the moment (with no books handy to verify anything in), the church part of a wedding involved the couple presenting themselves together for the Eucharist at a normal Sunday service. That was the church part. The legal/secular part was done the same way anyone else did it. (Or didn't -- lots of folks weren't entitled to be married, because of their social class or other impediments.)

quote:
2) Why Luther and Calvin argued that marriage is a matter for the state, not the church.

Were they arguing that Christians, and churches, didn't have anything to say regarding who could or couldn't get married, or what the rules should be? That it was, or should be, totally a secular thing?

quote:
From a biblical perspective, it is perhaps interesting to consider whether marriage was a religious ceremony in the Old Testament. Given that the ONLY legitimate place for public religious events was the temple, and there is no suggestion that all weddings should be occurring there, it makes sense to suggest that Jewish weddings were secular occasions. At least worth a look! Given that, it makes the idea that Christian weddings are in some special way religious harder to sustain.
Why? You could use that to make the case that Jewish weddings aren't (or weren't) religious. But what does that have to do with Christian weddings?

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I've written a book! Catherine's Pascha: A celebration of Easter in the Orthodox Church. It's a lovely book for children. Take a look!

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:


From a biblical perspective, it is perhaps interesting to consider whether marriage was a religious ceremony in the Old Testament. Given that the ONLY legitimate place for public religious events was the temple, and there is no suggestion that all weddings should be occurring there, it makes sense to suggest that Jewish weddings were secular occasions. At least worth a look! Given that, it makes the idea that Christian weddings are in some special way religious harder to sustain.

I've come across one Christian writer and church planter who seems to think that the concept of the 'church wedding' is somewhat absent from the NT. It's an interesting issue to consider, because over time Christians have developed a possessive view of marriage, and even civil marriages are somehow tainted with the whiff of marriage as a 'sacred' act, full of symbols. The fact that modern weddings are usually so expensive, even civil ones, suggests that we overburden marriage with complexity and contradiction - and perhaps all the more so for living in largely secular societies.
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orfeo

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Ken's comments definitely reflect what I have read a number of times - that only people with property to pass were involved in church weddings, and that everyone else would have a 'common law' marriage.

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tomsk
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English law (now Marriage Act 1949) provides that getting married according to the rites of the Church of England is to be married in the eyes of the law. So, so far as the C of E is concerned, you couldn't have a situation of being married in the eyes of the church but not of the law. If you didn't follow the rites of the C of E, you wouldn't be married in the eyes of either.

As others point out, there was a time when alternative means of getting married in the eyes of the law disappeared; since the 19th century new alternatives have been recognised.

With the same-sex marriage proposals, there is talk of creating a legal distinction between relilgious and civil marriage which doesn't exist in law at the moment.

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Honest Ron Bacardi
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CJ wrote
quote:
If you want to avoid that situation you can consider appointing your partner (or whoever you wish) as a health and welfare lasting power of attorney, in which case they do have the ability to make decisions on your behalf. Information here
Indeed. But I would advise you to get your skates on. It took the courts 15 months to process my mother's application to give me lasting power of attorney.

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Anglo-Cthulhic

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Honest Ron Bacardi
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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Ken's comments definitely reflect what I have read a number of times - that only people with property to pass were involved in church weddings, and that everyone else would have a 'common law' marriage.

"Only people with property" is a considerable overstatement I think, orfeo. I believe the point is that it was of particular benefit to them so they would be the ones most likely to conform. Plenty of other people with no great properties (including plenty of my antecedents) jumped through the hoops of church marriage.

Incidentally it is worth bearing in mind that understandings and practice of common law marriage vary quite widely in countries where it applied.

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Anglo-Cthulhic

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Moo

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quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
From a biblical perspective, it is perhaps interesting to consider whether marriage was a religious ceremony in the Old Testament. Given that the ONLY legitimate place for public religious events was the temple, and there is no suggestion that all weddings should be occurring there, it makes sense to suggest that Jewish weddings were secular occasions. At least worth a look! Given that, it makes the idea that Christian weddings are in some special way religious harder to sustain.

But there were also religious practices which place at home. The earliest prayer for a marriage is in the Apocryphal book of Tobit, which was probably written in the second century BC. Here is Tobit 8:5-8.
quote:
Tobias began by saying,
‘Blessed are you, O God of our ancestors,
and blessed is your name in all generations for ever.
Let the heavens and the whole creation bless you for ever.
You made Adam, and for him you made his wife Eve
as a helper and support.
From the two of them the human race has sprung.
You said, “It is not good that the man should be alone;
let us make a helper for him like himself.”
I now am taking this kinswoman of mine,
not because of lust,
but with sincerity.
Grant that she and I may find mercy
and that we may grow old together.’
And they both said, ‘Amen, Amen.’

Judaism was not just a matter of temple worship; it permeated life.

Moo

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Kerygmania host
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Ender's Shadow
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Yes, Moo, I quite accept that religious activity was a major part of Jewish life in OT times. But the absence of a specific procedure for weddings anywhere - at the temple or otherwise - indicates to me that they were not seen as a religious activity, rather they were seen as an ultimately secular occasion, to which a religious bit might, or might not, be attached. Note that there are laws about establishing that a woman was a virgin on her wedding night(!) but nothing about a religious service for the occasion. Remember, what I'm seeking to prove is that all marriages - whether Jewish or otherwise - count as a creation ordinance to which all humanity has access, NOT some special religious marriage to which only the people of God have a claim. I believe this offers support for that view contra the Catholic / Orthodox position.

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Test everything. Hold on to the good.

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Triple Tiara

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quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
I believe this offers support for that view contra the Catholic / Orthodox position.

Have you read my post above? I don't think you actually understand the Catholic position about which you are trying to be contra.

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I'm a Roman. You may call me Caligula.

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Ken's comments definitely reflect what I have read a number of times - that only people with property to pass were involved in church weddings, and that everyone else would have a 'common law' marriage.

"Only people with property" is a considerable overstatement I think, orfeo. I believe the point is that it was of particular benefit to them so they would be the ones most likely to conform. Plenty of other people with no great properties (including plenty of my antecedents) jumped through the hoops of church marriage.
Most people, even the poor, had some personal property. Though few owned land which is where the real legal hassle kicked in. (And still does in England, land ownership is the number one political thing that distinguishes Them from Us round here). And lots of people would had a church wedding.

The real point isn't that the poor didn't have church weddings - at least some of them did - but that the church was not neccessary to make a marriage valid in the eyes of the law. What was neccessary is that a man and a woman, neither married to anyone else, freely consented to marry each other before witnesses, and that the marriage was then consumated. The form of words was important (you had to say "I will" and not "I do" or anything else) but the witnesses did not strictly speaking have to be clergy, even though they often were.

Neither was the consent of parents required. Parents had no legal right to choose their children's spouses. Of course in practice they often did, especially for women, and the richer they were the more they tried to. By the time you get to great landowners and royalty, young women were effectively being moved around as pawns in their original version of the "Game of Thrones". But most people probably didn't do that.

And all that seems to have been the case before the Reformation. I don't know how far back it goes - certainly to "time immemorial" (*) - maybe to before the English first arrived in Britain - but it was like that for centuries before Protestants turned up, as well as after.

The law was changed, and church weddings made compulsory, in 1753. Over two hundred years after the Reformation, when England was a thouroughly Protestant country. the opposite of the assertions in the Slate article.

quote:
Originally posted by Josephine:
But, for your question, as best I can remember at the moment (with no books handy to verify anything in), the church part of a wedding involved the couple presenting themselves together for the Eucharist at a normal Sunday service. That was the church part. The legal/secular part was done the same way anyone else did it.

Not in late mediaeval and early modern England as far as I know. Church weddings weren't always done at the Eucharist or during any normal service. Or even inside the church building at all. I've got a vague memory that they were done at the church door - not that that means they didn't count as a sacrament, after all baptisms have often been done there. If there was to be a Eucharist the wedding party them moved inside for it.

In fact it seems that weddings inside the church in the context of a service only became common in England after the Reformation. Again, the exact opposite of what that article suggested. Though maybe the writer was thinking of some other European country.

(*) 1189 as ne fule kno

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Adeodatus
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There was something that always puzzled me during my time in parish ministry. At that time it was rather more difficult for divorcees to marry in church than it is now. It was rather more common in those circumstances for the clergy to offer a blessing following a civil marriage.

And that's exactly what struck me as odd. A CofE minister at a wedding has two functions: the religious function which mostly centres around the prayers and the nuptial blessing; and the secular function where s/he acts as a civil registrar, overseeing the egal registration of the marriage.

So why did the Church allow us to perform the religious function for divorcees, but deny us the secular function? Shome mishtake, shurely? [Paranoid]

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"What is broken, repair with gold."

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Honest Ron Bacardi
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Indeed so, Ken. I was really only wanting to qualify orfeo's statement.

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Anglo-Cthulhic

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Josephine

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quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Remember, what I'm seeking to prove is that all marriages - whether Jewish or otherwise - count as a creation ordinance to which all humanity has access, NOT some special religious marriage to which only the people of God have a claim. I believe this offers support for that view contra the Catholic / Orthodox position.

I must have done a lousy job explaining the Orthodox position. We certainly don't think that marriage is something that only we have, and nobody else has. We baptize babies, to make them part of the Church and bring them into the Kingdom of God, but that doesn't mean we're under the delusion that we're the only people on God's green earth that have babies. Likewise with marriages -- we celebrate a sacrament of marriage, taking what you'd call the creation ordinance, something natural and good and available to all humanity, and we bring it into the Church.

The fact that we bring our marriages into the Church doesn't mean we don't think no one else is really married. A Hindu couple or a Muslim couple or an atheist couple is just as married as I am -- but I expect that they would agree with me that their marriage has not been brought into the Orthodox Church.

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I've written a book! Catherine's Pascha: A celebration of Easter in the Orthodox Church. It's a lovely book for children. Take a look!

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Zacchaeus
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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
There was something that always puzzled me during my time in parish ministry. At that time it was rather more difficult for divorcees to marry in church than it is now. It was rather more common in those circumstances for the clergy to offer a blessing following a civil marriage.

And that's exactly what struck me as odd. A CofE minister at a wedding has two functions: the religious function which mostly centres around the prayers and the nuptial blessing; and the secular function where s/he acts as a civil registrar, overseeing the egal registration of the marriage.

So why did the Church allow us to perform the religious function for divorcees, but deny us the secular function? Shome mishtake, shurely? [Paranoid]

I must admit that this has often puzzled me too...
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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Yes, Moo, I quite accept that religious activity was a major part of Jewish life in OT times.

I think it's more the other way around. Jewish life *is* religious, at least for the more observant.
quote:
But the absence of a specific procedure for weddings anywhere - at the temple or otherwise - indicates to me that they were not seen as a religious activity, rather they were seen as an ultimately secular occasion, to which a religious bit might, or might not, be attached. ...

It could also indicate that the procedure was so well-known and understood that there was no need to mention it. Or it could indicate that there wasn't any set procedure at all. In a Jewish wedding, the canopy symbolizes both the hospitality of the home and God's blessing upon Abraham. So, secular or religious? And just because something can be both at times doesn't mean it can't still be either / or in other situations. OliviaG
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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
There was something that always puzzled me during my time in parish ministry. At that time it was rather more difficult for divorcees to marry in church than it is now. It was rather more common in those circumstances for the clergy to offer a blessing following a civil marriage.

And that's exactly what struck me as odd. A CofE minister at a wedding has two functions: the religious function which mostly centres around the prayers and the nuptial blessing; and the secular function where s/he acts as a civil registrar, overseeing the egal registration of the marriage.

So why did the Church allow us to perform the religious function for divorcees, but deny us the secular function? Shome mishtake, shurely? [Paranoid]

What an interesting question! But if you were in parish ministry and didn't have an answer, how is anyone else supposed to know? How would you have answered a couple if they'd asked you why you were willing to perform a blessing, but not a marriage?
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the long ranger
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Question: if someone has been married by the state outwith of the church building (ie by a registrar), in what sense has that not been done 'before God'?

I don't believe in sacraments, least of all marriage as a sacrament. Hogwash.

If God knows my heart, he knows whether I'm faithful to my wife at any given moment, whether or not I said the right words at the right place before the right person.

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"..into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” “But Rabbi, how can this happen for those who have no teeth?”
"..If some have no teeth, then teeth will be provided.”

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Timothy the Obscure

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quote:
Oringinally posted by ken:
Not in late mediaeval and early modern England as far as I know. Church weddings weren't always done at the Eucharist or during any normal service. Or even inside the church building at all. I've got a vague memory that they were done at the church door - not that that means they didn't count as a sacrament, after all baptisms have often been done there. If there was to be a Eucharist the wedding party them moved inside for it.


In medieval England, clergy did not "perform" weddings at all, though they would bless them. For most people, this meant going to the church the day after the wedding, and receiving the blessing at the church door. The wealthy, who liked more pageantry, might have a priest give the blessing on the wedding day itself. But as ken said, all it took to be married was for the couple to state to each other their intent to be married. The change to formal public ceremonies (preceded by the reading of banns, etc.) was in large part a response to the problem of secret marriages, which could lead to "he said, she said" lawsuits and other headaches.

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When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion.
  - C. P. Snow

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Honest Ron Bacardi
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the long ranger wrote:
quote:
If God knows my heart, he knows whether I'm faithful to my wife at any given moment, whether or not I said the right words at the right place before the right person.
I'm sure God certainly does know the secrets of our hearts, TLR. But you are omitting to give adequate consideration that this declaration is made in a public place, and is relevant in that context as much as it is to the internal life of the couple. IMHO of course.

As to sacraments - well, we are a varied lot. Some will flat out disagree with you, some will agree, some will agree that marriage may not be a dominical sacrament but disagree with your take on sacraments.

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Anglo-Cthulhic

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
There was something that always puzzled me during my time in parish ministry. At that time it was rather more difficult for divorcees to marry in church than it is now. It was rather more common in those circumstances for the clergy to offer a blessing following a civil marriage.

And that's exactly what struck me as odd. A CofE minister at a wedding has two functions: the religious function which mostly centres around the prayers and the nuptial blessing; and the secular function where s/he acts as a civil registrar, overseeing the egal registration of the marriage.

So why did the Church allow us to perform the religious function for divorcees, but deny us the secular function? Shome mishtake, shurely? [Paranoid]

Are you sure it was the Church that denied you the dual function for divorces? Or was it the State? After all, it's the State's function.

Otherwise, you've got the peculiar and unusual (but not impossible) situation of the State conferring a function that the Church is refusing to take.

I'm not saying one way or the other, as I'm not up on the relevant details of UK/England law. But State recognition of churches for starting marriages doesn't automatically imply State recognition of churches for ending them!

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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Gee D
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My recollection is that divorce in England was a matter for the consistory courts until the 1850s. The jurisdiction then went to a civil court; certainly a Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division of the Supreme Court was established either directly by the Judicature Act of 1872 or quite shortly thereafter. I can understand the joinder of Probate and Divorce, both being originally ecclesiastic in origin. Quite how Admiralty became a part is lost in the mists of time.

Marriage is now a civil act in most countries. Here, marriage celebrants are required to be licensed under Federal legislation. As a matter of practice, ministers of the mainline religious groups are licensed automatically. Lay people and those of less well known religious groups are required to undergo a course and be examined. After that, they need to provide character references (something I've been asked to do a couple of times), and if all is in order, they are licensed.

AIUI, most European countries insist upon a civil ceremony as the defining event. Parties have the option of a later religious ceremony. Again, AIUI, it used be rare for both ceremonies to be the same day. Those of a religious frame of mind would "wait" for the religious ceremony.

Marriage and divorce are real actions and for that reason alone need to have their base in civil law.

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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Gee D
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I should have added that a surviving vestige in NSW of the ecclesiastical nature of the probate jurisdiction is to be found in the Probate and Administration Act s.61; pending a grant of probate or letters of administration, the property of a deceased person vests in the Public Trustee "as it used vest in the Ordinary in England".

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
Marriage is now a civil act in most countries. Here, marriage celebrants are required to be licensed under Federal legislation. As a matter of practice, ministers of the mainline religious groups are licensed automatically.

Not true of nonconformist ministers in Britain, as the churches have to designate an "Authorised Person" for the wedding to be legal. These have to be trained by the civil authority and they can be ministers or lay people. In many respects it is more convenient if they are lay people as they can "do the paperwork" as the service is proceeding, leaving the speaking to the minister.

I often tell the couples I marry that "If I drop dead, it isn't a problem, as anyone can read the service. But if my wife (who is one of our APs) drops dead, then we have a problem!"

Of course, there's nothing to prevent you having a legal Registry Office ceremony first, followed by a church "marriage service" without an AP. Some small denominations do this, as it means they don't have to licence their buildings for weddings or provide an AP.

[ 18. May 2012, 10:32: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Ender's Shadow
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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
There was something that always puzzled me during my time in parish ministry. At that time it was rather more difficult for divorcees to marry in church than it is now. It was rather more common in those circumstances for the clergy to offer a blessing following a civil marriage.

And that's exactly what struck me as odd. A CofE minister at a wedding has two functions: the religious function which mostly centres around the prayers and the nuptial blessing; and the secular function where s/he acts as a civil registrar, overseeing the egal registration of the marriage.

So why did the Church allow us to perform the religious function for divorcees, but deny us the secular function? Shome mishtake, shurely? [Paranoid]

The traditional stance of the CofE was that divorcees could not be remarried. Period. In 1928 or so, Parliament added a rider that gave parish priests the right to remarry divorcees - over the vocal opposition of the bishops. In practice it seldom happened. Later, as the spirit of the age became more liberal, CofE clergy came to adopt the theologically incoherent practice of blessing the weddings of divorcees but refusing to use the 1928 ruling. In doing so they were using an unregulated form of service, and so were beyond the reach of canon law. This tradition has continued - a lot of churches seem willing to bless 'irregular' marriages which the state actually performs but not actually conduct them, apparently in a attempt to keep a figleaf of conformity to the official teaching of the CofE, which opposes such remarriages. Interesting my usually hard line priest was willing to remarry a divorcee under some extreme circumstances (the marriage had collapsed over 15 years earlier etc etc).

Is it any wonder that the church isn't taken seriously?

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Test everything. Hold on to the good.

Please don't refer to me as 'Ender' - the whole point of Ender's Shadow is that he isn't Ender.

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Chorister

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For churchgoers / those of faith, though, the Service of Blessing was a huge comfort for those who remarried or who married a divorcee.

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Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:

Is it any wonder that the church isn't taken seriously?

What would your solution to this problem be?
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Ender's Shadow
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:

Is it any wonder that the church isn't taken seriously?

What would your solution to this problem be?
This is one of the areas where Rome gets it right in theory i.e. no divorce and remarriage - though then cocks it up in practice by allowing 'annullments' too easily. But certainly their rejection of the 'blessing' route is well done. Incidentally the Orthodox at least have the excuse that 'it may not have been so from the beginning, but Constantine allowed it because of his desire to get rid of his wife'. To be fair it was Constantine V not the first one... and of course Luther's succumbing to the pressure to endorse polygamy was one of his many mistakes. Incidentally Cramner gave Henry VIII an annulment, NOT a divorce. Yes it's tough - but at least it doesn't leave conservatives trying to tell gays they can't have relationships whilst their congregations are replete with remarried divorces.

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Test everything. Hold on to the good.

Please don't refer to me as 'Ender' - the whole point of Ender's Shadow is that he isn't Ender.

Posts: 5018 | From: Manchester, England | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged



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