Canada Anglican to proceed with gay blessing rites

Mon Nov 3, 2008 4:16pm EST
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By Randall Palmer

OTTAWA (Reuters) - A Canadian Anglican bishop signaled on Monday he would defy the wishes of the global Anglican church and start drafting a ceremony for blessing homosexual marriages.

Bishop Barry Clarke said he would be following through with the wishes of the diocese of Montreal, which he heads, and set up a commission to come up with liturgy for such blessings.

In August, the decennial Lambeth Conference of global Anglican leaders asked for a moratorium on the blessing of same-sex unions, and Canada's bishops said on Friday a large majority of them were committed to such a moratorium.

But Clarke told Reuters he was not part of that majority, and he would be proceeding with plans he had laid out before the Canadian bishops met last week.

"I don't want to stop the journey, because I think that would be unhealthy," he said.

The Montreal synod, the diocese's decision-making body, passed a resolution a year ago asking him to grant permission to clergy to bless same-sex marriages and to authorize an appropriate liturgy.

"My intention is to honor the request of the diocese," he said.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, leader of the global Anglican church, has warned that the 80-million-member communion would be in grave peril if requests for moratoriums were ignored.   Continued...