Via Integra

Fr Mark's progressive Anglo-Catholic take on European Christianity

  • This is my collection of material about the current state of the churches in Europe. I am interested in looking at how they are dealing with the pressing issues of our time: the issues of gay people and women in ministry/ leadership are particularly pressing at the moment, as is the area of declining church attendance.

    I would like to see how Europe's traditional religious institutions are coping with the new Europe currently being forged, in which public opinion and ethical attitudes are becoming inceasingly pan-European, and are evidently presenting a series of strong challenges for the churches.

Ireland – the gay issue

Posted by Fr Mark on July 3, 2010

Church of Ireland bishop welcomes Civil Partnership Bill

From he Iona Institue, 27th May 2010:

A senior Church of Ireland bishop has that the Civil Partnership Bill “deserves to be welcomed”.

However, writing in his diocesan newsletter, Bishop Michael Burrows (pictured) of Cashel and Ossory said that he was aware of members of his diocese who were “concerned about the position of some civil registrars who may have conscientious difficulties in implementing it”.

He also acknowleged that some were opposed to the whole concept of same-sex unions and looked “to the Christian moral tradition to justify their position”.

He could also see that there were members of his diocese who believed that the legislation didn’t go far enough and who believed that a Constitutional referendum to redefine marriage was desirable.

However his view was that the legislation was not perfect, but that “it deserves to be welcomed and to be given time”.

He added that he hoped “that those who choose civil partnership will find it gives them some deep sense of peace and acceptance”.

Bishop Burrows also went on to reiterate his claim that politicians were guilty of “systematic spinelessness” for failing to legalise abortion along the lines of the Supreme Court’s 1992 X case decision.

The case involved a 14-year-old girl who was initially prevented by the attorney general, through injunction, from leaving this jurisdiction to obtain a termination elsewhere.

The Supreme Court lifted the injunction but controversially ruled that abortion was legal under the Constitution where a woman threatened suicide.

“We still remain hypocritical and incapable of engaging with the truth about ourselves at a legislative level – despite successive referendums on these matters, tragic individual human stories are dragged all the way to the Supreme Court in the absence of legislation,” he said.


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