Law and religion round-up – 12th June

A mixed bag: same-sex marriage & the SEC, abortion (or its absence) in Ireland, religion in UK schools, the start of Ramadan – and its effect on soft drinks sales… 

The Scottish Episcopal Church and marriage

On Friday, the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church gave the first reading to the proposal to amend s 1 of its Canon 31 (of the solemnization of holy matrimony) “to remove from the Canon the doctrinal statement regarding marriage that marriage is to be understood as a union ‘of one man and one woman’.” The proposed change will now be sent down to the dioceses for discussion and will return to the Synod in 2017, when it will require a two-thirds majority in all three Houses to obtain a second reading. For a full report, see Thinking Anglicans.

The Scottish Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion

The afternoon business of General Synod on 9 June 2016 began with a presentation from The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Primus, on the meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion in January, on which we commented here. The Primus made a number of observations on the operation of the Communion and the actions of its some of its members; he stated:

“I believe that the Primates Meeting has acted beyond its powers. That is not an issue about Human Sexuality but about Anglican polity and governance.  Some of us now  but all of us eventually  will have to address issues of human sexuality.  To adopt a sanctions-based approach to the internal discipline of the Anglican Communion  when we have already rejected the Anglican Covenant  seems to me to be a real pity”.

He described “different understandings of collegiality and leadership”: “the Primates [had] agreed to ‘walk together’, although some almost immediately … walked away; and “the American Church has put its autonomy ahead of catholicity”. These actions were further reinforced by an offer of the Gafcon UK Panel of Bishops on 11 June “to provide alternative episcopal oversight [to Scottish Anglicans], and thereby your recognition as faithful Anglicans by the worldwide Gafcon movement, which represents the majority of Anglicans worldwide”.

Ireland’s stance on abortion

The UN Human Rights Committee has held that Ms Amanda Mellet’s rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights were violated by her having to travel outside Ireland for an abortion in a situation of fatal foetal abnormality.  Continue reading