Magazine article Anglican Journal

Possible Scenario for 2019: Hiltz: Sanctions Likely If Marriage Canon Is Amended

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Possible Scenario for 2019: Hiltz: Sanctions Likely If Marriage Canon Is Amended

Article excerpt

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, says sanctions will likely be placed on the church by the primates of the Anglican Communion if it proceeds to amend the marriage canon (church law) to allow same-sex marriages.

He also questions whether the primates, by taking these punitive measures, are moving beyond the original purpose of their yearly meetings.

"Oh, yes," Hiltz replied October 12 when asked by the Anglican Journal if he expected the primates would impose sanctions on the Canadian church if a motion to amend the marriage canon passes its required second reading at General Synod in 2019.

Hiltz had just returned from the 2017 meeting of primates from across the Anglican Communion held in Canterbury, England, October 2-6. On the second day of the meeting, the Scottish Episcopal Church, which voted in June to allow same-sex marriages, agreed to accept the same "consequences" that the primates had imposed on The Episcopal Church (TEC) in 2016 after its decision to allow same-sex marriages.

The sanctions ban the churches from representing the Anglican Communion in ecumenical and interfaith bodies and taking part in internal standing committees or "in decision-making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity" for three years.

Primates from Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda did not attend this year's meeting because they felt order had not been restored to the Communion after the previous meeting in 2016. Asked whether he thought those primates felt the sanctions hadn't gone far enough, Hiltz said, "I think so."

Nevertheless, Hiltz said he felt many Canadian Anglicans would feel the effects of such sanctions on the Canadian church. "We wouldn't have the privilege or the blessing of being able to have people on our ecumenical dialogues, for example, of a Communion nature," he said. "There are people in our church that are very gifted and graced for that kind of work, and for us to be in a position where someone says, 'Well, sorry, you can't be there anymore'... I think that would be received with great disappointment."

Some Canadian Anglicans, he said, believe the Anglican Church of Canada shouldn't amend the marriage canon because of the impact they think it would have on the church's place in the Communion.

Some Anglicans are also wondering, he said, what will happen when the three-year period of sanctions placed on TEC is up--whether it will be extended. …

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