Anglican Plan for Remarriage Is Facing Opposition

One-third of Dioceses Reject Services for Divorcees

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LONDON, MAR. 25, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Anglican proposals to permit divorcees to remarry in their church have so far been rejected by a third of the dioceses, and senior bishops are privately admitting that the reforms could fail, The Telegraph reports.

Speculation had been mounting that the Anglican church might allow remarriage as early as next year, the newspaper noted. This has pleased the many clergy who already ignore the official line and remarry divorcees. Most bishops want to end the centuries-old prohibition and most dioceses back the reforms in principle, despite concern that the move will undermine the traditional teaching that marriage is for life, the newspaper said.

A consultation exercise in all the dioceses, which ends next week, has found that recommendations from a House of Bishops´ working party have split the church. Of the 29 dioceses that are known to have voted so far, 11 have rejected the recommendations.

The results, although only advisory, seriously damage their chances of the reforms being passed by the General Synod this year, unless they are overhauled. That is because the reforms need a clear majority of support across the church, especially from the clergy, if they are to succeed in the synod.

Critics believe that the proposals are unworkable because they place too much responsibility on individual clergy to decide who can and cannot be remarried. The Reverend John Hawthorne, the vicar of Tetbury, Gloucestershire, whose parishioners include the Prince of Wales, said the recommendations were “a recipe for pastoral disaster and open parish warfare.”

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