Anglican archbishop Peter Jensen recently opposed the legalisation of same-sex marriage.THE rector of an influential Anglican church has disagreed with the Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen’s recent letter to parishioners opposing proposed federal legislation which would legalise same-sex marriage.
Dr Jensen has provided little evidence for his argument that same-sex marriages are bad, except to give a specific interpretation of the Bible with no further proof, the rector of St James’ Anglican Church, Andrew Sempell, says in his own letter, released to the Herald.
Given that the same-sex marriage issue has caused internal rifts among Anglicans, the Sydney diocese may be entering into a public debate on a decision in the sphere of the state ”more for the purpose of managing its internal concerns than for the welfare of the wider community”, he said.
Divisions in the US and Canadian churches struggling with questions about recognition of legal same-sex civil unions have loomed large in the Sydney diocese in recent times, Father Sempell said yesterday.
Revealing that senior legal minds have advised him in framing his statement, Father Sempell has proposed that ”all marriage-type” relationships including the de facto and same-sex varieties be recognised as civil unions under one federal Act. Churches could separately decide their own forms of recognition, he said.
Father Sempell’s high church liberal views tend to be at variance with his conservative Archbishop’s. The flock of his city church includes prominent barristers and judges, but Father Sempell declined to name those who helped him.
He was responding to the letter which Dr Jensen distributed to rectors a fortnight ago on the same Sunday that the heads of the Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches issued strong statements opposing political moves to legalise same-sex unions. They were concerned about private members’ bills which have now been tabled.
A spokesman for the Archbishop, said that Dr Jensen had indicated that he would respect any rector’s decision to not distribute his letter.
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