frgavin on March 11th, 2012
The Bishop of London, Dr Richard Chartres, has a canonical responsibility to rule that the declared intention of the new Dean of St Paul’s to conduct services of same-sex blessing runs contrary to the doctrine of the Church of England.

In a national press interview this week, Dr David Ison also declared that he conducted services of prayer and affirmation for couples in civil partnerships whilst he was Dean of Bradford.

The definitive liturgical expression of the doctrine of the Church of England, the Book of Common Prayer, is clear that sexual love is to be reserved exclusively for the God-created institution of heterosexual marriage, as blessed by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sex outside of heterosexual marriage constitutes ‘fornication’, according to the BCP’s Form of Solemnization of Matrimony. To provide a remedy against ‘fornication’ is one of the reasons for which God has ordained man-woman marriage, according to the BCP.

So the Dean of St Paul’s has been blessing what the Prayer Book describes as fornication and intends to do so in the future.

The Revd Peter Ould has helpfully shed light on the false canonical justifications for ungodly services of same-sex blessing.

But the clear canonical rule is that any unusual service or act of prayer conducted in the Church of England, whether under Canon B4 or Canon B5, should be in accordance with its biblical doctrine.

Services of same-sex blessing are not. So the Bishop of London, also ecclesiastical patron of the Prayer Book Society, should say so and should act to prevent them from taking place in St Paul’s Cathedral.

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