PEV's Statement on Marriage
Category - Resolutions
The following statement was issued at the Sacred Synod AD2002 by the Provincial Episcopal Visitors and the Bishop of Fulham.
1. The importance and given-ness of our historical and legal context:
2. We DECLARE Holy Matrimony to be:
3. Flowing from this understanding of Marriage, we RECOGNISE that, as a consequence, there are several categories of unions which, while purporting to be marriages, do not fulfil this understanding:
(b) Secondly, there are those unions which can be declared to be no longer marriages (termed 'voidable marriages'). Such unions may be declared a nullity when:
(iv) either, unknown to the other, was suffering from venereal disease in a communicable form;
(v) the wife, unknown to the husband, at the time of the marriage was pregnant by another;
(vi) there has been a wilful refusal by one of the parties to consummate the marriage.
(c) Thirdly, there are those unions which, while incapable of being annulled at civil law, may nonetheless be treated by the Church as being no longer marriages. Unions in this category may occur when:
(i) the marriage has been contracted for a reason other than those for which marriage exists (as set out in clause 2(g) above);
(ii) either or both of the parties to the union were insufficiently able to evaluate critically the decision to marry in the light of the consequent obligations and responsibilities;
(iii) evidence of behaviour before, at or after the marriage, demonstrates that at the time of the marriage either of the parties did not accept the marriage to be an exclusive and indissoluble union;
(iv) either party had an undisclosed intention not to have children;
(v) the existence of a pre-nuptial contract between the parties, providing for division of property upon civil divorce, indicates that the union was intended to be conditional only;
4. On the basis of this understanding of marriage, and the possible instances when it is not fulfilled, we OFFER to priests from parishes who look to us for pastoral care and sacramental ministry the means of seeking our advice which individual parish priests are under no obligation to heed. Such advice, which we shall give in writing, is intended to help them in their decision as to whether to proceed with the marriage of parties in church where either or both has a former spouse still living.
5. This advice is offered to the parish priests who must ultimately make up their own minds as to what decision should be taken. The bishops are not free to enter into discussion with the relevant couples nor to receive any form of appeal. The decision remains in law that of the parish priest. Parish priests should pay particular attention to the legal guidance given to them in the material issued by the House of Bishops.
6. None of this precludes using what in short hand is called The Service of Blessing. None of us, ultimately, knows the true status in God's eyes of many of the unions to which we minister. Where couples act as their own tribunal of conscience and bring their union to God in prayer, the use of the rite for praying with a couple following a civil marriage may well be appropriate.
Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993
Category - Resolutions
The Act of Synod provides for what is commonly known as 'Resolution C'. Where the parochial church council of a parish has passed one or both of the resolutions set out in the Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure (Resolutions A and B), a decision may be taken jointly by the minister and the PCC to petition the diocesan bishop concerned to the effect that appropriate episcopal duties in the parish should be carried out in accordance with this Act of Synod.
EPISCOPAL MINISTRY ACT OF SYNOD 1993
Passed by the General Synod to make provision for the continuing diversity of opinion in the Church of England as to the ordination and ministry of women as priests, and for related matters.
(1) The Church of England through its synodical processes has given final approval to a Measure to make provision by Canon for enabling women to be ordained to the priesthood;
(2) The bishop of each diocese continues as the ordinary of his diocese;
(3) The General Synod regards it as desirable that –
(a) all concerned should endeavour to ensure that –
(i) discernment in the wider Church of the rightness or otherwise of the Church of England’s decision to ordain women to the priesthood should be as open a process as possible;
(ii) the highest possible degree of communion should be maintained within each diocese; and
(iii) the integrity of differing beliefs and positions concerning the ordination of women to the priesthood should be mutually recognised and respected;
(b) the practical pastoral arrangements contained in this Act of Synod should have effect in each diocese.
Now it is hereby declared as follows: -
Ordinations and Appointments
1. Except as provided by the Measure and this Act no person or body shall discriminate against candidates either for ordination or for appointment to senior office in the Church of England on the grounds of their view or positions about the ordination of women to the priesthood.
2. Three types of arrangements may be made in order to provide an appropriate ministry for those who are opposed, namely –
(a) diocesan arrangements to be made by the diocesan bishop in accordance with section 3 below;
(b) regional arrangements to be made by the diocesan bishops of each region in accordance with section 4 below;
(c) provincial arrangements to be made by the archbishop of the province in accordance with section 5 below.
3. The diocesan bishop shall make arrangements so far as possible within his own diocese for appropriate care and oversight of the clergy and parishes in the diocese.
4. (1) Whenever possible the diocesan bishops of each region acting jointly shall from time to time nominate from within their region for the purpose of this Act of Synod one or more bishops who are opposed.
(2) Each bishop so nominated shall, in addition to his other duties, be approved by the archbishop of the province to carry out for any parish in the region such episcopal duties as the diocesan bishop concerned may request.
(3) In subsection (1) above, except where the context otherwise requires, “bishop” means a diocesan bishop, suffragan bishop or a full-time stipendiary assistant bishop serving in the region in question.
5. (1) The Archbishop of Canterbury shall from time to time take steps to secure the appointment of up to two additional suffragan bishops for his diocese to act as provincial episcopal visitors for the purposes of this Act of Synod in the province of Canterbury.
(2) The Archbishop of York shall from time to time take steps to secure the appointment of one additional suffragan bishop for his diocese to act as a provincial episcopal visitor for the purposes of this Act of Synod in the province of York.
(3) Each provincial episcopal visitor shall be commissioned by the archbishop of the province to carry out, or cause to be carried out, for any parish in the province such episcopal duties, in addition to his other duties, as the diocesan bishop concerned may request. The provincial episcopal visitor shall work with the diocesan bishop concerned in enabling extended pastoral care and sacramental ministry to be provided.
(4) Each provincial episcopal visitor shall act as spokesman and adviser for those who are opposed and shall assist the archbishops in monitoring the operation of this Act of Synod.
6. Where a vacancy occurs in the office of provincial episcopal visitor, the archbishop of the province concerned shall, before taking the steps referred to in section 5 above to secure the appointment of an additional suffragan bishop, consult the other provincial episcopal visitor or visitors and all other bishops who are directly concerned.
Parochial church council petition
7. (1) Subject to subsection (2) below where a resolution set out in Schedule 1 to the Measure is in force, a decision may be taken by the parochial church council of the parish concerned to petition the diocesan bishop concerned to the effect that appropriate episcopal duties in the parish should be carried out in accordance with this Act of Synod.
(2) Subsection (1) shall not apply in relation to a parish in which there is a parish church cathedral.
8. (1) Subject to section 10 below, on receiving any such petition the diocesan bishop shall, either personally or through his representative, consult with the minister and the parochial church council of the parish concerned; and having done so he shall make appropriate arrangements for episcopal duties to be carried out in the parish in accordance with this Act of Synod.
(2) Where any such arrangements are made or proposed, the minister and the parochial church council of the parish concerned may seek the advice of the provincial episcopal visitor in connection with the matter.
9. (1) Where a parochial church council has presented a petition in accordance with section 7 above, the council may at any time take a further decision for the withdrawal of the petition; and, subject to section 10 below, upon the withdrawal of the petition the diocesan bishop concerned shall ensure that any arrangements made in pursuance thereof are cancelled.
(2) Where a parochial church council has presented such a petition, the council shall review the working of any arrangements in force in pursuance thereof at least once in every period of five years.
10. Where a parochial church council has presented or withdrawn a petition in accordance with section 7 or 9 above and the diocesan bishop concerned is not satisfied that –
(a) except where notice of a vacancy has been sent to the secretary of the council under section 7(4) of the Patronage (Benefices) Measure 1986, the secretary of the council gave to the members of the council at least four weeks’ notice of the time and place of the meeting at which the motion proposing the resolution in question was to be considered;
(b) the meeting was attended by at least one half of the members of the council entitled to attend;
(c) at least two thirds of the members of the council present and voting were in favour of the resolution in question; and
(d) the minister was in favour of the resolution in question, whether or not he was present and voted;
he shall not be obliged to make arrangements of the kind mentioned in section 8 above or to cancel any such arrangements, but he may do so if he thinks fit.
Ordination etc. by archbishop or his commissary
11. (1) Subject to subsection (2) and (3) below, where the bishop of a diocese has indicated that he is opposed and, in the case of a bishop in office at the relevant date, that he is unwilling to make a declaration under section 2 of the Measure, the ordination to the priesthood of women from the diocese and their licensing and institution shall be carried out by the archbishop concerned, either personally or through a bishop acting as his commissary; and the archbishop shall cause the archiepiscopal seal to be affixed to any documents that are needed for that purpose.
(2) The archbishop that act under subsection (1) above either at the request of the diocesan bishop concerned or in pursuance of his metropolitical jurisdiction, but shall not so act unless he is satisfied that the diocesan bishop concerned has no objection.
(3) Subsection (1) above shall not apply where the bishop of a diocese has made arrangements for the ordination of women to the priesthood and their licensing and institution to be carried out by another bishop.
12. (1) In this Act of Synod –
“the Measure” means the Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure 1993;
“minister” has the same meaning as in the Care of Churches and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1991;
“opposed” means opposed to the promulgation of the relevant Canon;
“parish church cathedral” has the same meaning as in Part II of the Measure;
“provincial episcopal visitor” means a suffragan bishop appointed as such in pursuance of section 5 above;
“region” means an area, comprising two or more dioceses in a province, which is designated by the archbishop of the province as a region for the purposes of this Act of Synod;
“relevant Canon” means the Canon of the Church of England enabling a woman to be ordained to the office of priest;
“relevant date” means the date on which the relevant Canon is promulged;
“senior office” means any of the following offices, that is to say, archbishop, diocesan bishop, suffragan bishop, dean or provost of a cathedral church, archdeacon and residentiary canon in a cathedral church
(2) This Act of Synod shall apply in relation to a guild church designated and established under section 4 of the City of London (Guild Churches) Act 1952 as it applies in relation to a parish, but as if the references to the parochial church council of the parish were references to the guild church council of the guild church and the references to the minister were references to the vicar of the guild church.
(3) Any arrangements made under sections 2 to 5 above and any action taken under section 11 above by an archbishop in connection with the ordination of women to the priesthood, shall be without prejudice to the jurisdiction of the diocesan bishop concerned.
Citation and commencement
13. This Act of Synod may be cited as the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 and shall come into force on the coming into force of the Measure.