Civil Partnerships in Ireland?
It is with grave concern that Reform Ireland listened to Bertie Ahern advocating the creation of Civil Partnerships in the Republic of Ireland. Reform Ireland would encourage and call upon the senior clergy in the Republic of Ireland to make representations to the Irish Government that such legislation would be a further blow to the moral fibre of the Irish nation and undermine heterosexual marriage as the foundational relationship for family life. We note that in the UK the take-up rate of such partnerships is far below that expected or predicted by the British Government.
Furthermore, Reform Ireland would have grave concerns that if such legislation were enacted then those pushing a revisionist liberal agenda within the Church of Ireland would present before General Synod a motion favouring a rite for same-sex blessings. It is clear from the Irish Bishops' Pastoral Letter on Sexuality that there are those among them who advocate the acceptance of such same-sex relationships. With the election of Dean Burrows as Bishop of Cashel, this trend is likely to continue.
Reform Ireland welcomes the recent ad clerum from the Bishop of Connor that rites of blessing for civil partnerships are ‘not appropriate.’ However we note that nowhere in the ad clerum did Bishop Harper state that such actions were morally wrong and against the clear teaching of Scripture. It would appear that his prohibition rests solely upon the fact that since there is no liturgy for same-sex blessings then it is inappropriate for clergy to carry out same-sex blessings. Whilst we welcome the Bishop's letter we do note upon careful reading that the Bishop does not declare such actions sinful or contrary to biblical teaching.
Reform Ireland noted that the ad clerum finished with Bishop Harper stating that this directive was issued on his own authority; it had not been sanctioned by the House of Bishops, nor had it been discussed by them. Reform Ireland is amazed that this matter, touching as it does upon the most significant issue currently before Anglicanism, has not even been discussed by the House of Bishops!
We look forward to General Synod and the presentation of the Working Party on The Windsor Report. Maybe then the House of Bishops will get round to discussing this issue and giving the Church of Ireland some clear guidance rather than the fudge of their Pastoral Letter.
Once again Reform Ireland asks that we all be in earnest prayer at this time for the continuing battle against being led away from the truth of the gospel and along the revisionist path of another gospel. Please pray that those who know the truth of Scripture would stand firm on that truth and be prepared to stand up at this time and be counted. 15th Apr 2006