Deviations from church discipline and practice arising out of ecumenical enthusiasm are a matter of concern to the Anglican Church of Canada.
The church has played an important role in bringing about a relaxation of tensions that for centuries have been divisive religious factors. But its bishops stress that negotiations with other churches have union and full communion as their objective and until this is attained Anglican clergy and laity should observe canonical laws and regulations.
In connection with marriages of Anglicans and non-Anglicans the House of Bishops has reaffirmed that Anglican clergy may accept invitations to participate in services in other communions provided that no breach of the matrimonial discipline of the Anglican Church of Canada is involved.
The House of Bishops recognizes that the instruction on mixed marriages issued in Rome last March by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith represents a real effort by the Roman Catholic Church to solve some of the problems involved in this difficult question. However, the bishops feel that the instruction does not really succeed in meeting the Anglican viewpoint.
Therefore, in the case of a marriage in a Roman Catholic church involving an Anglican who has given a pre-nuptial undertaking respecting the nurture of children in the Roman Catholic faith, the participation of an Anglican priest is not permitted. Such participation, by the terms of the Rome decree, is limited to a post-service exhortation and word of goodwill. If the Anglican party to the marriage has made no pre-nuptial agreement, the regulation does not apply and each case must be dealt with individually.
At the marriage of an Anglican and a member of another communion in an Anglican church, a non-Anglican priest or minister may be invited to assist, reading from the Anglican marriage service such prayers as are generally allowed by diocesan bishops.
To meet increasing pressures for inter-communion and to regularize practices that have developed in some churches, the Anglican House of Bishops has modified regulations concerning the administration of Holy Communion to unconfirmed persons. The bishops stipulate, however, that Anglican clergy are not authorized to issue any open invitation to Holy Communion.
The new ruling, to be used by diocesan bishops at their discretion, would permit Holy Communion to be administered to the following baptized persons of other communions:
Isolated communicants who have no regular opportunity of receiving the sacrament from their own ministers; staff members and pupils in hostels, boarding schools and colleges where there is a chapel in which the eucharist is celebrated; staff and inmates or patients of institutions in which there is an Anglican chaplaincy; Christian people gathered together for dialogue and prayer for the unity of Christendom; tourists and travellers attending Anglican churches; members of families, some non-Anglican, who on special occasions wish to receive the Holy Communion together.
Generally speaking, Anglican clergy do not refuse communion to any baptized persons, but in some cases they inquire into the communicant status of individuals.
The Primate said that the Joint Anglican/Roman Catholic Guidelines on Mixed Marriages will be officially released at a press conference in Ottawa in four to six weeks time. Copies will go to all the Anglican clergy in Canada in a mailing from the Primate as soon as the document is available in quantity.
Bishop Baycroft stressed the importance of the Mixed Marriage document.
Moved by: Bishop Berry
Seconded by: Bishop Lackey
That we rescind the Guidelines of the House of Bishops on Mixed Marriages (Roman Catholic and Anglican).
Moved by: Bishop Lawrence
Seconded by: Bishop Mate
That this motion be tabled until we have the documentation before us. CARRIED
That on publication of the new Joint Anglican/Roman Catholic Guidelines on Mixed Marriage, they will take precedence pastorally over the previous Anglican Guidelines concerning Anglican/Roman Catholic Marriages.
And that these are joint Guidelines for pastoral care, and are to be jointly accepted. CARRIED
Bishop Goodings expressed deep appreciation, on behalf of the House, to Bishop Lackey and Mgr. Eugene-P. Larocque of Cornwall for their devoted efforts in this matter.
That this National Executive Council commends `A Christian Celebration of Marriage - an Ecumenical Liturgy' for use when the bride and groom come from different Christian denominations, when appropriate and with the permission of the diocesan bishop. CARRIED
Bishop Goodings indicated he had brought this topic to the House because of disappointment at the reaction from clergy, etc., at provincial synod. He enquired if there had been any discussions between clergy and bishops in Anglican and Roman Catholic dioceses across the country and felt it was very important to create friendship. Several bishops responded.
That members of the House of Bishops endeavour to meet with their Roman Catholic counterparts with the intention of discussing the "Guidelines for Mixed Marriages between Members of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Roman Catholic Church" and the promotion of further study of this document through meetings of groups of clergy from both churches. CARRIED
That the General Synod concur in the following recommendations and commendation of the Marriage Canon Task Force:
a) the recommendation that the Church should not bless common law relationships and that couples in such relationships who seek the church's recognition of their unions be encouraged to enter into a formal marriage after being prepared for marriage in the same way as any other couple seeking marriage in the church;
b) the recommendation that the Guidelines and the form of service for a Marriage between a Christian and a person of Another Faith Tradition be posted on The Anglican Church of Canada website; and
c) the commendation of continued use of the 'Pastoral Guidelines for Interchurch Marriages Between Anglicans and Roman Catholics in Canada', authorized by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the House of Bishops of The Anglican Church of Canada, when one party to an intended marriage is a Roman Catholic.
That the House of Bishops receive the document "Pastoral Guidelines for Interchurch Marriages Between Anglicans and Roman Catholics in Canada" (Revised June 1986), and approve it in principle.
And that the House of Bishops authorize the Anglican Bishops at the National Anglican/Roman Catholic Episcopal Dialogue meeting in November 1986, to negotiate a final agreed text, bearing in mind the discussions at this meeting of the House of Bishops, and arrange for its publications and distribution for use in dioceses at the discretion of the Diocesan Bishops. CARRIED #11-6-86
Moved by: Bishop Lawrence
Seconded by: Bishop Goodings
That in light of the Motion in reference to the reception of the "Pastoral Guidelines for Inter-Church Marriages between Anglican and Roman Catholics in Canada", the particular reference to Article 9 be suspended".
Seconded by: Bishop Sperry
That this Motion be tabled until the Fall, 1986, meeting of the House. CARRIED
That the Ecumenical Officer, the Reverend Brian Prideaux, be informed of cases of misuse of ecclesiastical responsibility by the Roman Catholic Church, so that they can be officially documented and referred to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is to be advised that this will be done. CARRIED #14-6-86
Bishop Valentine reported on the meeting of Anglican/Roman Catholic Bishops. He noted that subjects under discussion were: Mixed Marriages, Church in the North, ARCIC, Christian Festival, Secretariat for Christian Unity, Anglican Centre in Rome, World Council in Churches, "Electronic Evangelism" and a possible visit to Canada by the Pope.
Bishop Valentine said that considerable time was spent on the discussion of mixed marriages, and shared the following proposal prepared at the meeting:
A/R.C. Dialogue Proposal
We suggest that both partners in a proposed marriage between an Anglican and Roman Catholic be apprised of their obligation to provide their children with a Christian baptism and upbringing, and that each be asked to promise to fulfill this obligation by having them baptized and brought up within one of the two communions.
Anglican/Roman Catholic Bishops
1. This meeting urges the Bishops of our respective churches to accept the principle of joint guidelines for couples planning mixed marriages which reflect the growing rapprochment between Anglicans and Roman Catholics.
2. We request the "Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue in Canada" to develop these guidelines for consideration at the next meeting of this group on November 22 and 23, 1982.
3. Bishops are called on to encourage both pastors of such couples to meet together with them as part of preparation for marriage. The content of such sharing would include the couple's participation in the life of the Church and the Christian nurture of their children.
4. Pastors are asked to submit to their bishops and the "Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue in Canada" in insights or suggestions arising from those joint encounters, to assist in the shaping of the guidelines.
5. It should be noted that those recommendations are made in the light of the ongoing dialogues between Bishops of our churches on both local as well as national levels in Canada.
That this House endorses points one to five regarding Anglican/Roman Catholic mixed marriages. CARRIED #2-2-82