Bishop Martins on Marriage

The Rt. Rev. Daniel Martins, Bishop of Springfield, writes in a pastoral letter to his diocese:

Marriage is not merely a human social construct, an institution that we created and are therefore at liberty to recreate and redefine as seems right and expedient. The introduction to the marriage rite in the (1979) Book of Common Prayer reminds us that marriage was “instituted by God in creation” (p. 423). (Previous Prayer Books have always included equivalent language.) Marriage is not merely historic; it is pre-historic and pan-historic. We find it in Genesis at the time of creation, and we find it in Revelation at the consummation of redemption — the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. In the meantime, Jesus also directs our attention to the essential “male and female” component of marriage (Matthew 19:4-5). It is arguably beyond the authority of humankind at any level to change in so fundamental a way, and incontrovertibly beyond the scope of General Convention’s authority. Yet, we have presumed to do so, moreover, without barely a pretense of consultation with the other provinces of the Anglican Communion, to say nothing of the rest of the Christian world. It is an act of rather breathtaking hubris, an abuse of common sense. We have played with fire, my brothers and sisters, and we will quite possibly yet be burned in some way we cannot presently imagine.

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