Four priests in the Diocese of Toronto have pleaded with the Anglican Church of Canada’s House of Bishops to preserve clarity about the church’s doctrine of marriage.
The priests are:
- The Rev. Canon Murray Henderson, honorary assistant at the Church of St. Mary and Martha, Toronto;
- The Rev. Canon F. Dean Mercer, incumbent at St. Paul’s, L’Amoreaux, Scarborough, Ontario;
- The Rev. Ephraim Radner, professor of historical theology at Wycliffe College and honorary assistant at St. Matthew’s, Toronto;
- The Rev. Catherine Sider-Hamilton, priest in charge at St. Matthew’s, Toronto, and professor of New Testament and New Testament Greek at Wycliffe College.
On March 29, the House of Bishops released a call to prayer which included their hope for the upcoming General Synod. From the bishops’ point of view, there will be two doctrines of marriage in the church, and for both there ought to be support and protection.
That said, the church is still rolling like a freight train toward a formal and canonical change and the declaration of a novel and single doctrine of marriage. This new doctrine changes marriage from a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman for procreation, to an erotic agreement between adults.
The purpose has changed, and so the boundaries of marriage become unclear and contestable. Everyone understands the boundaries for marriage and marital intimacy when marriage is defined as the union of sexual opposites in which procreation and the stable nurture of children and families is logically and ontologically implied. Remove that purpose from the nature of marriage, define it primarily as an erotic arrangement between consenting adults, and marriage becomes infinitely malleable.