We deny to claim "any Superiority to ourself
to defyne, decyde, or determyn any Article or Poynt
of the Christian Fayth and Relligion,
or to chang any Ancient Ceremony of the Church
from the Forme before received and observed
by the Catholick and Apostolick Church."

Norman Simplicity

Norman Simplicity
Click image for original | © Vitrearum (Allan Barton)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Theoria & Praxis

While conventional wisdom ascribes the creation of the Church of England to Henry VIII’s desire for a divorce from Katherine of Aragon, Henry was opposed to the new doctrines surrounding divorce and remarriage put forward by the Continental reformers. Henry’s four "divorces" were "annulments" granted by Archbishop Cranmer, which allowed the king to marry again. During the short reign of Henry’s son, Edward VI, divorce and remarriage were permitted, but the practice was stopped under the Catholic Queen Mary. Divorce and remarriage was illegal in civil and canon law under Queen Elizabeth, though a legal state of spousal separation was created, which nevertheless forbad remarriage while an estranged spouse was still living. However, the Rev. John Thornborough, Dean of York, was granted a separation and went on to marry a second time while his first life was still living. In 1592 he was appointed Bishop of Limerick over the objections of the Archbishop of York, Matthew Hutton, who charged the new bishop with bigamy. Bishop Thornborough was later translated to Worcester, dying in 1641.

The 1604 canons of the Church of England ruled out divorce and remarriage, though in 1670 divorce could be granted by a special act of Parliament. Until the law was abolished and divorce permitted under law in 1857, 300 civil divorces were granted by Parliament ...

Divorce and remarriage in the Episcopal Church of the USA was permitted in 1973 when General Convention lifted the prohibition against remarriage in church during the lifetime of the estranged spouse. In 1808 General Convention recommended allowing clergy to solemnize the second marriage of divorcees if they were the injured party in a divorce caused by adultery. This exception was granted formal status by the canons of the church in 1873, and over the course of the century the canons were revised to allow bishops to grant a decree of nullity. A motion to forbid all divorcees from remarrying in the church was rejected by the 1904 General Convention. Divorced and remarried clergy were uncommon, however, until the late 1950’s.

“It is a further example of the ‘Sweden-isation’ of the Church of England. Just like the Church of Sweden we are becoming progressively liberal. The Church of Sweden is no longer a church and we will soon be like that.”

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