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A Word on the Blessing of Marriage

The Bishop's Office


A Word on the Blessing of Marriage

In a statement this week, the Vatican said that because of their purportedly sinful nature, same-sex unions do not enjoy God’s blessing. These words injure LGBTQ+ people and all who advocate for justice and equity for all children of God. The magnitude of their pain cannot be overestimated. May God’s healing power comfort each person who has felt themselves in danger or who has been plunged deeper into isolation or discouragement.

And yet the wound cuts even deeper. The statement risks putting a stumbling block between Jesus Christ and all who are spiritually hungry and who need and deserve the hope of Resurrection. These include LGBTQ+ people, their beloveds and advocates, and millions more, especially younger people, who will be lost to a life of faith as long as religious institutions hew to doctrines that condemn and exclude God’s people on the basis of orientation and identification. In the 21st century, no church will be able to thrive and grow if it insists that the Almighty God nurses prejudices that God’s people, fallible as they are, are finally leaving behind.

At a moment such as this, it is helpful to remember how our Anglican inheritance led The Episcopal Church to a different view of covenantal marriage. We honor Holy Scripture – but we read it discerningly, understanding that texts were inspired by God and influenced by the mores of their time. We honor tradition – but we recognize that traditions change, enabling us at last, after two millennia of oppression, to proclaim the sacramental equality of women late in the last century and of those of all orientations and identifications in ours. We honor our God-given reason – but we test it in community, sharing authority, debating and collaborating, always remembering the prophets’ call, amplified by Christ, to justice and love, even if it means taking a different view than most Christian denominations and sects.

It is important to say that we don’t get everything right. But in a week such as this, it feels right indeed that I am able to say, on behalf of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, that those who heard a rumor this week that God’s blessing has been withheld may come through our doors, and into our Zoom rooms, knowing that we will recognize God’s blessing in them and their unions and marriages – recognize, and give thanks. Because Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)

The Rt. Rev. John Harvey Taylor

VII Bishop of Los Angeles

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

St. Patrick

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