Diocese of Montreal to draft liturgy for gay blessings


The Bishop of Montreal, the Rt Revd Barry Clarke, has indicated in an interview that he will follow through with the wishes of the diocese of Montreal and set up a commission to start drafting a liturgy for blessing lesbian and gay marriages. The bishop said he would be proceeding with plans already agreed by the diocese before the Canadian bishops met last week. The Montreal synod passed a resolution a year ago asking the bishop to grant permission to clergy to bless same-sex marriages and to authorize an appropriate liturgy.

Canada’s bishops said on Friday 31 October that a large majority of them were committed to a moratorium on the blessing of same-sex unions as proposed in the Lambeth Conference Reflections document. Bishop Clarke said he was not part of that majority. “I don’t want to stop the journey, because I think that would be unhealthy,” he said. “My intention is to honour the request of the diocese.” Bishop Clarke questioned under what authority such a moratorium would come as he said the Lambeth Conference is “not a legislative body.”

In 2003, the diocese of New Westminster, British Columbia, was the first in Canada to authorize some parishes to bless gay unions.

The Bishop of Ottawa, the Rt Revd John Chapman told his synod before last week’s meeting of the Canadian House of Bishops that he intended to give permission to one parish to bless same-sex unions once an appropriate rite is developed.

Canada is one of the few countries in the world that have legalized gay marriage.

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