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Conservative Anglican Diocese in Australia accused of sexism

Conservative Anglican Diocese in Australia accused of sexism

A conservative Anglican Diocese, in Sydney Australia, is using new marriage vows, which changes the word “obey” to “submit” and this new wording caused some people to accuse the diocese of sexism.

Conservative Anglican dioceses do not allow the ordination of women, but this diocese took a step further with new wording.

Muriel Porter, a Melbourne academic and laywoman who writes on Anglican Church issues, said replacing the word “obey” with “submit” was derogatory. “I’m horrified,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald.  ”It is a very dangerous concept, especially in terms of society’s propensity for domestic violence.”

Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen said the new vows emphasize a husband’s commitment and a wife’s responsibility. “Her ‘submission’ is her voluntary acceptance of living together, her glad recognition that this is what he intends to bring to the marriage and that it is for her good, his good and the good of children born to them.”

Robert Forsyth, a bishop in Sydney, Australia and the chair of the diocese’s liturgical panel that drafted the vows, stated that they based new wording on the New Testament, which he says relates to the Church submitting to Christ.

However, Victoria’s Archbishop John Davis, an expert on the Church’s Constitution, says it could lead to legal issues, especially since they are restricted to one diocese.

“The legal relationship is between the Commonwealth and the Anglican Church of Australia, and not between the Commonwealth and each of the 24 dioceses in the country,” he said.

Primate Phillip Aspinall stated that the changes this diocese made are possibly questionable under Canon Law and they will discuss this change that the diocese made at the next national tribunal.

The Anglican Book of Common Prayer came into existence in 1662 and the Church never used the word “submit” in the marriage vows.  The use of the word in the Australian diocese is a first in Anglican history.

About Mriana

Mriana is a humanist and the author of "A Source of Misery", who grew up in the Church of God, Anderson Indiana. After she became an adult, she joined the Episcopal Church, but later left the Church and became a humanist. She has two grown sons and raises cats. Mriana raised her sons in the Episcopal Church, but in their teen years, they left the Church and she soon followed. One of her sons became a "Tao Buddhist" and the other a None, creating his own world view. She enjoys writing, reading, science, philosophy, psychology, and other subjects. Mriana is also an animal lover, who cares for their welfare as living beings, who are part of the earth. She is a huge Star Trek fan in a little body.
  • Once upon a time I thought it was cool for churches to get political, specifically against war. But that takes the back seat to issues of privilege these days.

    I've decided it isn't cool at all for churches to 'get political'.

  • skater60

    Obey and Submit are equally stupid, unless of course we are talking Bondage! Ooooo bondage! But I digress. Anyway… folks in relationships are equal and consensus must be developed on any decision – acting a lot like actual friends! The "church submits to Christ" thing is not a relationship of equals. It is a relationship between the All-Knowing and the Rather Dumb.

    So there ya go.

    • I never liked either word, because they mean the same thing, at least in my mind.

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