Suum ius cuique, or why the Welsh Bishops are calling evil good.

Sep 14, 2018 by

by Martin Barrett Davie, Reflections of an Anglican Theologian:

‘Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.’ (Isaiah 5:20)

These words were addressed by the prophet Isaiah to the people of Judah as part of his warning of forthcoming divine judgement. They warn that God will judge those who seek to justify sin by arguing that it is not really sinful at all because good is evil and evil is really good. They came to mind this week following the announcement this week that the Governing Body of the Church in Wales had voted to support a proposal from the Welsh bishops to explore ‘formal provision for those in same-gender relationships.’

In this post I shall explain why the words of Isaiah apply to the Welsh decision.

The announcement from the Church in Wales did not explain exactly what is meant by ‘formal provision’ but the context of the statement as part of the long running Welsh discussion of same-sex relationships makes it clear that what is meant is at a minimum the liturgical blessing of same-sex relationships in Church and more probably the introduction of same-sex marriages. The fact that the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church was invited to talk to the Governing Body about the process by which the Scots came to allow the celebration of same-sex marriages is a clear indication that this is what the Welsh have in mind.

In 2015 the Governing Body voted in a secret ballot to allow same-sex marriages to be conducted in the Church in Wales, but the majority was not large enough to allow the matter to proceed further. The passing of the motion this week indicates that the intention is to re-visit this issue with a view to making it happen this time.

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