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More Christian Clergy Are Saying “I Don’t” to Civil Marriage

Last week I posted an exploratory paper called Civil Marriage, Uncivil Times by The Reverend Canon Mark Rudolph, about whom you can learn here, who the rector of Saint John the Evangelist Anglican Church in Abington, Pennsylvania.  You can see the aforesaid post here.  The basic thrust of the paper is the movement of Christian clergy away from issuing civil marriage licenses and merely conducting Christian (i.e.: religious) marriages.

Fr. Rudolph drafted this paper as its proposition gains steam in American Christendom.  Indeed, just recently Philadelphia Roman Catholic Archbishop Charles Chaput suggested that the Church get out of the civil marriage business (see here).

Apparently Fr. Rudolph and Arbp. Chaput are onto something as the idea that Christian clergy discontinue issuing civil marriage licenses has gained traction in other Christian circles.  Jonathan Meritt in On Faith & Culture reports here that this idea is becoming more than just a merely theoretical action to be taken.  Indeed, First Things has now issued a so-called “marriage pledge” calling and challenging Christian clergy to withdraw from issuing civil marriages.  You can see the pledge here.  Of course, there are also Christian clergy who wish to slow down this movement a little in order to allow for more time for discernment, and you can read about that here.

So, needless to say, this is a very interesting development and I will be following it and reporting on it here so please stay tuned!

Civil Marriage, Uncivil Times: An Exploratory Paper

The Reverend Canon Mark Rudolph, about whom you can learn here, is the rector of Saint John the Evangelist Anglican Church in Abington, Pennsylvania.  As it happens, St. John’s is my home parish and Fr. Rudolph is my priest.  St. John’s, like every other church which remains steadfast in supporting the traditional, historic, biblical, and Christian teaching about marriage, is struggling to find its place in a cultural, legal, and governmental environment where Christian marriage is in steep decline and battling back things like divorce, adultery, unmarried cohabitation, and homosexual relationships, among many other things.

Christians are finding various ways to address the various social ills described above, and one way, though certainly not the only way, to do so, is described by Fr. Rudolph in his exploratory paper entitled Civil Marriage, Uncivil Times.  In the paper, Fr. Rudolph surveys the status of civil marriage in the United States, takes account of where it is going at this point, and suggests a way for churches to deal with their involvement in civil marriage in the near and foreseeable future.

His paper is rather thought provoking and appears to reflect the direction many churches are going right now.  I have attached his paper to this blog to spark a conversation and invite comments and questions about it.  It can be reviewed by clicking on the images below or, at the bottom of this blog, by clicking the link to the .pdf file.

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Here is a downloadable .pdf of the paper: civil marriage uncivil times.11-17-14

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