Second Anglican Priest Marries Same-Sex Partner.

File:Canterbury-Cathedral-Church-of-England-1890-1900.jpgOn June 22nd 2014, The Guardian reported that a second Anglican priest has defied the Church to marry his same-sex partner. The Rev. Andrew Cain who is currently based in West Hampstead, London, was married on Saturday.

It puts the Church of England (COE) in a difficult position.

Ever since same-sex marriage became legal in March 2014, the Church has been stuck between it's more liberal congregations and priests, and the more staunch traditionalists from its overseas branches and within the Synod (the church's law-making body). The present Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is trying to engage all sides to find a compromise, but it won't be easy, and it might not be enough to avoid a split in the Church.

Rev. Cain isn't the first priest to marry a same-sex partner, however. The Church's first was Canon Jeremy Pemberton, who has since been dismissed from his post in the diocese of Southwell and Nottingham. Employed on a fixed-term contract, Canon Pemberton was easier to remove.

In the COE, freehold means that Rev. Cain is afforded considerable protection. Vicars, Priests and Rectors given the freehold of their parish can't be removed from the position unless they've commited a very serious offence. Having a same-sex marriage, would not constitute the kind of sever misdemeonour that would see a priest ousted.

The problem for Rev. Cain will come if he ever decides to look for another job within the church. The Guardian goes on to say:

"What will be hard for both men – and for any other clergy whose same sex marriages become public – will be to find another job. The bishops have appointed the bishop of Norwich, Graham James, to maintain a blacklist of clergy who will not be considered for any future roles."

The Church is in a difficult position. Whilst acknowledging it does not have the support to oppose same-sex marriage, it lacks the will and the doctrine to accept it outright. Instead, under its umbrella, two opposing sides threaten to divide it. Rev. Cain and Canon Pemberton are not going to be isolated incidents and this presents a very real problem to the conservative elements of the COE and its hope for a united future.

You can read the full Guardian article here

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