Prof. Adrian Thatcher
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Further Marriages in the Anglican Communion

This article has two sources. First, in 2005 the Church of England Bishops had just published their guidelines, ‘Advice to the Clergy,’ about the questions to put to couples coming to them for marriage in church, at least one of whom had been divorced. The then Bishop of Truro, the Rt. Revd. Bill Ind, invited me to talk to the diocesan clergy about these guidelines, and my comments to them are contained in this essay.

The second source is a conference on Divorce held in the Catholic University, Leuven, Belgium, in July 2005. I gave an Anglican perspective on what remains a vexed topic for the Roman Catholic tradition. The Prince of Wales and Mrs. Camilla Parker Bowles had been married in a civil ceremony in the same month. I refer to this. Afterwards the Archbishop of Canterbury conducted a service of blessing on their marriage, called ‘The Order for Prayer and Dedication after a Civil Marriage’. The European audience, almost entirely Roman Catholic, had watched the ceremony on television. Some of them felt that the Anglicans were dodging the issues raised by this marriage. Why were we prepared to bless a civil marriage, yet not to provide a marriage service? Was the blessing ‘really’ a marriage? The Royal Wedding greatly helped us to focus on the issues, and in the intervening years, they continue to cause anxieties, pastoral and theological.

The lecture finally appeared in Burggraeve,, ‘Marriage – Divorce – Remarriage’ (Leuven: Peeters, 2007).

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