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Anglican priests defy ban on same-sex blessings

'We must do what we are called in conscience to do'

Despite a decision by the Anglican synod Jun 19 banning the blessing of same-sex unions within the Canadian Anglican Church, congregations in Victoria and Toronto are pledging to continue blessing same-sex unions and even marrying same-sex couples.

“We must do what we are called in conscience to do. It is not our intention to leave, but to stay in our Church and have our act of conscience respected,” says Jim Love, warden at Holy Trinity in Toronto.

The synod’s outcome still allows individual churches to bless same-sex unions, he maintains. “There were really two significant resolutions,” he explains. “The most significant one was not the last one but the one before it — where it was passed by a majority that the blessing of same-sex unions was not contrary to core doctrine. If it’s not contrary to core doctrine, then it would fall to each diocese and bishop, clergy, and the parishes, to make their own decisions about it.”

Other congregations are defying the synod’s decision as well.

James Cowan, the bishop of the Diocese of British Columbia, issued a warning to Victoria’s St Saviour’s priest Antonio Osorio after Osorio blessed four same-sex couples in early July.

Cowan says Osorio has “affirmed his intention to comply with the guidelines and do nothing that will challenge my direction. I consider this matter closed.”

Osorio could not be reached for comment.