• Bishop breaks ground

    DISCERNING TRUTH: Bishop John Parkes outside Holy Trinity Cathedral in Wangaratta. PHOTO: Luke Plummer

    WANGARATTA’S bishop has become the country’s first senior Anglican cleric publicly to recognise that the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Australia has become inevitable.

    Bishop John Parkes – a former barrister – has told the Chronicle that he believes the country has “grown up” and that the federal government will be bound within a relatively short time to change the Marriage Act to enable people of the same gender to marry.

    He admits that the challenge of such a move for religious faiths will be complex – but does not believe that gay marriage will become “a betrayal of the Gospel or the end of the world”.

    “As I read the Bible in context, as I read the way that the church has dealt with it and now deals with it, I can find no biblical prohibition,” the bishop said.

    His view has been welcomed by Muriel Porter, a Melbourne journalist and academic and a progressive member of Australia’s 250-member Anglican general synod, or church ‘parliament’.

    “I hope that many more bishops speak out as Bishop Parkes has done because I know that there are a number of bishops and leading clergy in this country who wish to see faithful, loving, monogamous same-sex relationships honoured with marriage,” Dr Porter said yesterday.

    “If they keep silent nothing will happen.

    “Silence will just allow hard-line fundamentalists to dominate the debate.

    “But if our leading clergy speak up like this, as Bishop Parkes has done, then I would see the church coming in a much more friendly way – and more quickly – to a resolution on this question.”

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