As reported in the Guardian yesterday, the Bishop of Buckingham put forward three points in support of Jeremy Pemberton’s employment tribunal case against Bishop Richard Inwood.
All three points are remarkably weak, but they need challenging in case they gain further credence.
First, he says that Canon B 30 gives a ”˜lousy definition’ of marriage because it cannot tell you who is and is not married. It is perfectly true that the Canon does not tell you who the state may think is married. What it does tell you very clearly, however, on the basis of the teaching of Christ in the Gospels (Matthew 19:3-12, Mark 10:2-12) and what is said in the Book of Common Prayer, is what the Church of England understands marriage to be and on this basis it is clear that Jeremy Pemberton is not married regardless of what the state may say. The state may say that black is white but that does not make it so.
Secondly, he argues that the first part of the Canon, drawn from the Convocation resolutions of 1938 was not originally making ”˜a doctrinal point.’ Actually, yes it was….