The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney has today caused outrage in his defence of a controversial decision to change the wording of marriage vows in Australia.
Writing in The Sydney Morning Herald, Peter Jensen explained why, he believed, a wife should 'submit' to her husband on their wedding day, sparking a fierce debate on blogs, Twitter and Facebook.
Peter Jensen thinks egalitarianism is 'unhelpful'. I think Peter Jensen is 'illogical', 'irrational' and 'a dinosaur'.
— Ms D (@msdwrites) August 29, 2012
According to Jensen's editorial in Sydney Morning Herald, brides will promise to 'submit' to their husbands under a new marriage vow that the Anglican diocese of Sydney is expected to approve at its synod in October.
Should a wife agree to 'submit' to her husband?
It requires the minister to ask of the bride: ''Will you honour and submit to him, as the church submits to Christ?'' and for her to pledge ''to love and submit'' to her husband -- and is already being used in some Sydney parishes.
The controversy comes in the wake of Huffpost UK reporting that three people have been allowed a civil union in Brazil.
"Her 'submission' is her voluntary acceptance of this pattern of living together, her glad recognition that this is what he intends to bring to the marriage and that it is for her good, his good and the good of children born to them.
She is going to accept him as a man who has chosen the self-discipline and commitment of marriage for her sake and for their children. At a time when women rightly complain that they cannot get men to commit, here is a pattern which demands real commitment all the way."
Jensen argues that secular views of marriage, driven by a destructive individualism and libertarianism, is inconsistent with the reality of long-term relationships such as marriage and family life.
However, the legality of the new vow has already been called into question.
Archdeacon John Davis said to the Sydney Morning Herald that the changes not only carried ''unpleasant connotations'', but could also be illegal.
"Under the Marriage Act a religious ceremony must use a service authorised by the religion's governing body, which in this case would be the Anglican Church of Australia as the act is a Commonwealth one," Dr Davis said.
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