Primate of Brazil speaks out on General Convention’s passage of marriage equality

Bishop Francisco de Assis da Silva, Primate of Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil, recently issued a statement concerning the Episcopal Church’s recent actions at General Convention to change the marriage canon and establish trial rites in favor of marriage equality.

It begins;

In the light of the decisions of canonical and liturgical character taken by General Convention regarding the marriage of people of the same sex, I want to express the following words:

  1. We respect deeply the TEC’s autonomous decision because this is a constitutive feature of our Anglican Communion.

  2. The decision was made after years of theological conversation, which reflects the degree of maturity of the Episcopal Church.

  3. This decision was taken in a spirit of prayer and reflected the overwhelming majority of the Church by lay and clerical representatives.

  4. The decision saved an important pastoral principle to offer to those who do not feel comfortable with, offering freedom of conscience.


Bishop Francisco notes that Brazil’s Supreme Court has recognized civil marriage between same-sex partners since 2011 and that the Brazilian prayer book has already been change to allow for the possibility of marriage equality, though the Church itself remains in conversation without reaching a final consensus yet.

Speaking to the changes being made in some Provinces regarding marriage equality, and the debate engendered in others, the Primate celebrates diversity while making clear the value of unity.

We see with joy changing processes in the churches of Canada and Scotland. We see with joy advances in discussion of the theme in the churches of England, Wales, Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia. We must respect this process which also occur in dioceses and parts of other Anglican Provinces.

I pray to God so that these processes are done with honest listening from all people. As Province within our Communion, we are committed to the unity and do not agree with any initiative that seeks to isolate the provinces that are adopting new pastoral and theological perspectives.

He also says that these are topics that need to be openly discussed at the next Primate’s meeting and that he understands the Archbishop of Canterbury’s comments as expressing concern but not as an objection and that though he shares a sense of concern, he will remain committed to continuing relationship.

He ends by saying;

I reaffirm my solidarity on the ways where the Episcopal Church is searching to be a safe site for all!

God bless our Anglican Communion and let`s stay in dialogue!


To read the entire statement, go here

For more background info on Bishop Francisco de Assis da Silva, check out this profile on ENS


image: From left, the Rev. David Copley, the Episcopal Church’s officer for mission personnel, Episcopal Church-appointed missionary Monica Vega, Young Adult Service Corps missionary Kirsten Lowell, Archbishop Francisco de Assis da Silva, primate of the Province of Brazil, Young Adult Service Corps missionary Nina Boe, and Episcopal Church-appointed missionary Heidi Schmidt. Photo: Lynette Wilson/ENS


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  1. Professor Christopher Seitz

    What was the tally of all non-USA TEC affiliates on this issue?

    • David Allen

      The majority of them voted against the legislation.

      Bro David

      • Professor Christopher Seitz

        Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, Ecuador Litoral, Haiti, Columbia, Venezuela, Honduras were No.

        Anyone other than Brazil taking this view?

      • Jon White

        Which view is that? No seeking schism and separation? Since all of those dioceses remain part of TEC, as do those domesti dioceses whose bishops did not vote in favor, then I’d have to believe that all of them “share that view.” The good bishop seems to be clear that he personally is concerned about the content of the vote and yet still doesn’t intend to walk apart. What exactly is your point. I saw your ACI essay that seemed to imply a separation was necessary, but hopefully most Anglicans will display the kind of graciousness and generosity of the Brazilian Primate.

      • David Allen

        Why is it that most of your comments here are not-so-subtle back-handed attempts to stir the crap and foment trouble?

        It’s quite childish. It’s certainly not something that I expect from someone who is constantly reminding us that he is a university level professor.

        BTW, the US Virgin Islands are part of the USA. However, I do believe that the TEC-affiliate includes the British Virgin Islands.

    • JC Fisher

      I simply can’t understand why one would begin by asking this question, instead of dealing w/ the Brazilian Primate’s response on its own terms. I mean, if you’re an election worker, then your job is to count the votes. Otherwise—agree, disagree, comment?

      FWIW, I think Bishop Francisco offers a very nuanced take, which I appreciate. It’s rare to find someone contribute light, rather than heat!

  2. Professor Christopher Seitz

    “Which view is that?”

    How complicated is this? The view that Brazil has is not the view that the seven Bishops above hold.

    My question was, whether anyone other than Brazil holds this view in the non-USA affiliates?

    As to what the seven Bishops will do about associating with TEC after GC 2015, I have no knowledge. Perhaps people here can clarify.

    Grace and peace.

  3. Professor Christopher Seitz

    Dear David

    I think blog discourse is a necessary evil of our age.

    Which is why senior level academics who never believed that the internet would become more important than doing research and writing books have had to adjust.

    But I keep publishing books because this remains for me the necessary discipline of university life. And graduate students apply to PhD programs because of this. I hope this will remain so, but I confess I worry.

    Keep up the good work at this blog.

    • John Chilton

      Amusing that ACI does not take comments.

    • David Allen

      You’re now at 4 comments for the day in this thread!

    • Gregory Orloff

      As someone who works in academia, I know that academicians also keep publishing books because they are contractually bound to do so or because they cannot obtain tenure and promotion without doing so. And then the academy can make more money by selling those books, often at hefty prices. Getting royalties from the sale of those books motivates some academicians, too. Require one’s own book for one’s own course or seminar, and the perks are magnified!

      • Professor Christopher Seitz

        People don’t just write books to get tenure. Else they’d simply stop (I had tenure in 1993). PhD applicants want to participate in an intellectual project they are able to identify and know has academic traction.

        I don’t understand your comment about academia making money on an author’s books. Publishers are not academia. T&T Clark, Mohr Siebeck, Eerdmans, Baker Academic, Westminster John Knox, Walter de Gruyter, Augsburg Fortress, Abingdon et al are private or church-related entities.

      • Cynthia Katsarelis

        Gregory, academics generally do not make much money on their books. When we get the yearly royalty check from Oxford UP, we decide whether to use it to get a pizza or buy a tank of gas. Text books seem to yield more.

        At an R-1 research institution, generally the work load is something like 40-40-20, 40 percent teaching, 40 research, and 20 percent service. An Ivy League might give even more time and resources for research. So at those sorts of institutions, the academics JOB is to contribute to human knowledge, generally via articles, conference papers, and books. The royalties for it are quite minimal.

        It is best to stay with the subject matter and positions.

        I congratulate Dr. Seitz on 22 post-tenure years, even if I seem to disagree with nearly every syllable he writes!

      • Professor Christopher Seitz

        Thank you Cynthia.

        I suspect what I have written on LGBT related topics amounts to perhaps 3% of my published work. I have trouble believing the syllables of my recent commentary on Colossians you have read and disagree with!

        At any rate, kind regards.

      • Cynthia Katsarelis

        Well Dr. Seitz, I’m going to have to reference the father in Fiddler on the Roof and wish I now had time to study Scripture again, more maturely, more thoroughly, and with the latest scholarship. Alas.

      • Gregory Orloff

        “It is best to stay with the subject matter and positions.”

        How right you are, Cynthia. And staying with the subject matter and positions includes, on a thread about a Brazilian bishop’s position on marriage equality, not diverting into tangents as to how senior-level academicians feel somehow uneasy about blog discourse or how one write books (off of which university presses certainly do make a profit), unlike the rest of the hoi polloi.

      • Professor Christopher Seitz

        Look, I was being criticized for my involvement (as though blogs are supposed to be just for the like-minded) and then you made an inaccurate comment about academic life, which was corrected. And now you come back for another round. Yale University Press, e.g., doesn’t contribute anything to an author’s Yale University employer, and neither does Oxford University Press, etc.

        Have a good day.

  4. Bishop da Silva’s statement expresses well and graciously the spirit of the bonds of affection that hold the provinces of the Anglican Communion together.

  5. Jeremy Bates

    Why do you say “anyone other than Brazil holds this view in the non-USA affiliates”?

    Brazil is not part of TEC. The Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil is an independent province of the Anglican Communion.

  6. Ellen Campbell

    Very gracious and pastoral comments by the bishop.

  7. Cliff Taylor

    Seitz and the ACI-types have published a great deal of the conservative arguments against LGBT-inclusion. But, inversely, I wonder if the majority of people in non-LGBT welcoming dioceses are aware of how much discernment, prayer, and theological reflection The Taskforce on the Study of Marriage truly did before General Convention, including their final report and “Dearly Beloved”. Of course their work has been critiqued by Seitz and others who interpret Scripture differently, but it still stands and should be posted on diocesan websites (Albany’s homepage for example, offers no evidence that this was discerned by the entire church, and offers no alternative perspectives (see the Lev. 18:22 quote there)…
    GC did not succumb to culture, it wasn’t done to be popular or align with SCOTUS, and TEC isn’t alone in the AC: I take the Primate of Brazil’s words here as a breath of fresh air, a wonderful greeting in Christ and an uplifting exhortation.

  8. Professor Christopher Seitz

    Thank you for a serious comment.

Comments are closed.