Sydney’s Anglican Church has been criticised after changing the marriage ceremony to include a vow by the wife to “submit” to her husband – a pledge likened by critics to “reading Fifty Shades of Grey”.
The Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, known as one of the world’s most conservative Anglican bishops, defended the new vow as an attempt to combat the destructive rise of egalitarianism and individualism.He said the vow was “not an invitation to bossiness, let alone abuse”.”In the last three or four decades a certain egalitarianism has crept into society and the way people think and I understand that’s the reigning philosophy,” he told ABC television.
“I just happen to think it’s wrong, unhelpful, and in the end we will find it’s better to recognise that men and women are different, that we have at certain points different responsibilities and men will be better men if we acknowledge that.”The new ceremony, expected to be approved by the diocese of Sydney at its synod in October, requires the minister to ask the bride: “Will you honour and submit to him, as the church submits to Christ?”. The bride then pledges “to love and submit” to her husband.
Though the church will allow couples to choose a vow which does not include the controversial pledge, the new wording has already been used in some ceremonies.Stephanie Judd, 26, a Christian studies teacher, opted for the new vow at her wedding in January.”The husband’s love is one of sacrificial love, and to submit to that kind of love is not oppressive, but is actually a joy and a great freedom,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald.
But the new vow triggered furious public criticism and prompted questions about its legality because it had not been approved by the church’s national governing body. The Sydney diocese is notorious for its staunch conservatism and does not allow the full ordination of women.”People criticise the Sydney Anglicans for being out of touch, so how wonderful to see the success of Fifty Shades of Grey being so rapidly reflected in the service,” wrote Richard Glover, a Fairfax Media columnist.”The only question: will fluffy handcuffs now be a mandatory part of bridal wear?” – Telegraph