|Church of Ireland|
|Eaglais na hÉireann|
Kirk o Airlann
|Primates|| Richard Clarke, |
Archbishop of Armagh, Michael Jackson,
Archbishop of Dublin
|Headquarters||Church of Ireland House |
Dublin 6 D06 CF67
|Founder||Episcopal succession from Saint Patrick, according to Church of Ireland tradition|
|Separated from||Catholic Church|
|Part of a series on|
The Church of Ireland (Irish : Eaglais na hÉireann; Ulster-Scots: Kirk o Airlann) is a Christian church in Ireland and an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion. It is organised on an all-Ireland basis and is the second largest Christian church on the island after the Catholic Church. Like other Anglican churches, it has retained elements of pre-Reformation practice, notably its episcopal polity, while rejecting the primacy of the Pope. In theological and liturgical matters, it incorporates many principles of the Reformation, particularly those espoused during the English Reformation. The church self-identifies as being both catholic and Reformed. Within the church, differences exist between those members who are more Catholic-leaning (high church) and those who are more Protestant-leaning (evangelical). For historical and cultural reasons, the Church of Ireland is generally identified as a Protestant church.
Irish is a Goidelic language of the Celtic languages family, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family. Irish originated in Ireland and was historically spoken by Irish people throughout Ireland. Irish is spoken as a first language in substantial areas of counties Galway, Kerry, Cork and Donegal, smaller areas of Waterford, Mayo and Meath, and a few other locations, and as a second language by a larger group of habitual but non-traditional speakers across the country.
Ulster Scots or Ulster-Scots, also known as Ulster Scotch, Scots-Irish and Ullans, is the Scots language as spoken in parts of Ulster in Ireland. It is generally considered a dialect or group of dialects of Scots, although groups such as the Ulster-Scots Language Society and Ulster-Scots Academy consider it a language in its own right, and the Ulster-Scots Agency and former Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure have used the terminology Ulster-Scots language.
Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, and the twentieth-largest on Earth.
The Church of Ireland describes itself as
The Church of Ireland considers itself Catholic because it is in possession of a continuous tradition of faith and practice, based on scripture and early traditions, enshrined in the Catholic creeds, together with the sacraments and apostolic ministry.However, the Church of Ireland is also Protestant, or Reformed, since it opposes doctrines and ways of worshipping that it considers contrary to scripture and which led to the Reformation.
The word Catholic comes from the Greek phrase καθόλου (katholou), meaning "on the whole", "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words κατά meaning "about" and ὅλος meaning "whole". The first use of "Catholic" was by the church father Saint Ignatius of Antioch in his Letter to the Smyrnaeans. In the context of Christian ecclesiology, it has a rich history and several usages.
When the English Parliament declared that the Holy See had no power over the Church in England, the Church in Ireland also conformed, assuming possession of most church property and so retaining a great repository of religious architecture and other items, though some were later destroyed. The church explains its possession of so many of the ancient church buildings of Ireland by reference to the precedent set by Emperor Constantine the Great in the 4th century
Constantine the Great, also known as Constantine I, was a Roman Emperor who ruled between 306 and 337 AD. Born in Naissus, in Dacia Ripensis, city now known as Niš, he was the son of Flavius Valerius Constantius, a Roman Army officer of Illyrian origins. His mother Helena was Greek. His father became Caesar, the deputy emperor in the west, in 293 AD. Constantine was sent east, where he rose through the ranks to become a military tribune under Emperors Diocletian and Galerius. In 305, Constantius was raised to the rank of Augustus, senior western emperor, and Constantine was recalled west to campaign under his father in Britannia (Britain). Constantine was acclaimed as emperor by the army at Eboracum after his father's death in 306 AD. He emerged victorious in a series of civil wars against Emperors Maxentius and Licinius to become sole ruler of both west and east by 324 AD.
Since the days of the Emperor Constantine in the 4th century European states saw themselves as having a central role in the government of the Church. This church-state link was vigorously applied when the Normans came to Ireland in the 12th century. Bishops were required to do homage to the king for their lands, just like earls and barons, who were vassals of the crown. It was therefore accepted, both during and after the Reformation, that the Crown should continue to exercise that authority over the church, in which it continued to play a central role. In this way, church property that existed at the time of the Reformation, buildings included, was retained by the Reformed, Established (state) Church of Ireland.
In Ireland, a considerable majority of the population continued to adhere to Catholicism despite the political and economic advantages of membership in the state church. Despite its numerical minority, however, the Church of Ireland remained the official state church until the Irish Church Act 1869 disestablished it on 1 January 1871, under Queen Victoria and her Liberal government led by William Ewart Gladstone.
The Irish Church Act 1869 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which separated the Church of Ireland from the Church of England and disestablished the former, a body that commanded the adherence of a small minority of the population of Ireland. The act was passed during the first ministry of William Ewart Gladstone and came into force on 1 January 1871. It was strongly opposed by Conservatives in both houses of Parliament.
Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. On 1 May 1876, she adopted the additional title of Empress of India. Known as the Victorian era, her reign of 63 years and seven months was longer than that of any of her predecessors. It was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire.
William Ewart Gladstone was a British statesman and Liberal politician. In a career lasting over 60 years, he served for 12 years as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, spread over four terms beginning in 1868 and ending in 1894. He also served as Chancellor of the Exchequer four times.
The Church of Ireland claimed that in breaking with Rome the reformed established church was reverting to a condition that had obtained in the church in Ireland prior to the 12th century – the independent character of Celtic Christianity. Modern scholarship, however, sees the early Irish church as different from, but still a part of, Roman Christianity, with the result that the Church of Ireland and the Irish Catholic church can both claim descent from St Patrick.
Celtic Christianity or Insular Christianity refers broadly to certain features of Christianity that were common, or held to be common, across the Celtic-speaking world during the Early Middle Ages. Celtic Christianity has been conceived of with differing levels of specificity: some writers have described a distinct Celtic Church uniting the Celtic peoples and distinguishing them from the Roman Church, while others classify it as simply a set of distinctive practices occurring in those areas. Varying scholars reject the former notion, but note that there were certain traditions and practices present in both the Irish and British churches that were not seen in the wider Christian world.
Claims of legitimacy for the Norman invasion of Ireland were derived from a Papal Bull of 1155 – Laudabiliter , although the governing structures in Ireland had never acknowledged any external authority over Ireland. The bull claimed to give King Henry II of England the right to invade Ireland, ostensibly as a means of reforming the church in Ireland more directly under the control of the Holy See.The authorisation from the Holy See was based upon the putative Donation of Constantine which claimed to make every Christian island in the western Roman Empire the property of the Papacy, though as Ireland was never a part of the Roman Empire, it had no real relevance. By the time of the English Reformation, the Donation had been exposed as a forgery, and Henry VIII sought to undo by enforcing laws regarding praemunire the historic royal homage to the Papacy that was delivered by John, King of England before him.
The Church of Ireland is the second largest church in Ireland and the third largest in Northern Ireland, after the Catholic and Presbyterian churches.
In 1155, Adrian IV claimed Ireland as a papal fief and granted Henry II the Lordship of Ireland. The reformed Church of Ireland was officially founded in 1536 when the Irish Parliament accepted Henry VIII as its head, rather than the Pope, confirmed when Henry also became King of Ireland in 1541. The church was initially restricted to Dublin, driven by its bishop, George Browne. The pace of reform in quickened after 1547 under Edward VI, ended when his sister Mary I restored Catholicism in 1558; her reign was largely characterised by inertia.
When Elizabeth succeeded Mary in 1558, only five Irish bishops accepted the 1560 Elizabethan Settlement, leaving the new administration with little alternative but to replace the vast majority.This replacement was complicated by the relative poverty of the Church compared to its Catholic predecessor, its lack of Irish-speaking clergy and the poor reputation of others. For example, Hugh Curwen backed the reforms of Henry and Edward, but accepted appointment as Catholic Archbishop of Dublin in 1555 by Mary, then became a Protestant under Elizabeth and was later charged with moral delinquency by Adam Loftus, Archbishop of Armagh.
The project to convert the native Irish met with limited success in the 16th century, since
'..in order to convert the native Irish, it needed native ministers; but the supply of native ministers was meagre because the native Irish were unconverted.'
A gradualist policy was adopted, similar to that used for Catholic areas in Northern England, leading to "church papist" clergy and laity.This permitted nominal conformance with the established Church "whilst continuing to worship...in the traditional, pre-Reformation manner". Officially abandoned in 1603, the practice of 'occasional conformity' persisted in both England and Ireland well into the mid-18th century.
The first translation of the New Testament into Irish Gaelic was begun by Nicholas Walsh, Bishop of Ossory. This was continued after his death in 1585 by his assistant, John Kearny, and Nehemiah Donnellan, Archbishop of Tuam, completed by Donnellan's successor William Daniel and printed in 1602. A translation of the Old Testament was prepared by William Bedel, Bishop of Kilmore (1571–1642), but not published until 1685 in a revised version by Narcissus Marsh (1638–1713), Archbishop of Dublin.William Daniel also translated the Book of Common Prayer in 1606, while an Irish version of the revised 1662 prayer book was published in 1712 by John Richardson (1664–1747).
At the beginning of the 17th century, the Church was largely confined to the English-speaking minority in The Pale. The Irish majority remained Catholic and Scots settlers in Ulster were initially members of the Church of Ireland, but from the 1640s established an independent Presbyterian church. Clergy continued to be imported, but there were also Irish born ministers, such as the church of Ireland's leading theologian and historian, James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh from 1625 to 1656. In 1615 the Church of Ireland drew up its own confession of faith. Similar to the Church of England's 39 Articles, they were more detailed, less ambiguous and often explicitly Calvinist.When the 39 Articles were formally adopted in 1634, Ussher ensured they were in addition to the Irish Articles, not a replacement, but the latter soon fell by the wayside and the Thirty Nine Articles remain the confession of the Church to the present day.
Under Charles I, the Church of Ireland claimed to be the original and universal church, while the Papacy was an innovation, thus vesting it with the supremacy of Apostolic succession.While Rome naturally disputed this interpretation, advocates included Ussher himself and Charles' former personal chaplain John Leslie, a key supporter of Caroline reforms in Scotland who was appointed bishop of Derry & Raphoe in 1633.
During the 1641–1653 Irish Confederate Wars, nearly two-thirds of Ireland was controlled by the largely Catholic Confederacy. In 1644, Giovanni Battista Rinuccini became Papal Nuncio to Ireland; however, the Confederacy also included significant numbers of Royalist members of the Church of Ireland while Irish Catholicism had developed greater tolerance for Protestants and hostility to elaborate ritual. Rinuccini's refusal to compromise with the Church of Ireland and the re-introduction of ceremonies such as foot washing divided the Confederacy and contributed to its rapid collapse in the 1649-1652 Cromwell's re-conquest of Ireland.
The church was re-established after the 1660 Restoration of Charles II and in January 1661, meetings by 'Papists, Presbyterians, Independents or separatists' were made illegal.In practice, the penal laws were loosely enforced and after 1666, Protestant Dissenters and Catholics were allowed to resume their seats in the Parliament of Ireland.
In 1685, the Catholic James II became king with considerable backing in all three kingdoms; this changed when his policies seemed to go beyond tolerance for Catholicism and into an attack on the established church. His prosecution of the Seven Bishops in England for seditious libel in June 1688 destroyed his support base, while many felt James lost his right to govern by ignoring his coronation Oath to maintain the primacy of the Protestant religion.
This made oaths a high profile issue, since ministers of the national churches of England, Scotland and Ireland were required to swear allegiance to the ruling monarch. When the 1688 Glorious Revolution replaced James with his Protestant daughter and son-in-law, Mary II and William III, a minority felt bound by their previous oath and refused to swear another. This led to the Non-Juring schism, although for the vast majority, this was a matter of personal conscience, rather than political support for James.
The Irish church was less affected by this controversy, although the Bishop of Kilmore and Ardagh became a Non-Juror, as did a handful of the clergy, including Jacobite propagandist Charles Leslie.The Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland is traditionally viewed as beginning in 1691 when the Treaty of Limerick ended the 1689-1691 Williamite War. The Church re-established control and the 1697 Bishop's Banishment Act expelled Catholic bishops and regular clergy from Ireland, leaving only the so-called secular clergy.
In 1704, the Test Act was extended to Ireland; this effectively restricted public office to members of the Church of Ireland and officially remained in place until the 1829 Catholic Relief Act. However, the practice of occasional conformity continued, while many Catholic gentry by-passed these restrictions by educating their sons as Protestants, their daughters as Catholics; Edmund Burke is one example.
It is estimated fewer than 15 - 20% of the Irish population were nominally members of the church, which remained a minority under pressure from both Catholics and Protestant Nonconformists. The 1719 Toleration Act allowed Nonconformists freedom of worship, while the Irish Parliament paid their ministers a small subsidy known as the 'regium donum.'
Although willing to permit a degree of flexibility, like their English counterparts, Irish bishops viewed their status as the national church to be non-negotiable and used their seats in the Irish House of Lords to enforce this. However, in 1725 Parliament passed the first in a series of 'temporary' Indemnity Acts, which allowed office holders to 'postpone' taking the oaths; the bishops were willing to approve these, since they could be repealed at any point.
In the 17th century, religious and political beliefs were often assumed to be the same; thus Catholics were considered political subversives, simply because of their religion. During the 18th century, sectarian divisions were replaced by a growing sense of Irish autonomy; in 1749, Bishop Berkeley issued an address to the Catholic clergy, urging them to work together with the church in the (Irish) national interest.After 1750, the government increasingly viewed Catholic emancipation as a way to reduce the power of Protestant nationalists like the United Irishmen; this had potential implications for the church since the requirement non-church members pay tithes was deeply resented. Ironically, the movement ended with the largely non-sectarian 1798 Irish Rebellion and the resulting incorporation of Ireland and England.
Following the legal union of Ireland and the Kingdom of Great Britain by the Act of Union 1800, the Church of Ireland was also united with the Church of England to form the United Church of England and Ireland. At the same time, one archbishop and three bishops from Ireland (selected by rotation) were given seats in the House of Lords at Westminster, joining the two archbishops and twenty-four bishops from the Church of England.
The Irish Church was over-staffed, with 22 bishops, including 4 archbishops, for an official membership of 852,000, less than that of the Church of England's Diocese of Durham. The 1833 Irish Church Temporalities Bill reduced these to 12, as well as making financial changes. Part of a series of reforms by the 1830-1834 Whig government that included the 1832 Parliamentary Reform Act, it caused deep political splits. The implications of government legislating church governance was a contributory factor in the Oxford Movement and had wide repercussions for the Anglican Communion.
Another source of resentment was the funding of the Church by tithes imposed on all Irish subjects, even though the majority were not members. This led to anomalies like the incumbent of a living near Bessborough, who in 1833 was receiving £1,000 per year, despite the fact the parish had no Protestants or even a church.The "Tithe War" of 1831–36 led to their replacement by the tithe rent charge but they did not entirely disappear until the Irish Church Act 1869.
The Act ended the Church's status as a state organisation; its bishops were removed from the House of Lords and its property transferred to the government. Compensation was paid but in the immediate aftermath, parishes faced great difficulty in local financing after the loss of rent-generating lands and buildings.
The head of the Church of Ireland is, ex officio, the Archbishop of Armagh. In 1870, immediately prior to its disestablishment, the Church provided for its internal government, led by a General Synod, and with financial and administrative support by a Representative Church Body. Like other Irish churches, the Church of Ireland did not divide when Ireland was partitioned in the 1920s and it continues to be governed on an all-Ireland basis.
The polity of the Church of Ireland is episcopal church governance, as in other Anglican churches. The church maintains the traditional structure dating to pre-Reformation times, a system of geographical parishes organised into dioceses. There were more than 30 of these historically, grouped into four provinces; today, after consolidation over the centuries, there are 12 Church of Ireland dioceses or united dioceses, each headed by a bishop and belonging to one of two surviving provinces.
The leader of the southern province is the Archbishop of Dublin, at present Michael Jackson; that of the northern province is the Archbishop of Armagh, at present Richard Clarke. These two archbishops are styled Primate of Ireland and Primate of All Ireland respectively, suggesting the ultimate seniority of the latter. Although he has relatively little absolute authority, the Archbishop of Armagh is respected as the church's general leader and spokesman, and is elected in a process different from those for all other bishops.
Doctrine, canon law, church governance, church policy, and liturgical matters are decided by the church's general synod. The general synod comprises two houses, the House of Bishops and the House of Representatives. The House of Bishops includes the 10 diocesan bishops and two archbishops, forming one order. The House of Representatives is made up of two orders, clergy and laity. The order of clergy holds one third of the seats while the laity holds two thirds of the seats.As of 2017, there are 216 clergy members and 432 lay members in the House of Representatives. The membership of the House of Representatives is made up of delegates from the dioceses, with seats allocated to each diocese's clergy and laity in specific numbers; these delegates are elected every three years.
The general synod meets annually, and special meetings can be called by the leading bishop or one third of any of its orders.
Changes in policy must be passed by a simple majority of both the House of Bishops and the House of Representatives. Changes to doctrine, for example the decision to ordain women as priests, must be passed by a two thirds majority of both Houses.
The two houses sit together for general deliberations but separate for some discussions and for voting. While the House of Representatives always votes publicly, often by orders, the House of Bishops has tended to vote in private, coming to a decision before matters reach the floor of the synod. This practice has been broken only once when, in 1999, the House of Bishops voted unanimously in public to endorse the efforts of the Archbishop of Armagh, the Diocese of Armagh and the Standing Committee of the General Synod in their attempts to resolve the crisis at the Church of the Ascension at Drumcree near Portadown.
The church's internal laws are formulated as bills proposed to the Houses of the general synod, which when passed become Statutes. The church's governing document, its constitution, is modified, consolidated and published by way of statute also, the most recent edition, the 13th, being published in 2003.
The representative body of the Church of Ireland, often called the "Representative Church Body" (RCB), is the corporate trustee of the church, as established by law, and much of the church's property is vested in it. The members of the RCB are the bishops plus diocesan delegates and twelve co-opted members, and it meets at least four times a year. The staff of the representative body are analogous to clerical civil servants, and among other duties they oversee property, including church buildings, cemeteries and investments, administer some salaries and pensions, and manage the church library. While parishes, dioceses, and other parts of the church structure care for their particular properties, this is often subject to RCB rules.
The Church of Ireland embraces three orders of ministry: deacons, priests (or presbyters) and bishops. These orders are distinct from positions such as rector, vicar or canon.
Each diocese or united diocese is led by its Ordinary, one of the ten bishops and two archbishops, and the Ordinary may have one or more Archdeacons to support them, along with a Rural Dean for each group of parishes. There is a diocesan synod for each diocese; there may be separate synods for historic dioceses now in unions. These synods comprise the bishop along with clergy and lay representatives from the parishes, and subject to the laws of the church, and the work of the general synod and its committees and the representative body and its committees, oversee the operation of the diocese. Each diocesan synod in turn appoints a diocesan council to which it can delegate powers.
Each parish has a presiding member of the clergy, assisted by two churchwardens and often also two glebewardens, one of each type of warden being appointed by the clerical incumbent, and one by popular vote. All qualified adult members of the parish comprise the general vestry, which meets annually, within 20 days each side of Easter, as the Easter Vestry. There is also a select vestry for the parish, or sometimes for each active church in a parish, comprising the presiding cleric and any curate assistants, along with relevant churchwardens and glebewardens and a number of members elected at the Easter Vestry meeting. The select vestry assists in the care and operation of the parish and one or more church buildings.
Special provisions apply to the management and operation of five key cathedrals, in Dublin, Armagh, Down and Belfast.
The church has disciplinary and appeals tribunals, and diocesan courts, and a court of the general synod.
The Church of Ireland experienced a major decline in membership during the 20th century, both in Northern Ireland, where around 65% of its members live, and in the Republic of Ireland. The church is still the second-largest in the Republic of Ireland, with around 126,400 members in 2016 (minus 2% compared to the 2011 census results)and the third-largest in Northern Ireland, with around 260,000 members.
The Church of Ireland has two cathedrals in Dublin: within the line of the walls of the old city is Christ Church Cathedral, the seat of the Archbishop of Dublin, and just outside the old walls is St. Patrick's Cathedral, which the church designated as the National Cathedral for Ireland in 1870. Cathedrals also exist in the other dioceses.
There is also the metropolitan cathedral church of Ireland, situated in Armagh, St Patrick's Cathedral. This Cathedral is the seat of Archbishop and Metropolitan The most reverend Richard Clarke
The church's central offices are in Rathmines, adjacent to the former Church of Ireland College of Education, and the Church's library is in Churchtown. Teacher training now occurs within the Dublin City University Institute of Education, overseen by the Church of Ireland Centre, based at the former All Hallows College. The church operates a seminary, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, in Rathgar, in the south inner suburbs of Dublin.
The churches of the Anglican Communion are linked by affection and common loyalty. They are in full communion with the See of Canterbury and thus the Archbishop of Canterbury, in his person, is a unique focus of Anglican unity. He calls the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference, chairs the meeting of Primates, and is President of the Anglican Consultative Council.The contemporary Church of Ireland, despite having a number of High Church (often described as Anglo-Catholic) parishes, is generally on the Low Church end of the spectrum of world Anglicanism. Historically, it had little of the difference in organisation between parishes characteristic of other Anglican provinces, although a number of markedly liberal, High Church or Evangelical parishes have developed in recent decades. It was the second province of the Anglican Communion after the Anglican Church of New Zealand (1857) to adopt, on its 1871 disestablishment, synodical government. It was also one of the first provinces to begin ordaining women to the priesthood (1991).
GAFCON Ireland was launched on 21 April 2018, in Belfast, with 320 attendees from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. International speakers included Archbishops Peter Jensen, retired Archbishop of Sydney, and Gregory Venables, Primate of the Anglican Church of South America.The Church of Ireland was represented at GAFCON III, held on 17–22 June 2018 in Jerusalem, by a six-member delegation, which included two bishops, Ferran Glenfield, of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh, and Harold Miller, of Down and Dromore. Their participation was criticised by other leaders in the Church of Ireland. The Church of Ireland is not a member of GAFCON and the church communicated that attendance by clergy was unofficial in "a personal capacity," and the General Synod has voted against GAFCON's statement on the Lambeth Conference.
Like many other Anglican churches, the Church of Ireland is a member of many ecumenical bodies, including the World Council of Churches, the Conference of European Churches, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, and the Irish Council of Churches. It is also a member of the Porvoo Communion.
In 1999,the church voted to prohibit the flying of flags other than St Patrick's flag and the Flag of the Anglican Communion. However, the Union Flag continues to fly on many churches in Northern Ireland.
The church has an official website. Its journal is The Church of Ireland Gazette, which is editorially independent, but the governing body of which is appointed by the Church. Many parishes and other internal organizations also produce newsletters or other publications, as well as maintaining websites.
The centre of the Church of Ireland's teaching is the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The basic teachings of the church include:
The 16th-century apologist, Richard Hooker, posits that there are three sources of authority in Anglicanism: scripture, tradition and reason. It is not known how widely accepted this idea is within Anglicanism. It is further posited that the three sources uphold and critique each other in a dynamic way. In Hooker's model, scripture is the primary means of arriving at doctrine; things stated plainly in scripture are accepted as true. Issues that are ambiguous are determined by tradition, which is checked by reason.
In recent decades, the church has ordained women to all offices. In 1990 the church began ordaining women to the priesthood.The first two women ordained were Kathleen Margaret Brown and Irene Templeton. In 2013, the church appointed its first woman bishop, Pat Storey.
The church has been divided over aspects of human sexuality. In 2002, the issue became pertinent as a vicar provided a blessing for a lesbian couple.The denomination announced a period of discernment to allocate time to the perspectives within the discussion. In 2010, a congregation was recognised by the church for receiving an LGBTI award for offering services for LGBTI people.
Civil partnerships have been allowed since 2005. The church has no official position on civil unions.In 2008, "the Church of Ireland Pensions Board ha[d] confirmed that it will treat civil partners the same as spouses." In 2011, a cleric in the Church of Ireland entered into a same-sex civil partnership with his bishop's permission. Assurances of sexual abstinence were not required from the cleric. In 2012, the church's Clergy Pension Fund continued to recognise that "the pension entitlement of a member's registered civil partner will be the same as that of a surviving spouse." Regarding cohabitation, the church said that "any view of cohabitation has to be the intention of the couple to lifelong loyalty and faithfulness within their relationship." In 2004, then Archbishop John Neill said that the "Church would support the extension of legal rights on issues such as tax, welfare benefits, inheritance and hospital visits to cohabiting couples, both same gender and others." The church recognises four general viewpoints within the denomination ranging from opposition to acceptance toward same-gender relationships.
Prior to the referendum on same-sex marriage, the church remained neutral on the issue.In 2015, the Bishop of Cork, the Rt. Rev. Paul Colton, Bishop Michael Burrows of Cashel, and two retired archbishops of Dublin endorsed same-sex marriage. While voting "no" on gay marriage, Bishop Pat Storey endorsed civil unions. Also, 55 clergy signed a letter supporting the blessing of same-sex couples. In its pastoral letter, the church reiterated that, presently, church marriages are only for heterosexual couples, but that clergy may offer prayers for same-sex couples. When asked about clergy entering into civil same-sex marriages, the letter stated that "all are free to exercise their democratic entitlements once they are enshrined in legislation. However, members of the clergy, are further bound by the Ordinal and by the authority of the General Synod of the Church of Ireland." Services of Thanksgiving for same-sex marriage have taken place in congregations; for example, St. Audoen's Church hosted "a service of thanksgiving" for same-sex marriage. LGBTI services are also allowed by the Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross.
REFORM Ireland, a conservative lobby, has criticised the official letter as "a dangerous departure from confessing Anglicanism" and continues to oppose same-sex marriage recognition.Reflecting division, the church deferred its report on same-sex marriage to listen to all voices. The Church of Ireland Gazette , although "editorially independent", endorsed a blessing rite for same-sex couples. Many congregations, including cathedrals, have become publicly affirming of LGBTI rights. A church report has determined that "the moral logic underpinning the negative portrayal of same-sex eroticism in Scripture does not directly address committed, loving, consecrated same-sex relationships today". In 2017, the General Synod considered a proposal to request for public services of thanksgiving for same-sex couples, but the proposal was not passed; the church's select committee on human sexuality recommended that the bishops continue to study the issues. There were 176 votes against the motion to request public services, 146 in favour, and 24 abstentions. The Bishop of Cork, Paul Colton, declared his support for same-sex marriage ceremonies in the Church of Ireland.
The first translation of the Book of Common Prayer into Irish was published in 1606. An Irish translation of the revised prayer book of 1662 was published in 1712.
The Church of Ireland has its own Irish language body, Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise ("Irish Guild of the Church" - www.gaeleaglais.ie). This was founded in 1914 to bring together members of the Church of Ireland interested in the Irish language and Gaelic culture and to promote the Irish language within the Church of Ireland. The guild aims to link its programmes with the Irish language initiatives which have been centred round Christ Church Cathedral. It holds services twice a month in Irish.
From 1926 to 1995, the church had its own Irish-language teacher training college, Coláiste Moibhí . Today, there are a number of interdenominational Gaelscoileanna (schools where Irish-medium education is applied).
The Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion. Founded in 1867 in London, England, the communion currently has 85 million members within the Church of England and other national and regional churches in full communion. The traditional origins of Anglican doctrines are summarised in the Thirty-nine Articles (1571). The Archbishop of Canterbury in England acts as a focus of unity, recognised as primus inter pares, but does not exercise authority in Anglican provinces outside of the Church of England.
The Church of England is the established church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the most senior cleric, although the monarch is the supreme governor. The Church of England is also the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church recorded as existing in the Roman province of Britain by the third century, and to the 6th-century Gregorian mission to Kent led by Augustine of Canterbury.
The seven dioceses of the Scottish Episcopal Church make up the ecclesiastical province of the Anglican Communion in Scotland. The church has, since the 18th century, held an identity distinct from that of the Presbyterian-aligned Church of Scotland.
The Church of Nigeria is the Anglican church in Nigeria. It is the second-largest province in the Anglican Communion, as measured by baptized membership, after the Church of England. It gives its current membership as "over 18 million", out of a total Nigerian population of 190 million. Other statistics reveal that the Church of Nigeria has 2 million active attendees on a Sunday.
Since the 1990s, the Anglican Communion has struggled with controversy regarding homosexuality in the church. In 1998, the 13th Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops passed a resolution "rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture". However, this is not legally binding. "Like all Lambeth Conference resolutions, it is not legally binding on all provinces of the Communion, including the Church of England, though it commends an essential and persuasive view of the attitude of the Communion." "Anglican national churches in Brazil, South Africa, South India, New Zealand and Canada have taken steps toward approving and celebrating same-sex relationships amid strong resistance among other national churches within the 80 million-member global body. The Episcopal Church in the U.S. has allowed gay marriage since 2015." "Church of England clergy have appeared to signal support for gay marriage after they rejected a bishops’ report which said that only a man and woman could marry in church." The Church of England's General Synod is set to discuss a diocesan motion "to create a set of formal services and prayers to bless those who have had a same-sex marriage or civil partnership". At General Synod in 2019, the Church of England announced that same-gender couples may remain married and recognised as married after one spouse experiences a gender transition provided that the spouses identified as opposite genders at the time of the marriage.
The Anglican Church of Australia, formerly known as the Church of England in Australia, is a Christian church in Australia and an autonomous church of the Anglican Communion. It is the second largest church in Australia, after the Roman Catholic Church. According to the 2016 census, 3.1 million Australians identify as Anglicans. For much of Australian history the church was the largest religious denomination. It remains today one of the largest providers of social welfare services in Australia.
The Anglican Church of Canada is the province of the Anglican Communion in Canada. The official French-language name is l'Église anglicane du Canada. In 2007, the Anglican Church counted 545,957 members on parish rolls in 2,792 congregations, organized into 1,676 parishes. The 2011 Canadian Census counted 1,631,845 self-identified Anglicans, making the Anglican Church the third-largest Canadian church after the Catholic Church and the United Church of Canada. The Queen of Canada's Canadian Royal Style continues to include the title of Defender of the Faith, and the Canadian Monarch continues her countenance of three Chapels Royal in the Realm.
The blessing of same-sex marriages and same-sex unions is an issue about which Christian churches are in ongoing disagreement. These disagreements are primarily centered on the interpretation of various scripture passages related to homosexuality, and in some churches on varying understandings of homosexuality in terms of psychology, genetics and other scientific data. While various Church bodies have widely varying practices and teachings, individual Christians of every major tradition are involved in practical (orthopraxy) discussions about how to respond to the issue.
The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion serving New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, and the Cook Islands. Since 1992 the church has consisted of three tikanga or cultural streams: Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia. The church's constitution says that, among other things, it is required to "maintain the right of every person to choose any particular cultural expression of the faith". As a result, the church's General Synod has agreed upon the development of the three-person primacy based on this three tikanga system. It has three primates (leaders), each representing a tikanga, who share authority.
The Anglican Church of Southern Africa, known until 2006 as the Church of the Province of Southern Africa, is the province of the Anglican Communion in the southern part of Africa. The church has twenty-nine dioceses, of which twenty-one are located in South Africa, three in Mozambique, and one each in Angola, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland and Saint Helena. In South Africa, there are between 3 and 4 million Anglicans out of an estimated population of 45 million.
The history of the Anglican Communion may be attributed mainly to the worldwide spread of British culture associated with the British Empire. Among other things the Church of England spread around the world and, gradually developing autonomy in each region of the world, became the communion as it exists today.
The Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa is Christian denomination in South Africa. It was constituted in 1938 as a federation of churches. It appointed its first bishop in 1955. It is an Anglican church and it relates closely to the Sydney Diocese of the Anglican Church of Australia, to which it is similar in that it sees itself as a bastion of the Reformation and particularly of reformed doctrine.
The Anglican Church of Kenya is a province of the Anglican Communion, and it is composed by 37 dioceses. The current Primate and Archbishop of Kenya is Jackson Ole Sapit.
The Anglican realignment is a movement among some Anglicans to align themselves under new or alternative oversight within or outside the Anglican Communion. This movement is primarily active in parts of the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada. Two of the major events which contributed to the movement were the 2002 decision of the Diocese of New Westminster in Canada to authorise a rite of blessing for same-sex unions, and the nomination of two openly gay priests in 2003 to become bishops. Jeffrey John, an openly gay priest with a long-time partner, was appointed to be the next Bishop of Reading in the Church of England and the General Convention of the Episcopal Church ratified the election of Gene Robinson, an openly gay non-celibate man, as Bishop of New Hampshire. Jeffrey John ultimately declined the appointment due to pressure.
The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada is the chief governing and legislative body of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC), the sole Canadian representative of the Anglican Communion. The first General Synod session was held in Toronto in 1893, with the proviso that the parameters of its authority would not undermine the local independence of dioceses.
The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is a Christian denomination in the Anglican tradition in the United States and Canada. It also includes ten congregations in Mexico, two mission churches in Guatemala, and a missionary diocese in Cuba. Headquartered in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, the church reported 30 dioceses and 1,037 congregations serving an estimated membership of 134,593 in 2017. The first archbishop of the ACNA was Robert Duncan, who was succeeded by Foley Beach in 2014.
The Augustana Catholic Church (ACC), formerly the Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church (ALCC) and the Evangelical Community Church-Lutheran (ECCL), is an American church in the Lutheran Evangelical Catholic tradition. The ACC says it is unique among Lutheran churches in that it is of both Lutheran and Anglo-Catholic heritage and has also been significantly influenced by the Roman Catholic Church. The church was founded in 1997 by former members of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. Its headquarters are in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The ACC has long had a policy of seeking union with the Catholic Church and announced in 2011 that it would accept the conditions of Anglicanorum coetibus and join the personal ordinariates as they are established. Later developments on limitations of joining the ordinariate caused the ACC to hold their offer while they established intercommunion with groups such as the Old Roman Catholic Church of North America. The Church claims a membership in excess of 60,000 in 12 countries.
Christianity is and has been the largest religion in Ireland. Most Christian churches are organized on an all-Ireland basis, including both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. In the Republic of Ireland, 78.3% of the population adheres to the Catholic Church. In Northern Ireland, the various branches of Protestantism collectively form a plurality of the population but the single largest church is the Catholic Church which accounts for some 40.8% of the population.
The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) is a global network of conservative Anglican churches which formed in 2008 in response to what it claimed was an ongoing theological crisis in the worldwide Anglican Communion. Conservative Anglicans met in 2008 at the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), creating the Jerusalem Declaration and establishing the FCA.