Church of England Views on Cohabitation
The Church of England affirms the centrality of marriage to the stability and health of society and for procreation to bring up children. While doing so, it also recognizes that there are certain issues of hardship and vulnerability for those people who are in relationships that are not based on marriage, and that such cases need to be addressed through the creation of new legal rights.
According to the Christianity sthat the Church of England is also party to, human relationships proceed from the knowledge that God is love and one who is recognized in relationships. This is detailed in the doctrine of the Trinity and the biblical idea of the covenant which exemplifies love, respect and mutual self giving. Besides, it also applies in particular to our understanding of intimate relationships like marriage. However, the Church of England is concerned that the society in England is changing. The church point out that civilization has brought with it several changes in the society such that it is of great value if certain teachings are re-evaluated.
According to the latest arguments by the Church of England, marriage has never been permanent since divorce has been in existence since the biblical times, although it was specifically condemned by Jesus. Besides, it has never been even part of the English civil law and ecclesiastical law that marriage is indissoluble. The Church of England further argues that until recently, fidelity in marriage was only required of the woman. Before 1923, no woman could be allowed to obtain divorce as a result of the adultery of her husband unless she proved beyond reasonable doubt desertion and cruelty in addition to the allegation.
The Church of England asserts that even though marriage is, without doubt, a legally sanctioned union between a man and a woman, it is not the only possible relationship of that kind. It is concerned that the response of the church seems to be against other forms of legally sanctioned relationships like cohabitation. From these arguments, you can clearly see the avenue that the Church of England is pursuing with regards to cohabitation. It tries to stress that just like marriage; cohabitation is a form of relationship that should not be ignored even in the construction of legislations that govern marriage and divorce.
According to the Church of England, denouncing cohabitation is like denying minorities their rights of association and enjoyment. It is of the opinion that men and women who are cohabiting should be given the right to exercise their relationships as they wish since some end up in marriage. This stance by the Church of England has in the recent past elicited heated debate from various Christian religious groups especially the Catholic Church that have condemned it for approving cohabitation rights.
In 2006, the Catholic Church expressed its opposition to the Church of England’s support of the government’s proposal to offer unmarried cohabiting couples legal rights that are similar to those of married people.
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