Resolution Number: A077

Subject: Marriage Canon - remarriage of divorced persons - matrimonial commissions

Moved By: Ronald Stevenson (Chancellor)

Seconded By: Bishop Barry Hollowell from the Diocese of Calgary

Note: The mover and the seconder must be members of the General Synod and be present in the House when the resolution is before the synod for debate.


That second reading be given to the resolution

That Canon XXI be amended

(1) by striking out clause 16 b) and substituting therefor the following:

b) “Chancellor” means the chancellor of a diocese;

(2) by striking out the word “Commission” wherever it appears in Part III, in Schedule B or in Schedule D and substituting therefor the word “Chancellor”;

(3) by striking out the word “its” in the second line of clause 20 a) and substituting therefor the words “the Chancellor’s”;

(4) by adding at the end of Part III the following new sections:

22. Procedure

The Chancellor shall follow the procedure set out in the provisions of Schedule D.

23. Avoidance of Delay

The Chancellor shall deal with each application as expeditiously as possible.

24. Limitation of Jurisdiction

Every finding and determination of the Chancellor shall be and shall be expressly stated to be made solely for the purposes of this Canon and not for the purpose of performing any function of a civil court or other civil authority, and shall otherwise be confined to the findings and declaration necessary for disposing of the application in respect of which it is made.

25. Persons Serving in or Attached to the Canadian Forces

a) This section applies to a person who is enrolled in the Canadian Forces who is serving in the regular forces or who is a member of the reserve forces on continuous duty with the regular forces, or a person who in accordance with the National Defence Act, accompanies the Canadian Forces, and the dependents of all such persons.

b) A person described in clause a) may forward an application under this Part to the Anglican chaplain responsible for his or her pastoral care.

c) On receiving an application the chaplain may forward the application to the Chancellor of the diocese in which the applicant resides or to the Bishop Ordinary to the Canadian Forces who shall designate a diocesan chancellor to hear the application.

d) Nothing in this section prevents a person from making an application in the manner prescribed by this Part.

(5) by repealing Part IV (Sections 22 to 25) of the Canon and substituting the following:






26. Definition

In this Part “incumbent” includes an Anglican chaplain responsible for the pastoral care of persons enrolled in the Canadian Forces.

27. Application for Permission to Remarry

a) An application for permission to marry each other according to the rites of this Church may be made by two persons, one or both of whom has or have gone through a ceremony or ceremonies of marriage with a person or persons now living not a party or parties to the application, if the prior marriage or marriages is or are not questioned under this Canon in the application but has or have been dissolved or terminated by a legislature or legislatures or a court or courts or by another act or acts or event or events according to the laws applicable thereto.

b) Where a marriage or purported marriage has been annulled for a defect not mentioned in section 17 of Part III of this Canon, and no defect mentioned in that section is alleged in respect thereof, it shall be deemed for the purposes of this Canon to have been dissolved.

c) The application shall be made to and determined by the incumbent of the parish or mission where it is desired that the intended marriage be celebrated.

d) The incumbent may request other competent persons who are readily accessible to one or both of the parties to interview the parties and report to the incumbent where

i) both parties to the intended marriage reside a significant distance from the proposed place of marriage,

ii) the parties live a significant distance from each other, or

iii) other circumstances require it.

e) The application shall be made in writing and signed by the applicants and shall contain the information required by Schedule C.

f) The incumbent shall ensure, where needed and possible, that appropriate pastoral care is provided to former partners who are not applicants.

28. Permission to Remarry

The incumbent may grant permission to remarry if the incumbent is satisfied that:

a) the applicants understand the nature of Christian marriage as stated in this Canon and intend to enter into such a marriage and believe that they have the capacity to enter into and sustain the marriage during their joint lives;

b) any prior marriage in question has been validly dissolved or terminated in accordance with the law properly applicable thereto;

c) the applicant concerned tried in good faith before dissolution to effect reconciliation with the other party;

d) adequate provision has been made for a former spouse of a divorced applicant according to the means of the applicant and the means and needs of the former spouse;

e) proper provision has been made for the care, maintenance, education and advancement of minor, disabled or otherwise dependent children of any prior marriage;

f) if the children of a prior marriage are to live with the applicants, there is a reasonable prospect that the family relationship will be satisfactory.

29. Special Cases

a) If the incumbent is satisfied that efforts towards reconciliation between the parties to a former marriage would have been ineffective as a result of the fault of either party or for any other reason, the requirement of clause 28 c) may be dispensed with.

b) If either applicant has entered into two or more marriages that have been dissolved, the incumbent may, before granting permission, seek the advice of other competent persons.

c) If the incumbent is of the opinion that a prior purported marriage of an applicant did not constitute a marriage as defined by this Canon, the incumbent may refer the application to the Chancellor who may, if the conditions of Part III, section 20, are satisfied, make a declaration under that section in respect of the marriage in question.

d) If an incumbent declines for reasons of conscience to entertain an application for permission to remarry, the incumbent shall refer the applicants to a priest designated by the bishop and, if that priest grants the application, shall permit that priest or another priest to solemnize the marriage in the incumbent’s church.

e) If an incumbent declines for reasons of conscience to solemnize a marriage pursuant to permission given under this Part, the incumbent shall refer the applicants to a priest designated by the bishop and shall permit that priest or another priest to solemnize the marriage in the incumbent’s church.

(6) by repealing Part VI (Ecclesiastical Matrimonial Commission) and Part VII (Forms) and substituting the following new Part V:

Part V


 30. Forms for use in the administration of this Canon may be authorized by the Council of the General Synod, by the diocesan bishop or by the Bishop Ordinary to the Canadian Forces.

 (7) by striking out Section 14 of Schedule B and substituting therefor the following:

14. If one or both of the applicants do not reside in the parish, the procedure outlined in Section 27 d) may apply.

(8) by striking out the reference “See Part IV, Section 22(c)” at the beginning of Schedule C and substituting therefor “See Part IV, Section 27(e).”

(9) by striking out the reference “See Part VI, Section 30" at the beginning of Schedule D and substituting therefor “See Part III, Section 22.”

(10) by striking out section 6 in Schedule D.

(11) by striking out paragraph 8 of Schedule E and substituting the following:

8. If either party has been previously married or has cohabited in a common law or de facto marriage, it is important that there be specific discussions about the past relationships, the reasons for the breakdown of any past relationships, the effect of any continuing obligations, financial or otherwise, to a former partner or children of a previous marriage or relationship, potential problems related to access to or custody of such children, and the potential integration of such children into a new family unit.



The background for this resolution is found in the report of the Marriage Canon Task Force, (Appendix 4, 003 Council of General Synod Report) particularly at pages 15 to 20.


Source: Act 13 of General Synod 2001
  (name of committee, diocese, etc.)
Submitted by: The Chancellor