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Jun 8, 2017

Anglicans Thought Dialogue Was Needed After Section 53 Decision

Phillip Wright

A partial appeal of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin’s historic decision on Section Fifty-three of the Criminal Code of Belize is set for hearing at the Belize Court of Appeal. However, only the Roman Catholic Diocese and the Attorney General in part will be appealing. The Belize Council of Churches; Belize Association of Evangelical Churches; and Belize Church of England-Corporate Body, also called the Anglicans, dropped out after the August decision although they were interested parties in the original case. The National Evangelical Association of Belize, who wanted to join the case as an interested party, were denied by the Chief Justice in October. Anglican Bishop Phillip Wright discussed why the Anglicans felt disinclined to appeal and instead work with the Church-State Commission, which they have now withdrawn from.


Bishop Phillip Wright, Anglican Diocese

“You will remember that when the case first came forward, the Anglican Diocese, the Roman Catholic Diocese and the [Belize Association of Evangelical Churches] had put in as interested parties. After the ruling of the Chief Justice, the Roman Catholic Church and the [National] Evangelical Association of Belize elected to make an appeal, to challenge the decision. The Anglicans didn’t – I did not choose at that point to appeal the judgment of the Chief Justice. However, having been a part of it initially, I think that’s why I elected to be part of this Church-State Commission to continue the dialogue, because I thought, if nothing else, this decision created the need for us to talk together – to really reason through these issues that won’t go away, and they affect the lives of people and the lives of families. I have come to a place where I believe I can continue to do that, but not necessarily as part of the Church-State Commission.”

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