Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Response of the Episcopal bishops to primates' demands.
The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church has been meeting in New Orleans for the past several days, in part trying to respond to a series of demands (or, if you're charitably inclined, requests for clarification) from the primates or leaders of the various national churches that make up the Anglican Communion. Those of you following the story will be interested to read the bishops' response, adopted this afternoon. The Associated Press reports:
Episcopal leaders, pressured to roll back their support for gays to keep the world Anglican family from crumbling, affirmed Tuesday that they will "exercise restraint" in approving another gay bishop and will not approve prayers to bless same-sex couples.
The statement mostly reiterated previous pledges made by church leaders, and it will not be known for weeks or even months whether the bishops went far enough to help prevent a schism in the Anglican Communion. Theological conservatives in the Episcopal Church immediately rejected the document as too weak.
("House of Bishops response 'to questions and concerns raised by our Anglican Communion partners,'" House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church, Episcopal News Service 9.25.07; "Episcopal leaders promise restraint on electing gay bishops in fact of Anglican demands," Rachel Zoll [AP], Boston.com 9.25.07)
Update 9.26.07: Michael Paulson reports in today's Boston Globe:
The statement is expected to have little practical impact in the United States. Priests in many dioceses around the country, including Massachusetts, are already blessing same-sex unions without a nationally authorized rite, and that practice will not stop. And even before yesterday's statement, several bishops had said the Episcopal Church was unlikely to approve another gay bishop anytime soon because of the uproar that greeted the 2003 approval of an openly gay priest, V. Gene Robinson, as bishop of New Hampshire. . . .
Only one of the approximately 160 bishops in attendance could be heard voting against the measure, although several of the most conservative bishops had left the meeting Friday. . . .
Bishop John W. Howe of Central Florida, one of the most conservative bishops present at the meeting in New Orleans, said last night that he did not vote for the statement because it did not bar blessings of same-sex unions outright, but that he also thought that, among the Anglican primates, as leaders of provinces are called, "the majority will find it acceptable." Howe, asked if he would try to remove his diocese from the Episcopal Church, said "absolutely not." . . . .
The American bishops issued their statement under extreme pressure from within the Episcopal Church, which dozens of parishes and thousands of individuals have left because they are upset about the church's liberal direction. Pressure has also come from elsewhere in the global Anglican Communion, particularly from the developing world, where several leaders say they are reluctant to continue belonging to the same denominational family as a church that is affirming of same-sex relationships.
The New York Times, meanwhile, pays more attention to the reactions of conservatives trying to force the liberal American church out of the Communion.
("Episcopal leaders act to avert a schism," Michael Paulson, Boston Globe 9.26.07; "Episcopal bishops reject Anglican Church's orders," Neela Banerjee, New York Times 9.26.07)
Copyright © 2007 by Philocrites | Posted 25 September 2007 at 9:16 PM