Anglican Journal: ‘Large majority’ of Canadian bishops agree to moratoria

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Canadian house of bishops on Oct. 31 said a “large majority” of its members could affirm “a continued commitment to the greatest extent possible” to a moratorium on the blessing of same-sex unions but also recognized that this would pose difficulty for some dioceses “that in conscience have made decisions on these matters.”

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, acknowledged that this stance allows dioceses such as Montreal and Ottawa some wiggle room to continue what their bishops have recently described as “incremental” and “experiential” steps toward same-sex blessings.

“This is a very honest statement from the point of view that it clearly reflects the reality of the Canadian church … that there are some within the house who would not stand within that majority,” said Archbishop Hiltz in an interview at the end of the meeting Oct. 27 to 31.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of CanadaSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings

24 Comments
Posted November 1, 2008 at 9:21 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. A Floridian wrote:

Some commentors would call these ‘weasel words’ - my Mama would call it ‘hemming and hawing.’

What would Jesus say to these bishops?

Matthew 16:23; Mark 8:33; Luke 4:8,  comes to mind.  “Get thee behind me Satan, thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”

November 1, 9:56 am | [comment link]
2. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

“Archbishop Hiltz said he intends to communicate the results of the bishops’ discussions to Archbishop Williams.”
What results?  What do you mean sir?  There is no point in telling the ABC or us anything unless you have confirmation from +New Westminster, Montreal etc that they did not have their fingers crossed behind their back.

Go back, clarify what your bishops have said, ask each one to confirm preferably in writing what they will be doing.  Otherwise you will risk one of them making a fool of you and your assurances to the ABC.

November 1, 10:07 am | [comment link]
3. Toral1 wrote:

I was going to make a comment on the spinelessness of the HoB doing nothing about a practice which a majority of them believes either to be wrong, or to be postponed until the conditions on the ground are more favourable.

But instead I’m giving a shoutout for ++Fred for his honesty. The thing his bishops are most concerned about is “border-crossing” :

“It’s a very aggressive strategy that they have right now – calling diocesan meetings without reference to the bishop, church planting, calling people and inviting them personally to consider joining the Network,” he said.

Yes indeed.  We ANiC people are indeed doing things without consulting the bishop, planting churches, and even (gasp!) calling people personally to consider joining ANiC. Apparently the bishops have begun to notice this.

November 1, 10:19 am | [comment link]
4. Creighton+ wrote:

Let’s get real.  If Moratoria means what the ACI says it does and that is only a pause and not a real stopping of something unbiblical, then it serves no good purpose at all.

November 1, 10:43 am | [comment link]
5. seitz wrote:

#4—I take it reference to ‘ACI’ is a typo.

November 1, 10:48 am | [comment link]
6. Bill C wrote:

“... wiggle room to continue what their bishops have recently described as “incremental” and “experiential” steps toward same-sex blessings…”

Wiggle room?  Fred, You are saying that some of your bishops are allowing their clergy to test whether God’s really does mean that SSB’s are alright, and that He really didn’t mean what he said in the Bible.  So you are going to push the line with ‘incremental’  and ‘experiential’ steps. Do you need a bolt of lightning to stop you?  Oh wait, you don’t believe that there is Someone who could stop you.

November 1, 11:14 am | [comment link]
7. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

There is certainly wiggling; I am not sure about room.

November 1, 11:21 am | [comment link]
8. libraryjim wrote:

In other words, if you are in favor of the moritoria, observe it.  If not, then go ahead.

Yeah, real decisive, there. rolleyes

November 1, 12:29 pm | [comment link]
9. Br. Michael wrote:

What does “greatest extent possible” mean?

November 1, 12:45 pm | [comment link]
10. Irenaeus wrote:

Anglican Journal Version:
“Large Majority” of Canadian Bishops Agree to Moratoria

Corrected Version:
Large “Majority” of Canadian Bishops “Agree” to Moratoria
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

“My Mama would call it ‘hemming and hawing’”—-GA/FL [#1]

GA/FL: You’re much too generous. If you had told your Mama you’d obey “to the greatest extent possible,” wouldn’t she have hawed you right out to the woodshed?

November 1, 12:47 pm | [comment link]
11. Irenaeus wrote:

In #10, make the Corrected Version:
Large Majority of Canadian Bishops “Agree” to “Moratoria”

November 1, 12:48 pm | [comment link]
12. Bill C wrote:

Well PM,  in comparison to other rooms around the communion, this is a very tiny room, but one can still wiggle.  Too much wiggling in noted parts of the AC have brought us to this pass of events.

November 1, 12:54 pm | [comment link]
13. Creighton+ wrote:

#5 you would be wrong to do so.

November 1, 12:57 pm | [comment link]
14. Jeffersonian wrote:

“Large Majority”

This reminds me of the joke about the Frenchman who, when asked by his wife if he was faithful to her, replied, “Frequently!!”

November 1, 1:16 pm | [comment link]
15. seitz wrote:

#13 That’s bizarre. What does ‘ACI’ have to do with the language of the Canadian Anglican Bishops’ discussion? Maybe Joe the Plumber is also involved!

November 1, 1:52 pm | [comment link]
16. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

#15 Who would have known it?  You are obviously becoming a lot more influential in Canada.

November 1, 2:02 pm | [comment link]
17. seitz wrote:

Hello Pageant. We did hear from a bishop in attendance that the Primate was quite uncustomarily energetic in pleading for restraint. Probably half of the bishops would be content with standing with the wider communion on the issue in question, from what I have been told. Having lived in the UK for a decade I am aware that each culture has its own idiosyncrasies. In the SEC the biggest churches are evangelical churches and have no need to ‘leave’ to assert their views and their identity (Ps and Gs in Edinburgh; St Silas Glasgow; et al). I work at a church in the Diocese of Toronto whose parishioners are West Indian, Indian, English, Singapore-Malaysian, American, New Zealand, etc, and this also makes for an odd sense of Old World anglicanism (The Commonwealth) inside an ethnic melting pot of Toronto. The dynamics are not straigthforward or obvious.

November 1, 2:49 pm | [comment link]
18. Ross Gill wrote:

Bishop Clarke acknowledged, however, that he is “not sure” if he can manage to hold the moratorium, as affirmed by the other bishops, until the 2010 meeting of General Synod, the church’s governing body.

Sure you can, Barry.  Just say no.

November 1, 3:35 pm | [comment link]
19. Uh Clint wrote:

According to the dictionary, a moratorium means “a suspension of activity”, which means that there is 0% occurrence.  To “suspend” is to stop - not slow down, decrease, or minimize.

In saying that a moratorium is being implemented to the “greatest extent possible”, a meaningless statement is being offered.  ANY percentage greater than 0% means, by definition, that there IS NO moratorium.

This is as blatant an attempt at “spinning” something as one could ever imagine.  While I am refreshed at the fact that ++Hiltz admits there are those who disagree with the moratorium and do not observe it, trying to square the circle is disingenuous at best.  No matter how he may try, there’s no way to turn 3%, 2%, 1%, or even .1% into zero.

November 1, 3:54 pm | [comment link]
20. Irenaeus wrote:

“According to the dictionary, a moratorium means . . . there is 0% occurrence”—-#19

How about a lessatorium? A quietorium? A subrosatorium? Would you believe a don’tellatorium?

November 1, 4:05 pm | [comment link]
21. Jeffersonian wrote:

The next time I get a flat, I’m going to take solace in the bishop’s words that 99.99% of my tire, the vast majority after all, is perfectly intact.

November 1, 4:15 pm | [comment link]
22. nwlayman wrote:

Boy, do Anglican bishops ever know how to work a crowd.  The Anglican Communion is simply the greatest infommercial going.  Promise anything, lie about everything.  Moratorium.  What utter garbage.  And they keep tuning in!!

November 1, 6:04 pm | [comment link]
23. libraryjim wrote:

Yeah, NWLayman, you’d think they were running for President!

November 1, 6:31 pm | [comment link]
24. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

#17 Prof Seitz
Thank you for some more background.  Sounds as if +Hiltz has tried to bring some order and the House as a whole is trying to make a statement.  So perhaps a very interesting development, notwithstanding the contrary signals from elsewhere.  Also sounds a fascinating and challenging environment and ministry to which you have been called in Toronto

November 1, 8:22 pm | [comment link]
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