(SF) Bishop of Mississippi Breaks Long-Time Promise, Allows Same-Sex Blessings

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Update: We are told the bishop will use his address to the annual council tonight at 8:00pm to announce that he will allow same-sex blessings under a plan similar to the one in the Diocese of Texas. Parishes wishing to perform same-sex blessings will need their vestries to pass a resolution, which the rector may present to the bishop, who will have the final decision.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

7 Comments
Posted February 3, 2013 at 6:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Branford wrote:

Bishop Gray’s own words from 2003:

...  I voted not to consent to the election of Canon Robinson as bishop coadjutor of the Diocese of New Hampshire.  I did so because of what I understand to be the role and function of a bishop.  Rather than simply the administrative head of an institution, the bishop is the symbol and representative of the catholicity, that is, the universality of the faith to the people of his/her diocese.  It is through him/her that the diocese is linked to the larger Anglican Communion and into the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.  The bishop is not so much an individual, but rather an icon through which the people of God can touch the fullness of the church.  It is in this way that the bishop becomes the symbol of unity.

I believe that the consent given by our General Convention was an action of considerable arrogance in our relationship within that same one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. Our Anglican brothers and sisters spoke to us of the difficulties, even life threatening circumstances that would be imposed upon them were the church in this country to approve Canon Robinson’s election.  Our Archbishop of Canterbury counseled us against such unilateral action.  Many minimized the impact that this action would have on our brothers and sisters throughout this world and have been oblivious to the considerable pain and confusion inflicted on our own people.  In the actions of General Convention and in the proposed consecration of Canon Robinson the bishop as symbol of unity and as an icon of the catholicity and universality of the faith seems severely compromised.

I believe General Convention erred in August.  I believe it today….

At the heart of my concern through all of this has been our faithfulness to the unique sacramental understanding of human relationships that has come to us through our heritage as Christians and has been reaffirmed in the experience of the people of God through history.  I believe and the church continues to teach that the sacrament of marriage is a gift of God and, thus, part of the received tradition of the church.  I believe this unique life-long and unconditional relationship between a man and a woman is reflective of God’s relationship with God’s people.  This sacrament of marriage is the normative context in which sexual intimacy occurs.

Committed same gender relationships, as prevalent as they are in parts of our culture and as important as they are to many, are neither affirmed by scripture or blessed within the received tradition of the church….

In matters of liturgy and sacrament, I will not change the policies of my predecessors in this diocese.  Though there are many factors that go into the description of an ordained person as a “wholesome example” (BCP-ordination vows), my standard for sexual behavior will be the same as those who have preceded me as bishop. The norm for ordination will be a person living a single, celibate life or in a heterosexual marriage.  Nor will I authorize the blessing of same gender unions.  This is a profound liturgical and sacramental issue for me and should not be confused with my baptismal commitment “to respect the dignity of every human being,” a non-negotiable part of our life together as a church….

So has Bishop Gray countered all of these points in his current statement to explain why and how he has changed his mind on these fundamental issues (not just same-sex marriage but the role of the bishop in preserving the unity of the Anglican Communion or has this change come just to ride the secular tide and not have to deal with whatever criticism he gets from the national church?

February 3, 11:42 am | [comment link]
2. Br. Michael wrote:

Ah, the solemn word of a Bishop.  That was then and this is now.

I do respect the office of Bishop, but it becomes hard with so many Bishops that make the Serpent in the garden seem like a stickler for truth.

February 3, 2:07 pm | [comment link]
3. Pb wrote:

He voted against it before he voted for it. Sounds like John Kerry.

February 3, 7:21 pm | [comment link]
4. upnorfjoel wrote:

Right #3.  Just another cowardly politician always assessing what his (or her) convictions should be today.

February 3, 9:14 pm | [comment link]
5. m+ wrote:

It saddens me that Bishop Gray made this decision.
That said, it’s important to note that he called for the election of his successor at this council as well.
The two go hand in hand. The Diocese of MS is split on the issue of same sex blessings/ marriage. I don’t know how it falls now, but five years ago it was a pretty even split, with a narrow majority going to the liberal side. I have heard that the bishop wants to hand over the Diocese with this issue “settled.”

February 3, 9:32 pm | [comment link]
6. upnorfjoel wrote:

So to continue with my politician analogy, he makes this determination as a “lame duck”!  Even sadder.

February 3, 10:07 pm | [comment link]
7. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

From Pike to Gray, a long ladder of descent into the maelstrom of “current”.

February 4, 12:43 am | [comment link]
Registered members must log in to comment.




Next entry (above): (WJTV) Mississippi Episcopal Church to Allow Same-Sex Marriage Blessings

Previous entry (below): Local Paper front page—Pain pill addiction drives Lowcountry pharmacy robberies, burglaries

Return to blog homepage

Return to Mobile view (headlines)