The Bishop of Hawaii’s Letter re: the New Orleans HoB Statement

Posted by The_Elves

We encourage you to read this on the Diocese of Hawaii website, since Bp. Fitzpatrick intersperses his comments with the HoB statement -- on the Hawaii site different colors are used making it easier to distinguish the original text and the bishop's response. Here's an excerpt:

While I believe that the blessing of same-sex unions is an important and right evolution in the life of Christ’s Church and I am formulating my own understanding of the topic for public teaching and critique, The Episcopal Church has not authorized such rites and we have no clear teaching (or even a mind of the House of Bishops preliminary report) on this matter. In keeping with this statement, I will therefore not authorize such public blessings of same-sex unions in the Diocese of Hawai`i and I formally ask the clergy of this Diocese to refrain from officiating in any liturgies in our churches that might be construed by the reasonable outside observer as a formal public “blessing” or “marriage” of a same-sex couple. As a Church in the catholic tradition, individual priests and vestries (or, in my mind, bishops and dioceses) have no authority to act unilaterally in such matters. We are not congregationalists or presbyterians. Our catholic heritage demands a broader action of a national church in consultation with the Communion worldwide (even if the local national church chooses to act on its own in keeping with its canons and governance). This part of the House of Bishops statement is a response, I think, to the need to have clearer teaching before acting. It is a fair statement of our Church at this time, though the limits for this Diocese noted above are my own.

The full text is here.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Primary Source-- Statements & Letters: BishopsEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsSept07 HoB MeetingSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings

Posted October 8, 2007 at 6:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. The_Elves wrote:

While there is quite a bit I disagree with +Fitzpatrick on, I applaud his clear statement on SSBs.  He hasn’t left a lot of “wiggle room” for local option in his diocese, at least for now, even though he clearly approves of SSBs and it appears that he will work towards their approval on a national level.

It is interesting to read this by +Fitzpatrick in juxtaposition to the quote from +Chane in the post immediately below.  It makes clear how much the HoB statement has left room for individual diocesan responses.  The fact that +Fitzpatrick needs to so clearly call his clergy to refrain from anything that might be possibly construed as public same-sex blessings and formulate a diocesan policy, indicates just how far short the New Orleans HoB statement falls in that regard.  The statement wasn’t clear enough, so +Fitzpatrick issued a clarification in one direction.  +Chane issued a clarification in the other. 

It’s clearly still “Anything Goes…!”  At least that’s how this elf reads it.  (Ah, now I’m gonna be humming Cole Porter all night.  But there are certainly far worse songs to have stuck in one’s brain…!)


October 8, 6:16 pm | [comment link]
2. Larry Morse wrote:

It is the likes of this man we have to fear, for he is clear and rational and is, at the same time, as far left as any TEConian. He wishes to play by the rules and he knows what they are. But he wishes to change them and he will play by these rules too. Now, he obviously puts little credence in what the Bible has to say about homosexuality, and he is true TEC in this, that the issue of sin and such like offensive negativities do not appear. But he is nevertheless straightforward, and this always seems a virtue, esp. in the light of the smoke and mirrors in common TEC use, but in fact it makes him harder to deal with because secondary issues - obfuscation and manipulation - cannot be used to leverage the central issues, as is the case of the rest of TEC. LM

October 8, 6:32 pm | [comment link]
3. nwlayman wrote:

A church in the catholic thradition!  We *do* like to clothe ourselves in others garments, don’t we, bishop!  What would it look like if it weren’t catholic?  And what, if anything does he mean by “tradition”?

October 8, 7:05 pm | [comment link]
4. D. C. Toedt wrote:

I would have thought it’d be refreshing, from the scripturalist perspective, that the bishop was not only voluntarily subordinating his personal beliefs to the (contrary) teachings of the church catholic, but was asking — read: directing — his clergy and vestries to do the same. I don’t understand how the bishop can be criticized for what he happens to believe personally; I don’t see that any of us has any control over what we personally happen to believe to be true.

October 8, 7:20 pm | [comment link]
5. Nathan wrote:

I don’t see that any of us has any control over what we personally happen to believe to be true.

So why blog?  Why comment on threads?  Why ‘get educated’?  Why read?  What is the point of discourse if beliefs are external to the thinker?

October 8, 7:25 pm | [comment link]
6. D. C. Toedt wrote:

Nathan [#5], I’m not saying beliefs are external to the thinker, only that they “materialize” by process(es) we don’t even begin to understand.

I haven’t willed myself into the beliefs I hold; those beliefs have simply come into being, I know not how. Similarly, I blog, I comment on threads, I read, I study, because I feel an urge to do so, I know not why.

October 8, 7:32 pm | [comment link]
7. MJD_NV wrote:

Give this bishop credit - HE, at least, seems to have done what was asked of him.

October 8, 7:39 pm | [comment link]
8. GrandpaDino wrote:

“I believe that the blessing of same-sex unions is an important and right evolution in the life of Christ’s Church.”

I could not disagree with Mr. Fitzpatrick more.  Legitimizing illegitimate behavior is certainly not a “right evolution in the life of Christ’s Church.”

October 8, 8:47 pm | [comment link]
9. Rob Eaton+ wrote:

I thought your comment was premature.  Only comment #4, and the first comment out expressed what you were looking for, comment #2 was about long-term trust, and comment #3 had to do with challenge to the tangential comment made by the bishop re: catholic ecclesiology. 
Were you just getting that lick in before what you reckoned would happen anyway?
: )

October 8, 9:39 pm | [comment link]
10. Ed the Roman wrote:

...I formally ask the clergy of this Diocese to refrain…

Personally, I would have preffered “...I command the clergy of this Diocese under pain of disobedience…”, but it wasn’t bad.

It’s clearly still “Anything Goes…!” At least that’s how this elf reads it.  (Ah, now I’m gonna be humming Cole Porter all night.  But there are certainly far worse songs to have stuck in one’s brain…!)

In that case, won’t you be humming Night and Day?

October 8, 10:54 pm | [comment link]
11. Ed the Roman wrote:

October 8, 10:55 pm | [comment link]
12. Irenaeus wrote:

I commend Bp. Fitzpatrick for his clarity and integrity.

Better to deal with straight shooters with whom we may disagree than with false friends lost in their own tangled webs.

October 8, 10:59 pm | [comment link]
13. Craig Goodrich wrote:

Seconding my fellow Nevadan MJD #7; +Fitzpatrick is an honest and conscientious man.

He makes a point that I have made in the past, from a somewhat different angle:

Legislation has overtaken teaching and pastoral care.

This is one of a dozen or so reasons why the heedless arrogance of the GLBT activists will in the long run prove to have been a pastoral disaster for gays.  By taking what might be a thoughtful and discreet pastoral judgment on the part of a priest under special circumstances and making a public church-wide political issue of it, we now find honest bishops forced to address the issue with a blanket prohibition, further reducing the discretion of the individual priest in what is typically a difficult pastoral situation at best.

October 8, 11:11 pm | [comment link]
14. Wilfred wrote:

HoB-nobbing with Cole Porter:

Our the-ol-o-gy is shocking and
Un-der-neath our robes we’ve stockings
Or hose!
Anything goes!

October 8, 11:51 pm | [comment link]
15. Ad Orientem wrote:

As a Church in the catholic tradition

As an Orthodox (big ‘O’) Christian I take strenuous (albeit respectful) exception to the above choice of words.  There is nothing “catholic” about TEC.

October 9, 1:41 am | [comment link]
16. JonR wrote:

Now, now, Wilfred, hose are perfectly appropriate for C of E clergy according to the canons of 1660, as long as they are wearing their cassock and surplice.
Jon R

October 9, 5:50 am | [comment link]
17. Wilfred wrote:

Jon, in 1660 they had cod-pieces too. for which the House of Bishops today has no need whatsoever.

October 9, 9:11 am | [comment link]
18. JonR wrote:

Elves, Wilfred has tempted me to say something (which while hilarious) may offend, fortunately I have just finished an nice Jameson’s and am able to resist.  I will however point out that the house of Bishops would have dificulty finding a ‘code piece’ as they are all needed for the ‘pride’ parade.  Which is of course covered extensively year by year, at prime time, on every right thinking television station just to prove we are not homophobic.
Jon R

October 9, 10:00 am | [comment link]
19. JonR wrote:

opps, maybe I’ve had too much Jameson’s, that should have been ‘a’.
Jon R

October 9, 10:01 am | [comment link]
20. Ed the Roman wrote:

Oh, they’re a church in the catholic tradition the same way Seattle is a university in the catholic tradition.

October 9, 3:43 pm | [comment link]
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