Depending upon what you read this week, Episcopal leaders appeared to either bow to the wishes of worldwide Anglican Communion leaders, or they moved further away from their Anglican family.
The New York Times wrote Wednesday that Episcopal bishops, meeting during a conference in New Orleans, "rejected" demands of Anglican leaders by adopting a resolution that defies the Anglican Communion's directive to change several church policies regarding the place of gays and lesbians in their church.
The Associated Press reported on the same day that Episcopal leaders said they will "exercise restraint" in approving another gay bishop and that they will not authorize official prayers to bless same-sex couples.
The Right Rev. Carolyn Tanner Irish, Utah's Episcopal bishop, said simply that the Episcopal House of Bishops voted to essentially reconfirm the 2006 resolution passed by her church's general convention held every three years. She voted against the nonbinding 2006 measure that urged Episcopal leaders to exercise restraint in future votes on ordaining gay bishops.
"I felt like we lost some ground and we gained some ground," Bishop Irish said in a phone interview. "And that's what pretty much happens in our church."
She read directly from the resolution, saying that the bishops agreed to exercise restraint by "not consenting to consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the church and will lead to further strains on communion." Exactly what constitutes a "challenge" to the church may vary from case to case, according to Bishop Irish.
Read it all. So riddle me this, Batman. If they were so clear why did the press have such varying interpretations? And how is the language of even the first section really doing what they were asked?
Jared Cramer sees the B033 section for what it is, even if some Episcopal Church leaders who should know better do not:
I suspect that the section on B033 will be the most contentious. In the full statement the bishops respond to the Primates’ request for just who B033 is talking about by speaking as clearly as possible: “non-celibate gay and lesbian persons are included among those to whom B033 pertains.” I would like to make two points. First, this resolution calls for restraint in any such election. To me, the word “restraint” suggests pause, taking time to consider the implications of what any such election may mean. Sure, the resolution specifies “exercise restraint by not consenting,” but I think that language is not as strong as an explicit and ill-advised moratorium would be [Bingo!--KSH]. Furthermore, I find it encouraging that ++Katharaine explicitly noted that with regard to the partnered lesbian priest currently up as one of eight nominees to be the next bishop of Chicago there needs to be reflection. She then goes on to note that partnered gay and lesbian clergy are certainly still qualified to serve as bishops.
Second, non-celibate gay and lesbian persons are included among those to whom B033 pertains. That is, there are others whose manner of life might also present a challenge to the life of the communion. I believed then and still believe now that this resolution is intended to “cut both ways”; it is intended to say that if the manner of life of someone up for bishop presents a challenge to the wider communion (whether she is gay or he is a misogynist or, say, would encourage more of those problematic border crossings) then those involved in giving consent to that election should exercise restraint and caution, fully aware of what any of those elections would mean.
In short, I have no problem with the HoB statment’s clarification of B033.
Yes, because the clarification also involves qualification, and that is why I DO have a problem with this section since it does not do what the Windsor Report asks for. That is worth being reminded of one more time:
the Episcopal Church (USA) be invited to effect a moratorium on the election and consent to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate who is living in a same gender union until some new consensus in the Anglican Communion emerges.
Posted September 29, 2007 at 3:11 pm
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