House of Bishops’ Statement
TEC Bishops have spoken:
We reconfirm that resolution B033 of General Convention 2006 (The Election Of Bishops) calls upon bishops with jurisdiction and Standing ommittees “to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to
the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.”
We pledge as a body not to authorize public rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.
We commend our Presiding Bishop’s plan for episcopal visitors.
We deplore incursions into our jurisdictions by uninvited bishops and call for them to end.
We support the Presiding Bishop in seeking communion-wide consultation in a manner that is in accord with our Constitution and Canons.
We call for increasing implementation of the listening process across the Communion and for a report on its progress to Lambeth 2008.
We support the Archbishop of Canterbury in his expressed desire to explore ways for the Bishop of New Hampshire to participate in the Lambeth Conference.
We call for unequivocal and active commitment to the civil rights, safety, and dignity of gay and lesbian persons.
All good so far or is it?
Resolution B033 of the 2006 General Convention The House of Bishops concurs with Resolution ECO 11 of the Executive Council. This Resolution commends the Report of the Communion Sub-Group of the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates of the Anglican Communion as an accurate evaluation of Resolution B033 of the 2006 General Convention, calling upon bishops with jurisdiction and Standing Committees “to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion. The House acknowledges that non-celibate gay and lesbian persons are included among those to whom B033 pertains.
The problem here is that this clarification simply acknowledges and commends the ACC sub-committee’s report. When Bishops and Standing Committees are called to exercise restraint, will they actually do so? Ultimately the Primates are the ones who need to be satisfied, NOT the ACC sub-committee and nothing short of zero ambiguity will satisfy Akinola et al.
Blessing of Same-Sex Unions
We, the members of the House of Bishops, pledge not to authorize for use in our dioceses any public rites of blessing of same-sex unions until a broader consensus emerges in the Communion, or until General Convention takes further action. In the near future we hope to be able to draw upon the benefits of the Communion-wide listening process. In the meantime, it is important to note that no rite of blessing for persons living in same-sex unions has been adopted or approved by our General Convention. In addition to not having authorized liturgies the Communion Sub-Committee noted that “the resolution uses the language of ‘restraint’ and the group acknowledges that there has been considerable discussion since General Convention about the exact force of that word. By requiring that the restraint must be expressed in a particular way – ‘by not consenting … ‘ however the resolution is calling for a precise response, which complies with the force of the recommendation of the Windsor Report.” The group also noted “that while the Windsor Report restricted its recommendation to candidates for the episcopate who were living in a same gender union, the resolution at General Convention widened this stricture to apply to a range of lifestyles which present a wider challenge. The group welcomed this widening of the principle, which was also recommended by the Windsor Report, and commend it to the Communion.”
A majority of bishops do not make allowance for the blessing of same-sex unions. We do note that in May 2003 the Primates said we have a pastoral duty “to respond with love and understanding to people of all sexual orientations.” They further stated, ” …[I]t is necessary to maintain a breadth of private response to situations of individual pastoral care.”
Read that last sentence again and then carefully once again. Very clearly what this means is what has been highlighted in Los Angeles in the past 24 hours. This is the get-out clause which will allow Bishops to not authorise TEC wide blessings, not have diocesan liturgies but allow “a breadth of private response” to which they will turn a blind eye.
If I was a Global South Primate I’d be writing a letter to Rowan with the words “non-compliance” right now.