Admiral of Morality: More reaction to House of Bishops

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

More reaction to House of Bishops

Integrity issued a release in support of the bishops' statement last night.

Integrity President Susan Russell said, "In response to requests for 'clarity' the House of Bishops made it clear today that the Episcopal Church is moving forward in faith. I believe today’s response will be received as a sign of great hope that we are committed to working through the hard ground of our differences. I look forward to taking the support of the House of Bishops for the Listening Process with me when I and other Integrity representatives meet with Anglican colleagues in London next month to prepare for our witness at the Lambeth Conference."

As noted yesterday, several newspapers and services shortly after the statement's release, ran articles with somewhat contradictory headlines. Given the compromises of the statement, this is perhaps understandable.

But some newspapers and services this morning run with stories that seem half-accurate given the unanimity at the House of Bishops.

As they have more time to digest the news and perhaps, ahem, report more and speak to more persons, the newspapers might provide more accurate, full coverage.

In any event the Boston Globe has a fine article today giving a good sense of what actually happened.

The Globe reports: "Episcopal Church officials said yesterday that Anglican Communion leaders had been briefed on the bishops' statement and were satisfied."

This is certainly the case, since the Joint Committee of the Primates and the ACC, was present throughout and provided input on the language of the statement; and the Archbishop, who chairs the committee, earlier was present and offered thoughts as well.

Bishop Robinson said he was "comforted" by the vote.

"What actually happened was a drawing together of a widely diverse community with a remarkable articulation of our common ground," he told the Globe. "No one's vision won."

Robinson said that he believes the Episcopal Church is moving toward greater support of gay rights. "Chicago has nominated an openly gay person [as bishop], and there will be other dioceses that will do so - it's the way the world is moving, and it's the way the church is moving," he said. "It's anyone's guess as to when that will happen, but, in the meantime, it's a little lonely."

Bishop John W. Howe of Central Florida, one of the most conservative bishops present at the meeting in New Orleans, said last night that he did not vote for the statement because it did not bar blessings of same-sex unions outright, but that he also thought that, among the Anglican primates, as leaders of provinces are called, "the majority will find it acceptable." Howe, asked if he would try to remove his diocese from the Episcopal Church, said "absolutely not."

"I think we did better than I expected," Howe said.

With only one nay vote, it is difficult to cast the House of Bishops as divided on the issues that were before them.

"The degree of unanimity is really remarkable," says Jim Naughton of The Episcopal Cafe.

"Even some bishops who had previously sought oversight from the Archbishop of Canterbury voted to support this resolution. The response reassures our partners in the Anglican Communion without stepping back from our commitment to gays and lesbians."

"In speaking with news organizations, I've been saying that this response should anchor the Episcopal Church very firmly within the Anglican Communion, even if it does not please some of the Communion's more radical primates."

Ekklesia have "Mixed response to US Episcopal compromise on gay issue" and write: "The impact of the decision, say analysts, will be to make it more difficult for conservatives within the 77-million Anglican Communion to kick the Episcopal Church out or to tighten their grip on its regualr work. But it is also a restraint on the freedom of lesbian and gay people's ministry within the church - which will not be able to grow further through ordained means in the near future."

If by ordinations Ekkelsia are including clergy at every stage, this is not accurate, since the bishops addressed only the consecration of fellow bishops, not the ordination of all clergy.

For more of this morning's coverage, visit Thinking Anglicans, who have put up a nice list of reports culled from various places.


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