Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Bad Headline Alert!

Hmmm... We don't think this headline is exactly accurate!

Episcopal Church votes to curb gay bishops

By Jim Leckrone 56 minutes ago
COLUMBUS, Ohio (Reuters)

The U.S. Episcopal Church, trying to appease an angry and alienated worldwide Anglican community, reversed itself on Wednesday and agreed to try to avoid the consecration of more openly gay bishops.

The action came 24 hours after one of two legislative bodies at the 2.3 million member U.S. church's convention had rejected a similar idea.

The non-binding resolution adopted at the convention calls on those in authority "to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate (for bishop) whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion."

Debate during the weeklong convention made it clear that the "manner of life" caution applied to openly homosexual candidates for the episcopate. The church has been in turmoil since its consecration three years ago of Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the first bishop known to be in an openly gay relationship in more than 450 years of Anglican history.

Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, said it was not clear how fully the U.S. church's actions responded to concerns raised by the world church's spiritual leadership.

"The wider Communion will therefore need to reflect carefully on the significance of what has been decided before we respond more fully," he said.

The resolution's "exercise caution" wording falls short of a recommendation from the Windsor Report, a paper issued at the behest of Williams, which suggested a moratorium on more gay bishops.


But the advice to avoid consecrations that was finally chosen was stronger than earlier wording proposed by a special commission within the U.S. church that called for exercising "very considerable caution" in elevating gays in open relationships to the episcopate.

However, the election of bishops is a local matter within the church and any resolution in whatever form is advisory.

The vote came after Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold warned the convention in its closing hours that "unless there is a clear perception on the part of our Anglican brothers and sisters that they have been taken seriously ... there will be no conversion and the bonds of affection which undergird communion will be further strained."

Griswold is leaving the church's top post after nearly nine years. His successor, voted in last Sunday at the convention, is Nevada Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who will be installed later this year and become the first woman to head any branch in the 77 million-member Anglican community worldwide.

"This church, the body of Christ, is not wholly one and not wholly two," she said during the debate. "The resolution which is before you is far from adequate. The language is exceedingly challenging but it is the best we can do at this convention."

Jefferts Schori, who backed the Robinson consecration three years ago and favors gay rights generally, said the resolution did not amount to "slamming the door" on the issue.
"We need to keep working ... to find the common body in this church," she said. "This is the best we are going to manage at this point in the church's history."



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