Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Opinion On The House of Bishops Statement

The House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans has concluded. The statement the bishops produced was posted here last night. The question is what does it mean, and what will happen now?

In my opinion, the outcome of the meeting is positive. The bishops addressed the concerns raised by some other members of the Anglican Communion. In their statement, the bishops agreed to not authorize rites for same-sex blessings and to withhold consent for bishops that present issues for the rest of the Communion. The qualifying phrase is, “until a broader consensus emerges in the Communion, or until General Convention takes further action.”

This phrase has already made some nervous. I think their fear is that General convention will go ahead in the authorization of same-sex blessings. What will happen in that regard is anyone’s guess.

The statement addresses concerns about justice for gay and lesbian persons. There is concern for +New Hampshire’s role at Lambeth. Also included is a call to end the incursions of uninvited bishops.

If were pressed to offer a prediction, it would be that the diocese of Quincy, substantial portions of Fort Worth, San Joaquin and Pittsburgh will soon announce their departure. They will probably join a handful of provinces that will distance themselves from the rest of the Communion.

I would also guess that Canterbury will receive the House of Bishops’ statement as a good faith effort to stay in the Communion, and will accept it. The situation should be relatively stable until General Convention. Only time will tell.

I am unsure that the House of Bishops could have done anything to stop the departure of those that will probably leave. The divide appears too great. I will grieve their exit when it happens. It will mean the absence of challenging, valuable perspectives and voices.

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