The Episcopal Church finally passed its measure intended as a response to the Windsor Report of the Anglican Communion, but the tepid measure falls far short of the repentance called for by the report — and short of a promise not to consecrate any more openly-homosexual bishops.
The measure adopted by the General Convention calls for local dioceses 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.”
Almost immediately, at least one influential bishop indicated that he would not abide by the moratorium. The New York Times reported that Bishop John B. Chane of Washington, D.C. “did not vote for the resolution, and announced yesterday that he would defy it.”
The Times [London] reports:
Thirty liberal bishops issued a statement of dissent, saying that they could not abide by the new resolution. Bishop John Chane of Washington, a prominent church liberal who officiates at the National Cathedral in the American capital, said that he would not agree to block the ordination of any gay bishop. “I will defy the resolution by consenting after prayer and careful consideration to any person duly elected by a diocese in this church,” he said.
On the other side, five conservative bishops accused the General Convention of “misleading the rest of the Communion by giving a false perception that they intend actually to comply with the recommendations of the Windsor Report.” They continued: “We therefore disassociate ourselves from those acts of this Convention that do not fully comply with the Windsor Report.”
“It is not yet clear how far the resolutions passed this week and today represent the adoption by the Episcopal Church of all the proposals set out in the Windsor Report. The wider Communion will therefore need to reflect carefully on the significance of what has been decided before we respond more fully.”
The Telegraph [London] painted the picture in ominous tones:
Worldwide Anglicanism was in its death throes last night after its liberal American branch failed to toe the conservative line on homosexuality demanded by the majority of the Communion.
After a day of twists and turns, the Episcopal Church’s governing General Convention agreed an eleventh-hour peace offering, but the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will struggle to hold the Church together.
As it stands, the measure the General Convention adopted will serve only to delay the inevitable. As Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh stated, “We were asked to speak with clarity but we have come up with a fudge.”