Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Episcopal Convention Poised to End Moratorium on Ordaining Gay Bishops

Attending some meetings in San Diego, CA, I was pleased to learn from MSNBC and the Associated Press that the Episcopal General Convention, meeting this week in Anaheim not far away, appears poised to end its three-year old moratorium on ordaining gay bishops.

AP reports that lay and priest deputies to the convention had already approved an earlier draft of the new policy and that on Monday the House of Bishops "voted 99-45 with two abstentions for a statement declaring 'God has called and may call' to ministry gays in committed lifelong relationships." The House of Deputies is expected to give final approval by Friday.

Episcopal News Service seems to be trying to soft-pedal how controversial the change would be, headlining its report
"Bishops affirm openness of ordination process."

Yet the AP coverage accurately notes that the moratorium was intended to respond to pressure from the Global South conservatives in the Anglican Communion to undo the ordination of gay bishop V. Gene Robinson in 2003. Ending the moratorium will effectively throw down the gauntlet to those critics and by extension to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who requested the moratorium to calm the controversy.

The AP report notes sardonically: "Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who leads the Episcopal Church, was among the bishops who voted to approve the declaration." As primate of the Anglicans in the United States, she can expect her more conservative counterparts to vent their dismay any hour now.

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