Episcopals Compromise on Gays Fails To Heal Split
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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Episcopal delegates asked church leaders yesterday to “exercise restraint” when considering openly gay candidates for bishop, a vote that ended days of painful debate but fell far short of demands to preserve Anglican unity by banning gay bishops.
The measure calls on Episcopal prelates to “exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration” of candidates for bishop “whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church.” However it is nonbinding and – in a sign of the deep split over gay clergy – at least one bishop vowed immediately to ignore it.
Yesterday’s vote, just hours before the end of a nine-day meeting, pleased neither American conservatives nor advocates for full inclusion of gays.
A statement from conservative bishops was read from the convention floor calling the resolution meaningless and accusing the church of “misleading the rest of the communion by giving a false perception that they intend actually” to comply with Anglican requests.
The Anglican Communion Network, a group of 10 conservative Episcopal dioceses and more than 900 parishes, is considering splitting from the church and will meet at the end of July to decide its next step.
Bishop John Chane of the Diocese of Washington, D.C., said immediately after it passed that he would not follow it. “My own understanding of my responsibility as a bishop is to live into the integrity of my office,” Bishop Chane said in a statement.
Other Episcopal bishops are likely to do the same.
Anglicans also had asked for a moratorium on developing official prayers for blessing same-sex couples. It also was rejected.