It is regrettable that the appeals from Anglican Communion bodies for continuing gracious restraint have not been heeded. Following the Los Angeles election in December the archbishop made clear that the outcome of the consent process would have important implications for the communion. The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion reiterated these concerns in its December resolution which called for the existing moratoria to be upheld. Further consultation will now take place about the implications and consequences of this decision.It may be time for some, including the occupants of Lambath Palace, to recall the heavy handed strategies employed by the House of Bishops, and our Presiding Bishop, to force the Deputies to pass the "existing moratoria."
That particularly unpleasant piece of legislation, known as resolution B033, defined the "existing moratoria" in this manner:
Resolved, that this Convention therefore call upon Standing Committees and bishops with jurisdiction 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.That restraint, gained by the emotional manipulation of the House of Deputies, is the only "existing moratoria" recognized by the Episcopal Church. The Windsor Report is a report, nothing more. Canterbury, the Primates and the ACC are free to make recomendations, but they are not able, under our polity, to define what constitutes appropriate "gracious restraint" nor to establish Communion-wide "moratoria." They do not have that authority.
The "existing moratoria" in TEC, defined by B033, was never the mind of the House of Deputies. It is questionable if it was even the mind of the House of Bishops. Reports of the discussion that led to the Bishops passing it suggests that there was some serious arm twisting being employed by Presiding Bishop Griswold.
The fact that B033 was never representative of the mind of TEC meeting in General Convention in 2006 became quite obvious at the next Convention in 2009, when resolution D025 passed both Houses with very little debate. The relevant section follows:
Resolved, That the 76th General Convention recognize that gay and lesbian persons who are part of such relationships have responded to God's call and have exercised various ministries in and on behalf of God's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and are currently doing so in our midst; and be it furtherNow, at the time of the passing of D025, I was in agreement with the opinion that D025 did not change anything; it did not rescind B033. As one example, that opinion was articulted by Bp. Epting:
Resolved, That the 76th General Convention affirm that God has called and may call such individuals, to any ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church, and that God's call to the ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church is a mystery which the Church attempts to discern for all people through our discernment processes acting in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church...
The Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops’ passage of resolution D025 does not overturn last General Convention’s call for care and “restraint.” That last resolution (B033) was never a “moratorium” on the ordination and consecration of gay and lesbian persons. It counseled care in approving any bishops whose “manner of life” would cause additional strain on the Anglican Communion.I find myself having to rethink some of those assumptions today.
Quite apart from the press’s (including Episcopal News Service) usual misunderstanding of such things, D025 simply re-asserts what has always been true — the ordination process in The Episcopal Church is governed by the Constitution and Canons of this church...
First of all, we have to assume, based on the brief statement released from Lambeth Palace, that in Canterbury's mind, "gracious restraint" is indeed synonymous with "existing moratoria." We can play with the meaning all we want, but it seems clear to most people that the phrase "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" was indeed intended to be a moratorium in regards to the consecration of gay and lesbian persons.
So, D025 was necessary, in order to clearly state that such a reading of B033 was not the mind of the House of Bishops or the House of Deputies. But, as with all resolutions, it is still simply words, open to various interpretations.
That has all changed now. That a majority of Standing Committees and Bishops have given consent to the consecration of Bishop-elect Glasspool will once and for all put to rest any speculation regarding the interpretation of both B033 and D025.
The message from Lambeth concludes with these ominous words:
...Further consultation will now take place about the implications and consequences of this decision...The consequences? How about a church that will not justify bigotry in the name of God? How about a church that strives to be a place for all the baptized? How about a church that seeks to raise up leaders that are clearly called by God, without placing artificial stumbling blocks in their way?
Yes, there will be consequences. Thanks be to God.