Episcopal Church Asked to Offer 'Regrets'
Byline: Julia Duin, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The worldwide Anglican Communion yesterday decided not to discipline the U.S. Episcopal Church for consecrating a homosexual bishop last year and for allowing same-sex "blessings" in some dioceses, instead suggesting the American church "express regrets" for its actions.
The Windsor Report, released in London by a 17-member commission overseen by Archbishop Robin Eames of Ireland, did say the U.S. Episcopal Church caused "deep offense" by electing Canon V. Gene Robinson, a divorced priest living with a male lover, as bishop of New Hampshire.
At that August 2003 meeting, U.S. bishops also approved a measure that allows Episcopalians to "explore and experience liturgies celebrating and blessing same-sex unions."
The Windsor Report also criticized the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster in British Columbia, Canada, which in May last year began performing same-sex rites. Several months later, the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada affirmed "the integrity and sanctity of committed same-sex relationships."
The report called for a moratorium on future "blessings" in U.S. and Canadian churches, and on consecrating more homosexual bishops "until some new consensus" emerges among the world's 70 million Anglicans.
The several dozen bishops who consecrated Bishop Robinson Nov. 2 in Durham, N.H., were also invited to "consider" whether they should withdraw from future Anglican summits.
Washington Bishop John Chane, one of the consecrators at the Durham ceremony, refused to say whether he would withdraw from the next regularly scheduled worldwide Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops, in 2008.
"Lambeth is a long way off and a lot can happen between now and then," he said. Bishop Chane did express "sorrow," however, for how the Robinson consecration "engendered alienation and made others feel marginalized."
The bishop also brought up a new diocesan rite for same-sex blessings, which he authorized a year ago.
"I have caused pain," he said at a press conference. "I will say with all humility that was not my intent."
Although he premiered the rite at a June 12 ceremony for two men at a Maryland parish, he promised a temporary moratorium, with the understanding that "there's a time of beginning and a time of certain ending" to discussion on the issue.
When asked whether his clergy would obey the moratorium, he said, "It's very important for the clergy of this diocese to understand what I'm saying." But he said the "report doesn't ask me to be a policeman."
The document also recommended the adoption of an "Anglican covenant" by all 38 worldwide provinces of the 70-million-member Communion that would presumably enforce common doctrines.
Because the Episcopal Church acted alone in consecrating Bishop Robinson, it must explain "how a person living in a same-gender union may be considered eligible to lead the flock of Christ," the report said. …