“I think they’re pushing us because they want to polarize the issue,” said Bishop Henry Parsley of Alabama, who did not vote for Bishop Robinson’s consecration. “The primates want us to say that we don’t approve public rites of blessing, and we have not done that. They don’t want us to approve gay bishops in committed relationships, and the 2006 general convention resolution makes that unlikely. Basically, what I’m saying is that what they are asking is essentially already the case.” If the bishops take such a position, that would amount to a rejection of the directive. Archbishop Williams would “have a hard time carrying on with business as usual,” said the Rev. Ephraim Radner, a leading Episcopal conservative and professor of historical theology at Wycliffe College in Toronto.
The archbishop might then take steps to reduce the Episcopal Church’s role and representation in the communion, Mr. Radner and others said.
Some African primates have also spoken openly about leaving the Anglican Communion, which would create great disarray in their provinces, as not all their bishops or clergy are willing to break with the communion over this issue, Episcopal bishops and experts said.
“This is the most significant meeting in the last three years,” Mr. Radner said. “I’m not saying it will resolve everything, but it will set in motion responses that have been brewing for a long time. It doesn’t matter what happens, there’s going to be response from a whole range of folks in the Anglican Communion that will determine the future of communion.”
Bishop Parsley has it exactly backwards. The Primates are seeking clarity and asking TEC to embrace the mind and teaching of the communion in order that the Anglican Communion NOT be polarized and broken apart.
Bishop Parsley says “The primates want us to say that we don’t approve public rites of blessing, and we have not done that.” No, that is wrong also. As the Tanzania Communique makes clear:
There appears to us to be an inconsistency between the position of General Convention and local pastoral provision. We recognise that the General Convention made no explicit resolution about such Rites and in fact declined to pursue resolutions which, if passed, could have led to the development and authorisation of them. However, we understand that local pastoral provision is made in some places for such blessings. It is the ambiguous stance of The Episcopal Church which causes concern among us.
The Primates see what Bishop Parsley says is the case, that no explicit resolution about rites was indeed passed, but they also see that local pastoral provision at complete odds with Lambeth 1998 resolution 1.10 is occurring, and they want it to cease in Vermont and New Jersey and Olympia and New Hampshire and Nevada and in the numerous other dioceses where it happens. In the words of Archbishop Gomez, the Episcopal Church has a tendency to say one thing and do another. The Primates wish that hypocrisy to stop in the area of allowing for same sex blessings.
The fact that someone such as Bishop Parsley misconstrues the motivation of the Primates and misunderstands what is being requested at this late stage bodes ill for next week’s meeting.
Read it all.