[I see] particular evidences arise every day that demonstrate not only a lack of mitigation, but further retrenchment of polarization and division.
For example, yesterday my bishop in Colorado (where I remain canonically resident), the Rt. Rev. Robert O’Neill, ordained to the transitional diaconate a publicly known partnered homosexual. As we know, such an ordination in itself is no longer news in parts of North America. Why should anyone care? What made this news in Colorado (and this is where I heard about it first, in the newspaper) was that Bp. O’Neill has, since becoming bishop in 2003, made a public commitment to refuse such ordinations. He did this, not on the basis of his personal views, but ”“ frequently referring to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s own distinction between personal and episcopal teaching roles ”“ on the basis of his desire to abide by the Communion’s stated teaching and discipline for the sake of common life. He frequently emphasized his affirmation of the Windsor Report, both in its underlying theology and in upholding its specific recommendations. To be sure, he did not vow any time-frame for these commitments; but the purposes were clear enough.
Yet yesterday, he changed course. The issue here is not to lodge a complaint. Furthermore, we know there are no legally binding Communion policies that somehow limit his choices on this or any matter. Bishop O’Neill has made his decision, he has done so on the basis of convictions that were long-known, and he does so in concert with many of his American colleagues. Nonetheless, he does so in the known context of TEC’s and the Communion’s own difficult grappling with what has now turned into a horrendously destructive matter, and he does so deliberately. This is the issue worth pondering.