The Archbishop of Canterbury's Statement on Los Angeles Episcopal Elections

The election of Mary Glasspool by the Diocese of Los Angeles as suffragan bishop elect raises very serious questions not just for the Episcopal Church and its place in the Anglican Communion, but for the Communion as a whole.

The process of selection however is only part complete. The election has to be confirmed, or could be rejected, by diocesan bishops and diocesan standing committees. That decision will have very important implications.

The bishops of the Communion have collectively acknowledged that a period of gracious restraint in respect of actions which are contrary to the mind of the Communion is necessary if our bonds of mutual affection are to hold.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

37 comments on “The Archbishop of Canterbury's Statement on Los Angeles Episcopal Elections

  1. trimom says:

    Say what?

  2. Br_er Rabbit says:

    I pray that the place in the Anglican Communion of The Episcopal Church will soon be adjusted appropriately.

  3. Iohannes says:

    That’s more ominous than I expected.

  4. TomRightmyer says:

    I suppose that the second suffragan-elect of Los Angeles will not be invited to Lambeth 2018 – if there is a Lambeth 2018. And I expect the bishop and Standing Committee of Western NC to vote to confirm.

  5. dwstroudmd+ says:

    Oh! My! The ABC has commented ALREADY!!!

    He must have been eating Mexican food when he heard. This IS Speedy Gonzalez response time for his never-comment-in-less-than-two-wee(a)kness.

    I am shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

  6. Carolina Anglican says:

    Wow! What a bold statement…it “raises questions.”

  7. Br_er Rabbit says:

    #5: “Oh, well,” says the ABC, “at least she hasn’t been confirmed yet. But just see how hard I shake my finger when she does get confirmed!”

    Of course, the next step will be, “Oh, well, at least she hasn’t been consecrated yet. But just see how hard I shake my finger when she does get consecrated!”

  8. Fr. Dale says:

    [blockquote]The process of selection however is only part complete. The election has to be confirmed, or could be rejected, by diocesan bishops and diocesan standing committees.[/blockquote]
    Another way of saying this could be, “Yes, the Titanic has a hole in it but it remains to be seen if it will sink.” Just keep pushing it down the road ABC. Maybe it will all go away.

  9. Pb says:

    He is saying the same thing as KJS. The ordination process remains open and who would get upset about that. I am afraid he believes that she may not be ordained and that this will just go away.

  10. Kevin Montgomery says:

    Amazing. The Archbishop can respond almost instantly to this yet still remain silent about the pending legislation in Uganda. Qui tacet consentire videtur. (He who remains silent is seen to consent.)

  11. Sherri2 says:

    I can’t believe that anyone, after this last GC, would be naive enough to believe that consents won’t be forthcoming. Probably in record time.

  12. The Lakeland Two says:

    “Raises questions” means more conversation. Disagree with #8, don’t think Rowan wants it to go away – he wants reasserters to give up fighting against it. If not, he would have stood up forcefully which he, IMO, never done. Until and unless reasserters really rebel, it’s a non-issue. Just leaving isn’t going to do it. It will require those with position to use their position to challenge. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough left. And Rowan and TEC know it.

  13. Br. Michael says:

    Well that will sure have TEC quacking in its boots. I will wait to see if the ABC actually does anything. To date all his words have been empty and meaningless.

  14. David Hein says:

    I think I may be hopelessly naive and wrong, but I can’t help discerning–yes, maybe it’s wishful thinking–a thin but persistent golden thread running through Rowan Williams’s (and the AC’s) statements over the years: In brief, If you do this, you will be walking apart. TEC does this. (That’s the short version. The long version is a much more complicated dance of TEC does this, says it won’t, passes resolutions, says the votes don’t mean what people think, then does this, etc.) Then AC has a final domino to knock over: “You have walked apart; we’re moving on without you.”

    Won’t be that easy. There’s the long-drawn-out covenant business. Implementing TWR would have been faster, I should think. In any case, is this last domino–one can’t say “inexorable” because of the dithering of the ecclesiastical bureaucracy, reminiscent of the chancery case in Dickens’s Bleak House–what the CP rectors and bishops have been waiting for? With a clear AC defining of the situation, the CP parishes and dioceses rise up like islands in the sea? And, recognized by the AC, suddenly have a much stronger case in the courts–as “the ones that never left”?

    Or is all this just the stuff of dreams and fantasy?

  15. The Lakeland Two says:

    #13 – That is what is being hoped for, but feel that it is just dreams and fantasy. For if the CP’s are recognized by the AC, TEC will swoop in, depose and sue for the properties. Just what percentage of Episcopalians are lawyers anyway? 😉 A review of the list of delegates to GC09 showed a huge amount of them.

    But in any event, from your lips to God’s ears.

  16. David Hein says:

    All right: TEC gives consents. Ball in AC’s court. Then what? I don’t see RW and much of AC seeing ACNA as the answer.

    But if not, then they know it is incumbent on them to provide a better answer. What is it? They have said that TEC’s “big tent” argument won’t wash. Simply not inviting TEC to some meetings (non-Lambeth) that most Anglicans really don’t know anything about won’t cut it.

    Frankly, I see just two choices ahead (after election is affirmed by consents): Clarify/define in an unambiguous manner (mean what you say). Or do nothing or next to nothing.

    Up until now (or soon), the latter could almost plausibly have been advanced. But I don’t see what more TEC would need to do to convince anyone of its degree of difference with the AC.

    The good thing about Cantuar’s dithering is that strategically it kept making TEC define itself more and more conclusively. I know some objective Episcopal Church historians who, while sympathetic to the Robinson election in 2003, nonetheless saw it as a “mistake.” Well, the AC certainly did, and it asked TEC…. Well, you know what it asked.

    At that point it was not of course absolutely clear that TEC would not observe a period of gracious restraint. Now it is clear–hence the force of this brief comment from Lambeth. Aren’t the possible moves on the chess board significantly reduced?

  17. Antonio says:

    It’s all the Pope’s fault… isn’t it?

  18. Grandmother says:

    I love it Br. Micheal, but ” quacking in its boots.” is probably more likely than “quaking”.. LOL Sorry, couldn’t resist….

    Actually I too am amazed at the quick reaction, but I beg you all,
    read it aloud with all seriousness, IF you can..

    Grandmother in SC

  19. David Hein says:

    Thank you, Grandmother. I have read the statement again. And this time I looked for what I thought–others can play this game too–was the most important word. Maybe it’s “necessary.”

    “The bishops of the Communion have collectively acknowledged that a period of gracious restraint in respect of actions which are contrary to the mind of the Communion is necessary if our bonds of mutual affection are to hold.”

    In the case of pronouncements by high Church officials, whether archbishops of Canterbury or popes–taking care to look at the words makes sense. Rapidly fired off, this message was nonetheless carefully constructed.

    So, to me, “necessary” is pretty absolute. It doesn’t say “desirable” or “preferable.” Necessary if what? Necessary if the Communion is to stay together. That’s a strong reading. In fact, it refers only to “bonds of affection.” A weak reading could say, Well, yes, necessary for us all to go on liking one another. So, in a press conference or at a small dinner party (not one I’d be invited to), I’d want to ask +Rowan what he meant by “bonds of affection”–though I recognize that he’s just citing AC language there.

  20. Br. Michael says:

    17, that too.

  21. John Wilkins says:

    [Comment deleted by Elf]

  22. LumenChristie says:

    Ho hum. Another line in the sand — —

    To be crossed over and crossed out.

    What shall we do now that this has happened?

    How about wring our hands and just keep on keeping on with the charade of “no schism [i]yet[/i]………

    ………how about [i]ever[/i]

  23. LumenChristie says:

    I think you got it right, Br Michael:

    Quack, quack.

  24. DaveW says:

    The response from the Archbishop of Canterbury is impotent and unworthy of any serious consideration at all.

    The Dar Es Salaam communique indicated that the majority of primates found nothing at all wrong, reprehensible or unethical about the innovations and steps (and elections) the Episcopal Church has taken in recent history, and that there would be no reprimand, nor any disciplinary action taken of any kind against the Episcopal Church. It was to be business as usual.

    If this second election “raises questions”, what will the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh … Nth do? We all know the answer: nothing.

  25. Brian from T19 says:

    The bishops of the Communion have collectively acknowledged that a period of gracious restraint in respect of actions which are contrary to the mind of the Communion is necessary if our bonds of mutual affection are to hold.

    I, for one, think 7 years is pretty gracious.

  26. Intercessor says:

    That’s more ominous than I expected.

    yeah another difference maker from the great enabler of the Anglican Communion. I wonder what B16 is thinking this morning about the brusing he laid on Cantaur.

  27. Jeremy Bonner says:

    David (#15),

    I think your remarks are very much to the point. The other interesting event on the horizon is the pending resolution to be voted on at the spring session of the Church of England General Synod acknowledging fellowship with ACNA (though not necessarily cutting ties with TEC). Should it pass that will clearly create a different dynamic within which the Archbishop of Canterbury has to operate but even if it fails it’s likely to expose the fault lines in the Mother Church.

    Moreover, ACNA (both corporately and in Pittsburgh) continues to affirm the Covenant with the unmodified Clause Four.

    [url=]Catholic and Reformed[/url]

  28. Kendall Harmon says:

    For Dr. Rowan Williams–if you know him for who he is–this is an unusually swift and vigorous statement.

  29. stabill says:

    #27: Well I don’t know him, but I’ve been watching closely these last 6 years, and I, too, am surprised.

    I also think that the consent process is far from a slam dunk. Look, for example, at the defeat last week of same sex union legislation in the New York State Senate.

  30. CanaAnglican says:

    But still too little, too late. Millions of sheep have wandered off to other pastures.

  31. Iohannes says:

    Thanks for weighing in, Dr Harmon.

  32. Intercessor says:

    I wonder if Dio South Carolina will bother to respond to a TEC call for confirmation since they claim that they withdrew from TEC business and affairs. Let’s see Bruno call for Bp Lawrence’s collar if Bruno is completely ignored…(See AB ++Duncan for template).

  33. Philip Bowers says:

    Do any of you believe that the ABC will do anything, except for maneuvering to keep TEC tightly within the Anglican fold? I mean, come on, we’ve had seven years of solid evidence.

  34. David Hein says:

    No. 32: “I mean, come on, we’ve had seven years of solid evidence.”

    From one point of view, yes. From another point of view, we’ve had six years since GC 2003 during which TEC did NOT elect another non-celibate homosexual person to the episcopate. Now all of a sudden it has. That’s a pretty big difference. Your evidence, yes, points to continuity of one kind. This election points to discontinuity. And the latter needs to be dealt with at a level appropriate to it: It’s a big deal that can’t be met with a tepid response without serious repercussions for the AC. I don’t think anyone can deny that. Nor would anyone want to deny that +RDW and the AC are aware of the options available to them. What they say and do and how they respond, I don’t know. But I still feel, after some more thought and reading, that the pieces and moves on the chessboard are fewer today than they were a week ago.

  35. Fr. Dale says:

    It has never been clear to me whether the ABC thinks that GLBT Bishops are a process issue or heretical. If it is a process issue then restraint for him simply means at a future time it will be acceptable.
    It is possible that the ABC is awaiting the finalized fourth section of the Covenant to offer a way forward.

  36. Br_er Rabbit says:

    Dcn Dale, if so, he is waiting for the cards to be dealt from the deck that he himself has carefully stacked.

    I fear that the best we can hope for is a vigorous minority report.

  37. Fr. Dale says:

    I think the seeds for this were sown in the Protestant Reformation. Individualism, Sola Scriptura and state churches come to mind. For me the most positive effect of the Protestant reformation was in the Roman Church with the Council of Trent and the Counter Reformation.
    By the way, as we get more and more clarity, we don’t seem to be any closer to a way forward. There have been so many moments along the way where we had hoped for decisive decisions only to be disappointed once again. GAFCON should have been a wake up call. The formation of ACNA is a natural outgrowths of inadequate leadership within the Anglican Communion. Perhaps the “governance structures” themselves should be reformed. I am not just disappointed with the Tone Deafness of TEC. I am also disappointed with the Tone Deafness of The Anglican Communion in general and the ABC in particular.