In making a “pledge not to authorize for use in our dioceses any public rites of blessing of same-sex unions” at this time, they noted that the church has never adopted any rite for such blessings.
[But the Primates already knew this, what they were concerned about was local pastoral provision for same sex blessings which is occurring even without any General Convention authorized rite–KSH].
Whether the bishops’ response will satisfy either the Anglican primates or dissident Episcopalians remains in question.
“It’s a great example of apostolic leaders acting like lawyers,” said the Rev. Kendall Harmon, a conservative theologian from the Diocese of South Carolina. “They’re hiding behind language that’s parsed and [this attempt to pretend using language as a weapon is–KSH] insulting.”
The bishops’ “reluctant bargaining effort to keep their foot in the door,” of the Anglican Communion, will just lead to increased chaos in the U.S. and abroad, Harmon said.
But the statement’s seemingly overwhelming support from conservative and liberal bishops proves that it strikes a balance on a divisive issue, said Jim Naughton, a spokesman for the Diocese of Washington.
“Much of the church would like to move forward on issues of full inclusion,” he said. “We would like to authorize blessings for gay relationships, we would like to say that all orders of ministry in our church are open to our gay and lesbian members. We’re not happy with the statue quo. But tactically this seemed by far the wisest thing to do.”
Read it all. But Jim Naughton is not telling the truth about the Bishops not telling the truth. It is not the status quo. It is still creating facts on the ground in multiple dioceses which put into practice something Anglicans have never agreed to do and the Bible has never been understood by the Church to permit. That is why Integrity entitled its press release “INTEGRITY APPLAUDS BISHOPS’ STRONG STAND AGAINST PRIMATES”.
Update: And speaking of creating facts on the ground, anyone remember this statement from the Archbishop of Canterbury?
But I distinguish as clearly as I can between a question a theologian may ask and an action or determination the church may take, or only the bishop may take. I think that is a necessary distinction for the life and health of the church. It would be a tragedy if the church sought to suppress questions. But it is equally a tragedy when the church creates facts on the ground that foreclose discussions and reflections on such questions.