….Dr. Radner takes issue with our description of a consensus: that a few should not be able to prevent an action representing the wish of the vast majority. He seems to imply that the conscience of the few should count. If so, then what does he make of those people, priests, Dioceses and Provinces who cannot go along with the supposed “virtual unanimity” in the communion? His claim validates positional authority, vested in the current Instruments of Communion, to override the eddies underneath the surface. We acknowledge that the Christian tradition has opposed homosexual relationships of any kind. It is a strong tradition which must have its respected voice. From our pastoral engagement, however, we realise that the received tradition on homosexuality no longer holds sway over significant number of people in our Diocese. We respect that it still has authority over many among us, and within a vast majority of Anglicans in the world whose contexts are not ours. But what of those who in good conscience, like the homosexually inclined person described by Rowan Williams, do not agree with it? They, too, are caught between holding together their loyalty to their conscience and their loyalty to the Communion, and in parts of Canada and elsewhere, loyalty to their bishop. This is certainly a difficult tension, but hardly a new or an impossible position in which to be. We ask again, but will they be given the same protection and freedom customarily extended to theological minorities in the Diocese of Toronto and is extended again clearly in the Guidelines? All too often majority is invoked to force compliance. When that happens we are not talking about authority, only power, and it frequently backfires. When the majority fails to listen to the real needs and pains of the minority, and when they do not help work out a legitimate way to accommodate, the minority often act inappropriately. We, as bishops of Toronto, by these Guidelines aim at foreswearing coercion and are willing to live in the tensions created while continued discernment is engaged. We appeal to others to do the same.
But neither will we be coerced. This can come from many directions, from those who believe we are too timid and from those who believe we are too bold. In the end, those who have power in the Communion will decide what to do with Dr. Radner’s accusation and do with us what they will, or not. We on our part are happy to maintain the bonds of affection with all members of the Communion, and eager to collaborate in Christ’s mission with any who are willing. We are also eager to continue the dialogue and listening that Professor O’Donovan commends and have committed ourselves to those processes across the Communion. While ready to make an account of our actions, we do not make a habit of answering every charge in public, but a person of Dr. Radner’s stature warrants an exception.