They also reviewed their statement from their most recent meeting, last April, which said that the bishops “hope” that the sacraments of baptism, communion and confirmation would not be denied due to sexual orientation. Several bishops said they received criticism over the use of the word “hope” and the word should be stronger. However, they decided not to begin editing their statement and agreed each bishop could issue statements to their clergy that more strongly-worded. Some bishops have already done so.
The statement also urged bishops “to develop the most generous pastoral response possible (to same-sex couples) within the current teaching of the church” then cited such examples as celebrating a eucharist with a civilly-married gay couple; they may not perform a nuptial blessing.
“I have no problem with a ”˜generous pastoral response’ but I don’t and cannot accept homosexual behavior,” said suffragan bishop Larry Robertson of the Arctic. “What got missed is people who are same-sex attracted but choose not to pursue it. They feel totally left out and misunderstood,” said Archbishop Terrence Buckle of the Yukon.
However, Bishop Burton said that “part of what bishops do” is “respond pastorally to different situations.”