Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The "Gospel" According to +Jim Stanton

Received via email, here is what the Bishop of Dallas has to say about the "intent" of Resolutions C056 & D025.

It is clear from the resolutions passed, as well as from the floor debate in both Houses, that it is the intention of the leadership of The Episcopal Church that the moratoria requested by the Communion are no longer binding.

Although a number of commentators, among them bishops, have maintained that the moratoria themselves were not specifically addressed, it is clear that both the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops view their previous pledge as cancelled. It was the stated desire of both Bishops and Deputies that this General Convention speak clearly to the Communion concerning “the reality of where this church is.”

Resolution D025 reads (in part): “That the 76th General Convention affirm that God has called and may call [gay and lesbian persons in lifelong committed relationships], to any ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church” and further declares that it is competent to deal with these calls in its own “discernment processes acting in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church.”

Resolution C056 reads (in part): “That the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, in consultation with the House of Bishops, collect and develop theological and liturgical resources, and report to the 77th General Convention”.

While it is true that neither of these resolutions deal explicitly with repudiations of either previous actions of the Convention or of specific requests made of our Church, it is also quite true that their intent is plain. The 2006 resolution had called for restraint on giving consent to the consecration of any bishop “whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church.” That concern is now completely absent in D025, and the only criteria in making such decisions are entirely internal. As for C056, the operative word is “develop.” The plain sense here is to “create,” “produce,” or “promote.”

C056 also resolves that bishops “may provide generous pastoral response” to meet the needs of same-sex couples, and this, before providing any theological support for the rites themselves. This appears to give a “green light” to local, unilateral action, and is already being so interpreted by a number of bishops.

Taken together, this is de facto a repudiation of the repeated requests directed to us by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primates of the Communion, and the Anglican Consultative Council.


Brother David said...

I think that Adrian Worsfold, the Pluralist, puts it much better than +Stanton;

The reality of meeting only once every three years has its own effects for a governing body. For those matters that are pressing, and really cannot wait another three years, taking action might be seen as hurrying things up. For other matters that can wait, waiting another three years might look like being slow - even deliberately slow.

The pastoral realities after three years of an observed 'nearly moratorium' have built up, as has the frustration of observations of the other actors of the so-called moratorium ignoring their side of the deal. Not only did the border crossings go on and on, but they turned into a competitor Church that seeks the approval of the Anglican Communion. So the once every three years moment arrives and it is time to act and not just to let things drift by waiting three more years.

So it was time to move on - just a little. The resolutions D025 and C056 have been passed, that mean the resistance and disagreement about the place of people in stable gay relationships being accepted into any level of ministry has been decentralised. Assuming the process of discernment goes on, the Church itself will not resist such appointments. It would take another convention for a clearer policy of non-discrimination down in the various sections of The Episcopal Church. Even more reserved is the decision to gather liturgical resources for same sex blessings, and that any of these must be about pastoral sensitivity in the meantime. Whether prayers are offered for such couples or not, there is no approved liturgy of the Church for at least three more years.

JimB said...

Let the spin begin. For those like Bp. Stanton who need a handy demon to be against, the spin will be that TEC "repudiated" the same moratorium he and others claimed TEC had failed to enact when they dismissed B033 a mere 3 years ago. For the PB it is the idea that the crucified place continues to hold lbgt Episcopalians. They are both simply wrong. The people of the church have left both behind.


Pat Klemme said...

Three years and counting on an actual moratorium on consecrating bishops whose manner of life might offend the wider church vs. how long a moratorium on crossing diocesan boundaries? I do believe we have demonstrated an ability and willingness to restrain ourselves. I also believe certain archbishops have violated their moratoria repeatedly. AB Venables may be in the wings of +Stanton's diocese as we speak. Amazing!