An Anglican Church commission rebuked the Episcopal Church USA
yesterday for ordaining an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire and for blessing
same-sex unions, and called for a moratorium on both practices "until
some new consensus in the Anglican Communion emerges."
In a report issued in London, the commission asked the Episcopal Church
to apologize for causing pain and division in the global Anglican
Communion, the second largest church body in the world, with 77 million
members in 164 countries.
The report also calls for the bishops who consecrated the gay bishop,
V. Gene Robinson, to consider withdrawing from Anglican "functions"
until they offer "an expression of regret." The current and former
presiding bishops of the Episcopal Church were among the more than three dozen
bishops who encircled Bishop Robinson last November and consecrated him
with a laying on of hands.
The report puts the onus on the Episcopal Church to apologize for the
consecration of Bishop Robinson and to stop blessing gay couples or risk
severing ties with other members of the Communion.
said such a step was also necessary to maintain the Anglican Church's
relationships with Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, and with
Muslims in countries like Nigeria, home to 17 million Anglicans.
"The report says no to unilateralism," said Archbishop Njongonkulu
Ndungane of Cape Town, one of few African bishops who has expressed support
for the Episcopal Church's decisions. "What the commission is saying
is, let's move together."
The report stops short of saying what would occur if the Episcopal
Church does not offer an apology or continues to bless gay couples. The
report concludes, "There remains a very real danger that we will not
choose to walk together."
Conservatives expressed anger, and some liberals relief, that the
commission did not call for...