Monday, March 29, 2010

Editorial: Canonically Permissible Graciousness

From The Living Church-

In September 2009, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told journalist Denis O’Hayer that she would be willing to consecrate another openly gay or lesbian bishop because of her canonical responsibility to “take order for the consecration of bishops, when duly elected” (Canon I.2.3–4).

By December, the Presiding Bishop participated in a meeting of the newly christened Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion. That body issued a brief statement affirming the Archbishop of Canterbury’s plea that the Episcopal Church continue to show the gracious restraint asked of it by the Windsor Report.

Now these matters are no longer abstractions. The Presiding Bishop intends to preside at the consecration of the Rev. Canon Mary Douglas Glasspool on the afternoon of May 15 in Long Beach, Calif.

To put the matter another way, on May 15 the Presiding Bishop intends to do the very thing that the Joint Standing Committee — on which she serves — urged the Episcopal Church not to do. Many readers will remember that the Episcopal Church has walked this path before. In October 2003 the Primates Meeting urged the Episcopal Church not to proceed with consecrating Gene Robinson as the Bishop of New Hampshire. Weeks later, Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold III served as Bishop Robinson’s chief consecrator.

Granted: Bishops do not set the Episcopal Church’s policy unilaterally. Granted: A majority of bishops and standing committees gave their consent for consecrating Canon Glasspool as a bishop suffragan. Granted: Canon Glasspool will become Bishop Glasspool on May 15, regardless of which three bishops serve as her primary consecrators.

Nevertheless, even a rudimentary grasp of Jesus’ admonition to “let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’” (Matt. 5:37) highlights a conflict between the Episcopal Church’s rhetoric of reconciliation and autonomous actions. Leaders of other Anglican provinces have good reason to think that for some Episcopalians, words have become symbol systems in which today’s yes becomes tomorrow morning’s no.

More here-

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