9/25/2007

Eight bullets.

It turned out there were eight of them: bullets from the HoB supposedly acceptable to the JSC, the ABC and all points at sea. They are in the document presented to the HoB TUesday Afternoon and

This is from an fax version posted by Stand Firm.

" • We reconfirm that resolution B033 of General Convention 2006 (The Election Of Bishops) calls upon bishops with jurisdiction and Standing Committees "to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion."

• We pledge as a body not to authorize public rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.

• We commend our Presiding Bishop's plan for episcopal visitors.

• We deplore incursions into our jurisdictions by uninvited bishops and call for them to end.

• We support the Presiding Bishop in seeking communion-wide consultation in a manner that is in accord with our Constitution and Canons.

• We call for increasing implementation of the listening process across the Communion and for a report on its progress to Lambeth 2008.

• We support the Archbishop of Canterbury in his expressed desire to explore ways for the Bishop of New Hampshire to participate in the Lambeth Conference.

• We call for unequivocal and active commitment to the civil rights, safety, and dignity of gay and lesbian persons."

One bullet in particular spells trouble.

In the "discussion" section of the report the Bishops say this:

Beginning at line 74:

"
The House of Bishops concurs with Resolution ECO 11 of the Executive Council. This Resolution commends the Report of the Communion Sub-Group of the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates of the Anglican Communion as an accurate evaluation of Resolution B033 of the 2006 General Convention, calling upon bishops with jurisdiction and Standing Committees "to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion. The House acknowledges that non-celibate gay and lesbian persons are included among those to whom B033 pertains."

So now the matter lies here: The bishops acknowledge B033 to be about gay and lesbian persons, among others but we all knew that. It does not say one way or another if bishops are going to heed the call to "exercise restraint."

Many of us are called on to do many things, but a call is not an obligation, at least for the bishops in this case, for the right to consent or not cannot be taken away by fiat. There may be great coercion in a call to do or not do something, but that is quite different from that pressure having the force of law.

So those who believe the bishops will actually heed the call will find comfort in this, I suppose. Those who believe bishops will continue to exercise their vote as circumstances require will take less comfort.

More later.

10 comments:

  1. Mark,

    You've hit the nail on the head. It's the B033 thing that is very troublesome. No wiggle room now for a consent to a Lynd election, for example. I believe this is a major step back, because none of the conservatice dioceses are going to accept this version of DEPO anyway, and the SSB "pastoral loophole" is still in place.

    RFSJ+

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  2. Here's the question I asked at Fr. Jake's:

    What happens if a gay or lesbian bishop is elected in a diocese in TEC?

    What exactly does the call to exercise restraint entail? Does it forbid a vote to consent to the consecration of a lesbian or gay bishop?
    Grandmère Mimi | Homepage | 09.25.07 - 7:16 pm | #


    I suppose the answer is: we don't know. It will depend upon each bishop's interpretation of the meaning of the call for restraint.

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  3. I never thought that there was the slightest chance of any person in a same sex union receiving consents until after Gen Con 2009 -- as bad as B033 is, that would be the height of hypocrisy & we would never hear the end of it.

    This is an amazing compromise document that obtained more consensus that Nicea.

    We keep our place at the table & the schismatics leave (which strengthens our hand even more) -- if I had any money I would bet that Gen Con revokes B033 & authorizes the Standing Liturgical Committee to work on rite for same sex blessings.

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  4. Yes, and Grandmere... I wonder if Mo. Lind's bishop (or anyone else) called her to offer some pastoral support when the news broke. To be told "You are unacceptable because of whom you love" is so very... sad seems too light a word. Hurtful, certainly. Tragic, perhaps. UnChristian to be sure.

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  5. Mark - I agree completely with your analysis of the first dot point and the wriggle room it allows. Restraint does have the same force of meaning as refuse. One can feel contrained in making a decision but not absolutely prevented from making an adverse decision. What if 49% of bishops and standing committees refused to consent to a homosexual elected by a diocese to be its bishop while the other 51% allowed it? Does this constitute sufficient restraint, yet still allow the homosexual condidate to be consecrated? I don't think this is what the Primates are looking for from ECUSA, and so this resolution only prolongs the agony.

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  6. Mark - there also seems to be plenty of wriggle room in the 2nd dot point. Does this mean that bishops are individually allowing themselves to authorise public ss blessings, while committing themselves as a whole to not authorise such - IOW - that such authorisation will not be forthcoming from either the HoB or from a GC, but may be given by an individual bishop pertaining to his see only? Or does it mean they will not take action against ministers in their dioceses who conduct public ss blessings while not personally authorising them, as Bp Bruno seems to have done in his diocese; or does it mean that they may authorise ss blessings as long as they are not public rites. Again there seems to be too much fudge in this resolution. I think the Primates were looking for a much clearer statement from the HoB that would prohibit any form of blessing of a ss relationship.

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  7. Does the listening process mentioned in dot point 6 include listening to the experience of men and women who have been rescued from a homosexual lifestyle to live well adjusted and healthy lives of either celibacy or in long term monogomous heterosexual marriages? Or does the listening process include the obligation of homosexuals to listen to the views of orthodox folk? What is the objective of imposing an obligation on orthodox folk to listen to homosexuals when that obligation is not reciprocated, or broadened to include other groups of people such as those who have been transformed from homosexuality. How many listening encounters is anyone required to be subjected to before it can be said that the process has been accomplished, even though no-one's views may have altered?

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  8. I don't have a problem with the final dot point as long as it is understood we are only talking about civil rights in the secular context, not including marriage which by definition is between two people of the opposite sex, or a right to ordination. But many folk would be suspicious that this resolution would be used to then wedge in rights of marriage, adoption of children, access to IVF, and eclessiological promotion.

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  9. Ironically, the post title "Eight Bullets" is also the title of a memoir by the surviving member of a lesbian couple attacked and shot by some homophobic murderer 10 - 15 years ago or so (before Matt Shepard).

    NancyP

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  10. Brian F. , we have heard from the "ex-gays" (or other names for this category) and the "orthodox" for years and years, without any sign that the orthodox are listening to ex-ex-gays and gay Christians.

    Any socially subordinate group knows more about the dominant group than the dominant group knows about the subordinate group. (Racism, sexism, etc-ism 101)

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