News for Week Ending 11/16/2009
Women bishop saga takes another turnThe path to allowing women bishops in the Church of England took another unexpected turn November 13, 2009, when the Revision Committee, which is working out the details of how to implement the policy change, reversed its decision to make major concessions to opponents of ordaining women bishops. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) According to a November 14 press release, committee members could not agree on a plan to accommodate opponents of women bishops. This may result in simpler legislation that cannot be accused of giving women bishops second-class status. The committee has not yet finished its work, however, and conclusions about the ultimate enabling legislation can only be speculative.
Episcopal Church cool to Vatican offerBishop Christopher Epting, the Episcopal Church’s deputy to the Presiding Bishop for ecumenical and interreligious relations, has issued a statement in response to the Vatican’s Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) According to Epting’s November 16, 2009, statement, the Vatican action to accommodate groups of disaffected Anglicans who want to join the Roman Catholic Church “appears to be a unilateral action on the part of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which flies in the face of the slow, but steady progress made in the real ecumenical dialogue of over forty years.” Epting reaffirmed the Episcopal Church’s commitment to ecumenical dialogue, but he characterized the Vatican move as an invitation to “come home to Rome.” The full text of Epting’s statement in contained in the Episcopal News Service story here.
Washington bishop supports gay marriageIn a November 16, 2009, column, Bishop of Washington John Bryson Chane has made, according to the essay’s title, “A Christian case for same-sex marriage.” A bill to allow gay marriage in the District of Columbia is now before its Council and may be voted on before Christmas. Whether the bill becomes law, however, ultimately will depend on the Congress.
Chane argued that the Church’s view of marriage has changed over time and that Christian support for same-sex marriage is not a dramatic break with tradition. He chided the press for portraying opposition to gay marriage “as the only genuinely religious or Christian position,” and pointed out the the proposed legislation is secular legislation that does not compel clergy to perform same-sex marriages.
Chane’s support for the D.C. legislation is covered in an Episcopal News Service story here.