Pittsburgh Update

Pittsburgh Update publishes weekly summaries of recent developments in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, The Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Communion that affect or could affect Pittsburgh Episcopalians. Emphasis is on reporting, not interpretation. This is a service of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh. This site is in no way affiliated with the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh or the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh.

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Monday, January 7, 2013

News for Week Ending 1/7/2013

English bishops OK gay bishops

On January 4, 2013, the Church of England issued a statement declaring that “clergy in civil partnerships, and living in accordance with the teaching of the Church on human sexuality, can be considered as candidates for the episcopate.” The statement addresses a question not dealt with by the July 25, 2005, statement issued several months before the Civil Partnership Act took effect, namely, whether celibate clergy in registered partnerships can become bishops. The 2005 statement made it clear, however, that homosexuals desirous of ordination will be asked about their sexual activity, a requirement to which heterosexual candidates are not normally subject.

Reaction to the January 4 statement has been voluminous and often negative. Andrew Brown, writing for The Guardian, declared that it makes the church’s position more coherent. He also said, however, that “it is already clear that opposition to gay marriage is a lost cause for the Church of England.” Jerome Taylor, writing for The Independent, quoted one person suggesting that the statement will “finally divide the Anglican Communion completely” and another person asserting that the statement is “really another announcement of discrimination.” Anyone determined to explore fully reactions to the statement should follow the links on Thinking Anglicans here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Lawrence, et al., sue Episcopal Church

It was inevitable that the schism in the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina would lead to litigation. (See latest Pittsburgh Update story here.) It may surprise some that The Episcopal Church is not the first plaintiff to show up in court. According to Episcopal News Service, the group led by Mark Lawrence who broke from The Episcopal Church filed suit against the church in South Carolina’s First Judicial Circuit on January 4, 2013. The purpose of the action, according to what is being called “The Protestant Episcopal Church In The Diocese Of South Carolina,” is “to protect the Diocese’s real and personal property and that of its parishes” and “to prevent The Episcopal Church from infringing on the protected marks of the Diocese, including its seal and its historical names, and to prevent the church from assuming the Diocese’s identity, which was established long before The Episcopal Church’s creation.” (See the statement on the group’s Web site here.) The complete list of plaintiffs includes the names of 17 individual parishes in addition to “The Protestant Episcopal Church In The Diocese Of South Carolina” and “The Trustees of The Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina.” The ENS story cited above offers a good review of events leading up to the current litigation. As this is being written, the Episcopal Church diocese, which appears not to have been named as a defendant, has posted no comment on the litigation on its Web site.