Sunday, October 17, 2004

Anglican Church to Ban Gay Bishops?

Church bans gay bishops
Oct 17, 2004

The Anglican Church will order its world leaders to sign an unbreakable
covenant forbidding the ordination of openly gay bishops, according to
British reports.

The covenant will be unveiled in a long-awaited report, in an effort to heal
a deep rift in the church over the issue of homosexuality.

The Church's 38 provinces would be made to sign a "unity agreement",
preventing the ordination of openly gay bishops such as Gene Robinson, who
was consecrated in the United States last year.

A spokesman for the Church declined to comment on the Times report, calling
it "speculation".

It's been reported a so-called "star chamber" court would be set up to judge
cases in which provinces were accused of breaking the pact.

Those found guilty would effectively be suspended. In extreme cases,
churches would be denied the right to claim they are "in communion" with the
church's spiritual head, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the newspaper said.

It did not say whether the report would punish liberal US Anglicans, known
as Episcopalians, for ordaining Robinson or Canadian Anglicans who voted to
approve same-sex marriages.

Both moves flouted official church policy and drew howls of protest from
conservatives in North America, Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Conservatives have called upon the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams,
to punish the liberals, while the liberals say they are simply reflecting
the wishes of their parishioners.

The report is also expected to propose a system of "alternative episcopal
oversight" for conservative North American parishes unable to accept
same-sex marriage or Robinson's ordination.

It said the US church would be disciplined only if it refuses to allow
parishes to pursue alternative oversight.

Several conservative parishes in the United States have already turned their
backs on their liberal brethren by placing themselves under the jurisdiction
of traditionally-minded Anglican churches in Africa.