There seems to be a good bit of reaction already to statements and decisions coming out of our recently completed House of Bishops meeting. A summary of those actions can be found in prior posts…and on www.episcopalchurch.org through the releases over Episcopal News Service.
What we did NOT do was to foreclose discussion on the Episcopal Church’s response to the main requests of the Primates’ Communique. We have not “ruled” on whether or not to reassure the Primates that General Convention meant what it said when it asked us and our Standing Committees not to give consent to any bishop-elect whose manner of life might prove of concern to the wider Anglican Communion and to clarify for them the status of the blessing of same-sex relationships in this church.
That is not our decision alone, and the Executive Council has already set into motion a study and consultation process which will continue through the summer. Similarly, the House of Bishops Theology Committee is at work on a study document to assist in this process.
As to the proposed “Pastoral Council” and its relationship to any “Primatial Vicar” the Presiding Bishop might appoint, we believe it is unconstitutional, uncanonical, and of potentially great threat to the Episcopal Church. We have said so and urged Executive Council (our highest legislative body between General Convention) to decline to participate in it.
We had to make our mind known on this because the appointment process to the proposed “Pastoral Council” is already underway and our Presiding Bishop needed some kind of guidance as to whether or not to appoint the minority of members the Episcopal Church is supposed to provide to this novel and quite unnecessary proposed body.
What the Episcopal Church’s bishops did not do is claim some kind of prelacy like the Primates have done, and to act in a high handed manner not permissable under the polity of either the Episcopal Church or the Anglican Communion.