An Encouraging Note on the Schedule to the Communique
On Clarifying the Response to Windsor
The Primates recognise the seriousness with which The Episcopal Church addressed the requests of the Windsor Report put to it by the Primates at their Dromantine Meeting. They value and accept the apology and the request for forgiveness made. While they appreciate the actions of the 75th General Convention which offer some affirmation of the Windsor Report and its recommendations, they deeply regret a lack of clarity about certain of those responses.
In particular, the Primates request, through the Presiding Bishop, that the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church 1. make an unequivocal common covenant that the bishops will not authorise any Rite of Blessing for same-sex unions in their dioceses or through General Convention (cf TWR, §143, 144);
and2. confirm that the passing of Resolution B033 of the 75th General Convention means that a candidate for episcopal orders living in a same-sex union shall not receive the necessary consent (cf TWR, §134);unless some new consensus on these matters emerges across the Communion (cf TWR, §134).
The Primates request that the answer of the House of Bishops is conveyed to the Primates by the Presiding Bishop by 30th September 2007.If the reassurances requested of the House of Bishops cannot in good conscience be given, the relationship between The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion as a whole remains damaged at best, and this has consequences for the full participation of the Church in the life of the Communion.
RWF: My inital thought on these paragraphs was that they didn't amount to much. I figured that the leaders of the Episcopal Left would simply endorse these statements before September 30th as requested in order to be declared "Windsor compliant" and then spin them to suit their purposes (i.e., we don't have formally approved written "rites" for same sex blessings in our diocese, so this doesn't really change current practice.)
However, some of the keen observers of the situation I spoke with tonight believe that the Episcopal Left is so committed to their ideas of "justice" that they simply cannot endorse these requests from the Primates under any circumstances, and they will pressure the House of Bishops to reject them. (See the first statements by Integrity and the Anglican Scotist.) If true, this surely would put TEC's rejection of the teaching and practice of the rest of the Communion beyond doubt. Then something meaningful might finally happen.
It is probably a long shot, but at least for tonight I retain a shred of hope that orthodox Anglicanism in North American will not limp away into oblivion. Of course, it all depends on whether the theological Left is committed enough to its principles to not play games with words and influential enough among the House of Bishops to get their way. We shall see in the next few months.