A second Episcopal bishop has publicly
rejected gay resolutions approved by the Episcopal Church, saying
their approval “saddened” him.
Last week the church lifted a
three-year moratorium on the consecration of gay bishops and approved
giving bishops the discretion to bless gay unions, especially in
states where gay marriage or civil unions are legal. The church also
decided to begin creation of an official blessing for gay unions to
be considered at a later date.
Rev. John W. Howe, the bishop of the
Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida, is the second bishop to
publicly repudiate the gay resolutions.
“I want to say to you that I am
deeply saddened that these two resolutions have been passed, though I
am not at all surprised,” Howe said in a letter
posted on the diocese's website.
“So, we simply are not going to go
there,” Howe, who's been married 47 years, said, then added: “We
understand that the culture is changing, and that many believe
differently, but this is where the Diocese of Central Florida is.”
Last week, Bishop James Monte Stanton,
the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, said, “We will not
consent to the election of a bishop living in a same-sex
relationship, and we will not allow the blessings of same-sex
relationships,” and questioned whether the Episcopal Church – the
American branch of the Anglican Communion headed by the Church of
England – has the authority to decide on gay unions and clergy even
within its own denomination.
Monday, Rowan Williams, the head of the
Church of England and spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion,
warned of isolation from the mainstream Anglican Communion for
churches that accepted the gay resolutions.
In his first response since the
convention, Williams suggested a two-tier church where Episcopal
dioceses who do not repudiate the gay resolutions would be relegated
to a lesser unofficial role. He called this “two styles of being
Rev. Susan Russell, president of the
pro-gay Episcopal group Integrity
USA, said, “those 'outer darkness' threats are going to ring
more and more hollow until they fade away altogether,” in a
At the center of the controversy over
the gay resolutions is Rev. Gene Robinson, whose 2003 consecration as
bishop threatened to split the church. Robinson, 61, lives in Weare,
New Hampshire with his husband.
Howe and Stanton stopped short of
calling for an alliance with a group of mostly African conservative
churches who've broken away over the issue of gay clergy.