UK: Anglicans to halt gay bishop consecrations and same-sex blessings
by Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent
July 29, 2008
A new pastoral forum is to be set up to bring rebel provinces into line in the Anglican Communion.
The 650 bishops meeting at the Lambeth Conference in Kent debated proposals yesterday for a body headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, that would prevent any more consecrations of gay bishops or same-sex blessings.
The forum will also clamp down on "cross-border interventions" such as those where conservative bishops from Africa have consecrated bishops to pastor congregations in the United States.
The document says the forum is needed because repeated requests for moratoria on gay consecrations, same-sex blessings and cross-border interventions have not been heeded.
It says: "The failure to respond presents us with a situation where, if the three moratoria are not observed, the [Anglican] Communion is likely to fracture."
The document proposes the forum as a "key mechanism to achieve reconciliation".
The plan was drawn up by a group of bishops at the conference, who say in the document: "We believe that the pastoral forum should be empowered to act in the Anglican Communion in a rapid manner to emerging threats to its life."
It warns that a "proliferation" of ad hoc episcopal ministries such as those put in place by conservatives cannot be maintained. It calls for all existing ministries already set up to be placed "in trust" in order to be reconciled back into their original provinces.
The document says the moratoria asked for on a number of previous occasions are to be understood as "retrospective". The strong implication of this is that the openly-gay Bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson, must resign if the Anglican church is to survive as one body. However, this is not stated explicitly and conservatives criticised the document as lacking teeth.
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