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The Sinister Intrusion of Same Sex Marriage into Orthodox Episcopal Dioceses

The Sinister Intrusion of Same Sex Marriage into Orthodox Episcopal Dioceses
B012 resolution passed at GC79 allows a priest to override his bishop
Albany Bishop could face inhibition and deposition if he refuses to allow priests' demands to perform homosexual marriages

By David W. Virtue DD
www.virtueonline.org
July 27, 2018

Will you be loyal to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them? And will you, in accordance with the canons of this Church, obey your bishop and other ministers who may have authority over you and your work? -- Book of Common Prayer 1979

Not anymore. The passage of B012 at the Episcopal Church's recent general convention in Austin, Texas changed that forever.

Here is how the resolution reads: Resolved, That under the canonical direction of the Rector or Member of the Clergy in charge and where permitted to do so by civil law, provision will be made for all couples desiring to use these marriage liturgies in their local congregation or worshipping community, provided that nothing in this Resolve narrows the authority of the Rector or Priest-in-Charge (Canon III.9.6(a)); and be it further Resolved, That in dioceses where the bishop exercising ecclesiastical authority (or, where applicable, ecclesiastical supervision) holds a theological position that does not embrace marriage for same-sex couples, and there is a desire to use such rites by same-sex couples in a congregation or worshipping community, the bishop exercising ecclesiastical authority (or ecclesiastical supervision) shall invite, as necessary, another bishop of this Church to provide pastoral support to the couple, the Member of the Clergy involved and the congregation or worshipping community in order to fulfill the intention of this resolution that all couples have convenient and reasonable local congregational access to these rites;...

Now, if a progressive priest in an orthodox diocese wants to perform a same sex marriage he does not need to seek permission from his own bishop, he can override him and call up a bishop from a nearby liberal diocese and invite him in to provide oversight for SSM.

This makes a complete mockery of one's ordination vows, not only of the priest but also of the bishop.

Of all the Communion Partner bishops, Albany Episcopal Bishop William Love is the most faithful to scripture and the gospel. He now faces a dilemma so severe to his vows that he is calling a special convention of his clergy to weigh his and his diocese's options, perhaps even its future. It will not be a happy convention.

He knows that by allowing such a marriage to be performed, he is allowing sexual sin to be openly embraced in his diocese. This is an act that violates not only his conscience, but 2000 years of church history and, most importantly, holy scripture.

This is not an easy call for a committed evangelical catholic who knows and loves the Lord and wants to see his diocese grow with evangelical fervor and biblically based discipleship. Bishop William Love is a man with a biblical conscience and he and his diocese face an agonizing decision.

He is being asked to violate the very vows he took first as a deacon, then as a priest and finally as a bishop.

Here is what he wrote to his diocese, "What is being called for in B012, not only goes against the Marriage Canons of the Diocese of Albany, but also attempts to severely limit the bishop's role and ministry as chief pastor, priest and teacher of all the people and parishes entrusted to his or her care regarding the sacrament of marriage. More importantly, it goes against my understanding of what God has revealed through Holy Scripture and over 2000 years of Church teaching about marriage." You can read his full statement here: http://www.virtueonline.org/message-bishop-love-concerning-79th-general-convention

He went on to say that he will hold a special clergy day Sept. 6 for a discussion on the issue.

In a minority report put out by the eight Communion Partner bishops, Love signed off on this: "B012 has also provided (at §8) a structure that, in the face of our profound differences in teaching over marriage, **preserves the role of bishops** as chief teachers, pastors, and liturgical officers by allowing us to call upon the ministry of other bishops of the Episcopal Church, in exercising supplemental episcopal pastoral care in those congregations of our dioceses that desire to use these liturgies and seek this form of oversight. This creates a helpful space of differentiation, set within the wider communion of baptism and faith that we continue to share, however imperfectly."

If Bishop Love sticks to his guns and says he will not allow some four progressive parishes in his diocese (that already have DEPO) and who choose (demand) that they be allowed to perform homosexual marriages, what are his options.

1. He can cave in and allow homosexual marriages to go forward. If he does so, he violates his conscience, but perhaps his diocese will stick with him anyway. Maybe.
2. But what if a majority of his orthodox priests dissent and demand that he not cave in, what then? Will they force his hand to leave?
3. If he refuses those progressive parishes their demand to perform homosexual marriages, what will they do? Will they bring him up on charges to the Presiding Bishop and the Office of Pastoral Development and begin the disciplinary process as called for in Title IV.6.3-4 of the canons of the Episcopal Church. If they do, based on history the outcome will not be good for Bishop Love. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry could temporarily relieve Love of his position while the Church examines the situation. That could take months and a temporary bishop would undoubtedly be a liberal and unacceptable to most of the diocese.
4. Bishop Love could begin the process of pulling his diocese out of TEC and join the ACNA. This is unlikely as the diocese doesn't have the money to fight a protracted war over properties. (One possibility is that a moderate replacement bishop could invoke the 'Pittsburgh option' and make financial settlements with each parish so they can remain in their parishes. Even liberal bishops don't want a lot of empty parishes they can't maintain.)
5. The clergy could force the bishop's hand and demand he leave and take whatever parishes want to leave with him, but this is a minefield fraught with ecclesiastical danger.
6. Bishop Love could go into voluntary retirement. However, that would leave the diocese vulnerable to a liberal being foisted upon them by the Presiding Bishop. In Northern Indiana after the evangelical Bishop Ed Little retired, they got a liberal bishop. This is not a good prospect or outcome for Albany, which is mostly Anglo-Catholic.

Whatever happens on Sept. 6, the future does not bode well for this godly bishop who has fought long and hard to maintain 'the faith once for all delivered to the saints.' The diocese is being asked to pray.

END

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