The bishops of the Episcopal Church formally apologized Jan. 13 for the “pain, hurt and damage” caused by the consecration of an openly gay bishop but stopped short of saying the action was wrong.
The bishops, after a two-day meeting in Salt Lake City, issued their first collective response to a high-level report released two months ago by the Anglican Communion that called on the U.S. church to apologize.
“Knowing that our actions have contributed to the current strains in our Communion, we express this regret as a sign of our deep desire for and commitment to continuation of our partnership in the Anglican Communion,” the bishops said.
The statement signals that the U.S. church remains defiant in its support for the 2003 election of openly gay Bishop V. Gene Robinson in New Hampshire, and remains cool to the idea of a moratorium on other gay bishops or an outright ban on the blessing of same-sex unions.
The church's top officer, Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, declined to offer a stronger apology or answer his critics' call to “repent” of his support of Robinson. “It's very difficult to apologize for an action when those who took part in it believe it was under the leading of the Holy Spirit,” he said in a phone interview.
The Episcopal Church, as the U.S. branch of the 77 million-member Anglican Communion, has been harshly criticized by other Anglican churches and American traditionalists for its support of Robinson.
At the same time, a group of 21 conservative bishops issued a dissent, urging the church toward a more sincere apology and a promise not to make any more decisions that aren't “fully compatible with the interests, standards, unity and good order” of the global church.
Religion News Service