The US House of Bishops (less a number of conservative Bishops who refused to stay after the Archbishop of Canterbury left) has issued a statement from their meeting in New Orleans. They were seeking to respond to the Primates Communiqué from Tanzania earlier in the year. The meeting went on far longer than planned and the members of the Primates' Standing Committee, who had been present earlier on, had also left before the statement was issued.
The following summary is taken from the statement:
- We reconfirm that resolution B033 of General Convention 2006 (The Election Of Bishops) calls upon bishops with jurisdiction and Standing Committees "to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion."
- We pledge as a body not to authorize public rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.
- We commend our Presiding Bishop's plan for episcopal visitors.
- We deplore incursions into our jurisdictions by uninvited bishops and call for them to end.
- We support the Presiding Bishop in seeking communion-wide consultation in a manner that is in accord with our Constitution and Canons.
- We call for increasing implementation of the listening process across the Communion and for a report on its progress to Lambeth 2008.
- We support the Archbishop of Canterbury in his expressed desire to explore ways for the Bishop of New Hampshire to participate in the Lambeth Conference.
- We call for unequivocal and active commitment to the civil rights, safety, and dignity of gay and lesbian persons.
In some respects this is a positive move since it does show a willingness to try to satisfy the conditions laid down by the Primates. However, the problem is that at heart it changes nothing. Most of these Bishops are still committed to teach things that are contrary to Scripture (a fact which the Primates did not address) and they are determined to press ahead with their revisionist agenda. Although they have said they will not authorise services for same-sex unions, yet such services are happening in their Dioceses and nothing they have said will alter that. Their plan for episcopal visitors seems to fall a long way short of the sort of oversight the Primates envisaged and even further short of what many conservatives require. They clearly recognise nothing wrong in the fact that Gene Robinson is a Bishop and are merely biding their time.
All this is likely to mean that the whole unseemly mess continues without resolution. Moreover The Archbishop of Canterbury and the majority of the Primates' Standing Committee are in agreement with the US revisionists, so they are going to play along with the charade and interpret the words as favourably as possible.