WASHINGTON (CNS): An ecumenical spokesman for the US Catholic bishops said on August 11 that the US Episcopal Church’s recent decisions to confirm an openly gay bishop and recognise that some Episcopal communities bless same-sex unions present “new ecumenical challenges” to Catholic-Anglican relations.
Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, who is chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, said the Catholic Church remains committed “to prayerful and honest dialogue, however difficult”, despite those challenges.
He said the Episcopal decisions “reflect a departure from the common understanding of the meaning and purpose of human sexuality and the morality of homosexual activity as found in sacred Scripture and the Christian tradition”.
“As such, they have serious implications in the search for Christian unity and for the work of our bilateral Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue in the United States,” he said.
The Episcopal Church is the US branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
The Church’s triennial convention, held in Minneapolis in early August, confirmed the election of Canon V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, who in June had been elected by New Hampshire Episcopalians as bishop of their diocese.
The primate of the communion, Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, warned of a possible schism the day of the confirmation vote and urged Church leaders to “consider this development before significant and irrevocable decisions are made”.