Saturday, July 30, 2005

Episcopal lawsuits

A little canonical action to keep things interesting.

BOSTON (Reuters) - Nine U.S. Episcopal bishops plan to sue the bishop of Connecticut in religious court, a church spokesman said on Thursday, over the bishop's support for the church's first openly gay bishop.

Connecticut Bishop Andrew Smith has suspended one priest and threatened five others who object to his support of Rev. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. The priests had asked to be put under the leadership of another bishop, a step the church says it cannot take.

Now Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan and eight others from mostly Southern and Midwestern states say they are preparing a suit charging Smith with "conduct unbecoming of a bishop" of the Episcopal Church.

"We are all praying for a peaceful resolution to this," said Frank Peter, a spokesman for Duncan.

In 2003 Smith voted in favor of Robinson's ordination, which has greatly divided the 77-million-member worldwide Anglican Church. He also has approved of the blessing of same-sex unions.

"We would prefer to find some way other than this deepening battle, but we refuse to allow this recent aggression to go unchecked or unchallenged," the nine clerics wrote in an open letter to Smith.

Bishops from Kansas, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, Texas and South Carolina signed the letter. They pledged to raise legal and financial support for the six Connecticut parishes at the center of the dispute.

In a letter posted on his Web site, Smith said the demands of the six priests to be placed under the authority of a different bishop "far exceed ... what the Church can offer."

Going against thousands of years of Christian tradition, going against dogma, and lying to the Lambeth Conference, that ECUSA can do. But priests being under the authority of a bishop besides the local ordinary . . . well clearly that's bizarre and unacceptable.

I'm confused.

Thanks to CWNews for the link.

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