Cordial But Pointed (Update)
Michael Paulson, writing in today’s Boston Globe, reports on the crucial talks being held in New Orleans between the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and the bishops of the Episcopal Church.
Canterbury Rowan Williams, in a last-ditch effort to avoid a schism in
the global Anglican Communion, spent seven hours yesterday holed up in
a posh New Orleans hotel with most of the nation’s Episcopal bishops,
many of whom tried to persuade him that it is a mistake to define the
American church solely by its decision four years ago to approve an
openly gay priest as bishop of New Hampshire.
The unusual conversation took place just days
before a Sept. 30 deadline, set by leaders of Anglican provinces around
the world, for the American church to back away from its support for
gay rights or face some unspecified form of punishment. US bishops
spent yesterday morning telling the archbishop how they see the church
in the United States, and the archbishop spent the afternoon asking
The meetings, which resume today, were closed to
reporters, but participants described them as cordial but pointed.
Williams was scheduled to meet with the bishops again this morning and
then to depart for Armenia; next week, the bishops were expected to
decide whether they are willing to explicitly promise not to approve
any more gay bishops or a blessing rite for same-sex couples, the
actions requested by the foreign Anglican leaders.
Williams leaves today, and the House of Bishops will meet until Tuesday; presumably to fashion a response to the Primates’ request. The continuing developments will be closely watched, both here and abroad.
The rest of the story is here.
Update: “In the business of compromise:”
Michael Paulson reports on Friday’s press conference of Archbishop Rowan Williams:
Williams, with the sleeves of his black clerical shirt rolled up,
spoke to the media after a day and a half of talks with 159 Episcopal
bishops who have gathered here for their semiannual meeting. After the
news conference, and lunch, Williams departed for Armenia; he said that
next week, after the bishops wrap up their meeting, he would review the
results before deciding how to proceed. But he said requests made at a
meeting of primates, as Anglican leaders are called, in Dar es Salaam
in February – that the bishops pledge not to consecrate any more gay
bishops and not to authorize a rite of blessing for same-sex unions -
were not set in stone.
“It’s been presented, sadly as a matter of
a set of demands, and, indeed, intrusions and impositions,” he said.
“We are, inevitably, in the business of compromise. What is brought up
before us will be something that’ll have to be scrutinized, thought
about, reflected on, digested, and it will take a bit of time.”
he said there is no ultimatum, Williams made it clear he will be
watching closely how the bishops respond to remarks he and other
visiting Anglican leaders made Thursday and yesterday in New Orleans.
The rest is here.