Cordial But Pointed (Update)
Robert P. Imbelli September 21, 2007 - 2:23pm
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.
Archbishop ofCanterbury Rowan Williams, in a last-ditch effort to avoid a schism inthe global Anglican Communion, spent seven hours yesterday holed up ina 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 theAmerican church solely by its decision four years ago to approve anopenly gay priest as bishop of New Hampshire.
The unusual conversation took place just daysbefore a Sept. 30 deadline, set by leaders of Anglican provinces aroundthe world, for the American church to back away from its support forgay rights or face some unspecified form of punishment. US bishopsspent yesterday morning telling the archbishop how they see the churchin the United States, and the archbishop spent the afternoon askingthem questions.
The meetings, which resume today, were closed toreporters, but participants described them as cordial but pointed.Williams was scheduled to meet with the bishops again this morning andthen to depart for Armenia; next week, the bishops were expected todecide whether they are willing to explicitly promise not to approveany more gay bishops or a blessing rite for same-sex couples, theactions 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 Episcopalbishops who have gathered here for their semiannual meeting. After thenews conference, and lunch, Williams departed for Armenia; he said thatnext week, after the bishops wrap up their meeting, he would review theresults before deciding how to proceed. But he said requests made at ameeting of primates, as Anglican leaders are called, in Dar es Salaamin February - that the bishops pledge not to consecrate any more gaybishops 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 ofa set of demands, and, indeed, intrusions and impositions," he said."We are, inevitably, in the business of compromise. What is brought upbefore us will be something that'll have to be scrutinized, thoughtabout, reflected on, digested, and it will take a bit of time."
Althoughhe said there is no ultimatum, Williams made it clear he will bewatching closely how the bishops respond to remarks he and othervisiting Anglican leaders made Thursday and yesterday in New Orleans.
The rest is here.
About the Author
Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is an associate professor of theology at Boston College.