6. Carey says Robinson should step down
DVirtue236 at AOL.COM
Mon Oct 20 22:08:36 EDT 2003
Anglican discord lamented
Former archbishop shares message at Charleston church
BY DAVE MUNDAY
Of The Post and Courier Staff
The honorable way to defuse the crisis over homosexual issues in the
worldwide Anglican Communion would be for the Rev. V. Gene Robinson, an
openly gay man, to step down before he's consecrated bishop of New
Hampshire on Nov. 2, the former archbishop of Canterbury told an
audience in Charleston on Sunday morning.
But now that Robinson has become a political symbol of gay rights, it's
doubtful he will change his mind, said the Rt. Rev. George Carey, a
longtime friend of Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina Bishop Ed
Carey, who is in Charleston leading a clergy retreat this week, spoke
at St. Michael's Episcopal Church on "What in the World is Happening in
the Anglican Communion?" and preached during the 10:30 worship service.
The Anglican Communion always has been known for diversity, held
together by a common liturgy while accepting a variety of theological
opinions, Carey said, but Scripture has always been recognized as the
While calling Robinson's approval "an ecumenical scandal" that caused
Muslims to cancel meetings with Episcopalians, Carey also lamented that
the homosexuality debate is diverting the church from more important
For example, in many countries, the biggest concerns of Anglican
Christians are surviving amid severe poverty and the threat of
persecution from those hostile to the Christian message, Carey said.
Robinson, who left his wife and lives with a male partner, was approved
as a bishop at the Episcopal Church's General Convention in August. He
is scheduled to be installed Nov. 2. A number of primates, or top
national leaders of the Anglican Communion, have said they can no
longer consider themselves in communion with the Episcopal Church if
Robinson is consecrated.
Robinson said Sunday he agonizes over the turmoil his election is
causing but believes God wants him to go forward.
"This is one of the hardest things I'll ever do," Robinson told about
40 people during religious education hour at Grace Church in
Manchester, N.H. "I do have this sense I'm supposed to go forward, and
I do feel that's coming from God and not my own ego. But I don't know."
Robinson, who was accompanied by a police officer Sunday, remains
optimistic about the future of the church, saying it has weathered
similar crises in the past.
Much of the Anglican Communion still does not recognize the ordination
of women, he said, and yet the Communion holds together.
Asked by one parishioner to explain what's behind the anger over his
election, Robinson said he believes it's a sign that patriarchy is
ending in the church as women, people of color and gays and lesbians
are more fully included.
The election of a gay man as bishop is a "threat to the way things have
been done, when white men have pretty much been in charge of
everything," he said.
"I don't want anyone to leave the church," he said, "and I don't like
being thought of as the reason they leave the church."
The bishops and standing committee of the Diocese of New Hampshire
issued a statement Friday indicating they plan to proceed with
"We reaffirm our belief that the Diocese of New Hampshire faithfully
and prayerfully considered and followed a Spirit-led process for the
election of our new bishop," they said.
Episcopal Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold has also given no indication
he plans to intervene in Robinson's consecration. "I do think what
binds us together is deeper than some of the things that divide us and
certainly the whole question of human sexuality, more particularly
homosexuality, is far from settled, and as we continue to struggle
together I think it's also important, as the archbishop (of Canterbury)
said, that we keep our focus on the mission we share because there is
so much in the world that cries out for our attention beyond issues of
human sexuality," Griswold said after the primates' meeting.
Carey said he hopes nobody will pull out of the Anglican Communion,
even if they disagree with Robinson's consecration. He reminded people
that the efficacy of the sacraments is not hindered by the unworthiness
of the priests, according to Anglican theology. The primates need to
continue to work together to come up with ways to discipline members
who step out of line, he said.
"I strongly resist a realignment of the communion," Carey said.
The primates met last week in London and issued a statement saying that
if Robinson is consecrated, some of them will no longer be able to
remain in communion with the Episcopal Church or with churches that
don't break fellowship with the Episcopal Church.
The primates called on the Most Rev. Rowan Williams to oversee a task
force to work out the mechanics of dealing with members who need
discipline and setting up a system of oversight for orthodox Anglicans
whose leaders have departed from the standards of the rest of the
communion. The task force is supposed to complete its work within a
Carey, a bishop of the Church of England, was archbishop of Canterbury,
the Anglican Communion's spiritual leader, during most of the 1990s and
was succeeded last year by Williams.
He was chairman of the 1998 meeting of the Anglican Communion's bishops
at Lambeth Palace that resulted in a resolution affirming homosexual
practice to be incompatible with Scripture.
The Associated Press contributed information for this report. Dave
Munday can be reached at 937-5720 or dmunday at postand courier.com.
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