episcopal same-sex marriage

Episcopal Presiding Bishop Restricts Albany Bishop in Gay Marriage Dispute

on January 11, 2019

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry placed a restriction today on the ministry of a leading traditionalist bishop and has begun a disciplinary process after the bishop declined to permit same-sex marriages in his diocese.

Bishop William (Bill) Love of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany, New York, issued an eight-page letter read aloud to local parishes following services on Sunday, November 11. Love directed clergy resident, licensed, or canonically resident in the diocese (serving elsewhere) not to use trial rites solemnizing marriages between persons of the same sex.

Access to those rites was originally at the discretion of diocesan bishops, but the 2018 General Convention held in Austin, Texas passed a resolution (B012) mandating that it be available for use across all dioceses where civil law permits same-sex marriage.

Curry’s restriction upon Bishop Love, announced in a January 11 post and made available by the Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs, forbids Love from disciplining Albany clergy who participate in same-sex weddings or “involves the issue of same-sex marriage”. But it also begins a process under the denomination’s disciplinary Canon IV that may result in further action against the leader of the Albany diocese.

After meeting with the Standing Committee and Chancellor of the Diocese of Albany, Curry wrote:

“While I am persuaded of the sincerity and good will of Bishop Love in these difficult circumstances, I am convinced that Resolution B012 was intended by the Convention to be mandatory and binding upon all our Dioceses, particularly in the light of its provision that a diocesan bishop ‘hold[ing] a theological position that does not embrace marriage for [such] couples’ and confronted with a same-sex couple wishing to marry in that bishop’s diocese, ‘shall invite, as necessary, another bishop of this Church to provide pastoral support to the couple, the Member of the Clergy involved and the congregation or worshipping community in order to fulfill the intention of this resolution that all couples have convenient and reasonable local congregational access to these rites.’  I am therefore persuaded that as Presiding Bishop I am called upon to take steps to ensure that same-sex marriage in The Episcopal Church is available to all persons to the same extent and under the same conditions in all Dioceses of the Church where same-sex marriage is civilly legal.”

The top Episcopal Church official goes on to explain the discipline process:

“I am aware that Bishop Love’s conduct in this regard may constitute a canonical offense under Canon IV.4(1)(c) (“abide by the promises and vows made when ordained”) and Canon IV.4(1)(h)(9) (“any Conduct Unbecoming a Member of the Clergy”), and that conduct has been referred to the Rt. Rev. Todd Ousley, Bishop for Pastoral Development and Intake Officer for disciplinary matters involving bishops.”

Bishop Love insists that he cannot in good conscience implement a policy that will lead people astray.

“With the passage of B012, the 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church in effect is attempting to order me as a Bishop in God’s holy Church, to compromise ‘the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints’ (Jude 3 ESV), and to turn my back on the vows I have made to God and His People, in order to accommodate The Episcopal Church’s ‘new’ understanding of Christian marriage as no longer being ‘a solemn and public covenant between a man and a woman in the presence of God’ as proclaimed in the rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer (BCP 422), but now allowing for the marriage of same-sex couples,” Love wrote in his November pastoral letter.

LGBT activists within the Episcopal Church earlier this week raised concerns about another diocesan bishop, John Bauerschmidt of Tennessee, for not yet issuing guidelines for same-sex church weddings. The policy passed at General Convention in July, Resolution B012, went into effect across the denomination at the beginning of Advent, December 2, 2018.

Holly Meyer of the Nashville Tennessean reports that Bauerschmidt said in an email that his guidance on how the new measure will be carried out in his diocese is coming soon.

“The guidelines will be available later in January,” Bauerschmidt wrote. “I’ve been very clear since July 2018 that B012 will be implemented.”

Bauerschmidt’s Canon to the Ordinary, Andrew Petiprin, recently joined the Roman Catholic Church and the resulting change in top diocesan administrative staff may have factored into the delay in issuing guidance.

UPDATE [1/11/2019]: Bishop Love has written his diocese about the partial inhibition and his plans to appeal the disciplinary action. Hat tip to George Conger for sharing this letter on Scribd.

  1. Comment by Susan D White on January 11, 2019 at 5:15 pm

    My late husband, The Rev William R. White and I had basically had been forced to make the decision the leave TEC because of these and other actions – My home town is Austin, TX where I now reside, I am sorry to say this Convention was held here where this anti-scripture declaration has now forced our once beautiful Episcopal Church, dedicated to the Gospels becomes irrelevant to many and we much now search, as I must for Church who gladly and joyfully preaches The Word – sad and very scary for those now in Authority there.

  2. Comment by Ted Phillips on January 13, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    Homosexual marriage is an oxymoron as it cannot be consummated. Fellatio, Cunnilingus, and sodomy are forms of masturbation, not sexual intercourse. In addition, it is an unspeakable violence against the Church to demand we accept the “new” definitions of these words as if they had always been that way. To use a measure that was unanimously defeated to justify the criminal blackmail of the Bishop of Albany is the height od narcissistic arogance. Defaeted ? Yes – those who voted for this repudiation of Saint Paul took a vow to support and promote the teachings of the Church. As soon as they decided to vote for this blasphemous measure, they broke the contract that allowed them to have voting authority, thus it was unanimously defeated. This means all who voted for it resigned and should empty their desks and clear out by Monday. This “Presiding Bishop” has shown his incompetence even more so in his statements about “Islam”. The underlying, unverbalized goal of “Islam” is for all to buy into the hypnotic identity of “Mohammed” with all of his hatred for Jews, Christians, and commitment to kill all who do not submit – along with all his misogyny, antisocial narcissistic personality disorder, pedophilia, homosexuality, sex addiction, grandiosity, intimacy disfunction,etc – a perfect example of what abused children act out in adult life – and why all are in need of being saved from our ego fooling us into thinking it is us. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7xqpVnE3UU.) On the other hand, the goal of Jesus’ teachings is to shed our hypnotic identity, put our ego in its’ place, and, metaphorically, to find our best self in Him. This “Bishop” treats them as “brothers”. In supporting homosexual marriage, he has resigned his position and has no authority to act. He has excommunicated himself.

  3. Comment by ARCHBISHOP NICK ACRES OCR AWP D.D on May 8, 2020 at 11:56 pm

    So true a sin

  4. Comment by Susan D White on January 11, 2019 at 5:19 pm

    see above

  5. Comment by William on January 11, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    This is absolutely the first step of the UMC ‘one church plan to be voted on in February, make no mistake about that. To the delegates to that General Conference — is this the place that you want to take the United Methodist Church?

  6. Comment by Rev Randy on January 12, 2019 at 9:56 am

    … and, William, The Episcopal Church is solely U.S.-based. The UMC is worldwide. Should the “One Church Plan” pass, then when (yes, when, not if) the Church tries to force Annual Conferences in Africa to comply and allow gay marriage, literally blood will flow. ?

  7. Comment by Lee Cary on January 20, 2019 at 8:50 pm

    The UM Bishops in Africa are paid out of the same fund that pays all the other UMC Bishops. In secular circles – which is the model these days for some church leadership behavior – that’s called “leverage.” Just sayin’.

  8. Comment by Anonymous Lutheran on January 13, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    Neuhaus’s Law is proven once again: “Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed.” This is where all “compromise” with LGBT advocates leads. Compromise is always the first step to total compliance. Orthodox members of the UMC need to take notice.

  9. Comment by Gilbert Alphin on January 12, 2019 at 11:06 am

    “Let your yes be ‘Yes’ and your no be ‘No’ , all else is from the evil one”. Gospel of Matthew 5:37. I suppose the phrase ” The Devil is in the details” maybe scene in the official documentations related to this story. The pastor said “No, I’m not conducting this marriage” should have been a sufficient response. GA

  10. Comment by Larry on January 12, 2019 at 11:29 am

    What is at first optional, soon becomes mandatory.

  11. Comment by Dennis Crowley on January 12, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    FYI: Bishop Michael Curry will be in the Diocese of Central Florida on Feb. 1 conducting a Revival. So the good faithful orthodox hang in there no matter what, and we gunna renew this denomination- Central Florida Episcopalians have a chance to ask him face to face about this.

  12. Comment by ssleonard on January 12, 2019 at 4:52 pm

    Why don’t all of you “Orthodox” Episcopalians just convert to the Catholic faith? You ripe and complain about relativistic changes made to your doctrine, yet true doctrine is waiting for you in the Catholic Church. The Pope and bishops cannot change true doctrine at their personal discretion precisely because truth is never changing.

  13. Comment by John Smith on January 17, 2019 at 6:49 am

    Heresy, even if unchanging, is still heresy. Thus the RC sect is avoided.

  14. Comment by John Fisher on January 13, 2019 at 8:21 am

    There is a welcoming home for all Episcopalians in the Ordinariate. The Episcopal Church is in error and it is achieved through dominance of those who want their vices which are sins presented as virtues. They are salt that has lost its taste… They are blinded and think they decide what is right and wrong to suit their inclinations. What God wants is clear and superior to this and He calls all to be better through repudiating sin and trying!

  15. Comment by Jess Reeves on January 13, 2019 at 10:41 am

    To restrict or threaten to discipline a Bishop for following the clear warrant of Holy Scripture and Tradition is disgraceful. It is the bishops who advance, accept, or roll-over on this issue who should rather be questioned as to their breaking their ordination vows. It is cuckoo that a faithful priest or bishop should be referred for leadership unbecoming a Christian Bishop.

  16. Comment by Christopher Schaefer on January 13, 2019 at 3:39 pm

    This was a PRIMARY issue which led to the establishment of the Anglican Ordinariate, which is in full communion with Rome: https://ordinariate.net/about

  17. Comment by John Debrick on January 13, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    2357 homosexual acts..are..of grave depravity..and..intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

  18. Comment by Fr. Frank on January 13, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    Neuhaus’s Law: Wherever orthodoxy becomes optional it will eventually become proscribed.

  19. Comment by John Revelle on January 13, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    There are many TEC faithful who want their church back.

  20. Comment by Karl A Zeggert on January 13, 2019 at 9:26 pm

    There may be hope for the traditional Episcopal and Traditional Methodist to join forces to repel the wrong-minded non-Biblical Bishops, DSs and Clergy and form an Episcopal Methodist denomination. (Sound familiar

  21. Comment by S. Wiss on January 13, 2019 at 10:43 pm

    Neuhaus’s law: “Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed.”

  22. Comment by Mark Mills on January 14, 2019 at 7:53 am

    The presiding Bishop has chosen to serve the state rather than God.
    Despite the scandals the RCC is having to deal with, we still know what God commands, what He allows and what He forbids
    We will overcome the evils we are dealing with. I urge those whose churches are straying from our Lord to cross the Tiber and necome a part of the RCC family.

  23. Comment by Ian McDonald on January 14, 2019 at 7:59 am

    This is a sad commentary on the Episcopal Church’s Bishops and leadership in general. Bishop’s fighting with Bishop’s over not affirming sin.

  24. Comment by Luis Antonio Alvarez, OFS on January 14, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    As one Episcopal bishop, in Texas, told his priest who was converting to the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, said to him, “You are leaving me in a sinking ship.” The priest responded, “Bishop, you know where the life boats are located.” I pray that my Episcopal friends continue to follow the steps taken by Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, and come home to Rome. Cardinal Newman, in his Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, begun while an Anglican, could not overcome the immense amount of evidence that supported the claims of the Catholic Church and had to follow his conscience. And so the house of cards will continue to fall; It may take another 500 years, but it will fall. The Anglican/Episcopal church and other ecclesial communions, do not have claim to the promise of Jesus the Christ, “…upon this rock that I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matt 16. Not even the present evil scandal can cause the Church Jesus established to fall. Never. Because like Jesus the Catholic Church is both human and divine in her origin. So look into your hearts and reflect upon what the Lord has done, not what you wished He had done.

    Pax et Bonum!

  25. Comment by Rev. Canon James E Byrum on January 15, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    Our prayers will undergird Bishop Love’s beautiful defense of the faith once delivered to the saints. His witness will not win the political day, but it will win the hearts of the remaining faithful within the Episcopal Church. God does not ask that we be successful, only that we be faithful. Thank you Bishop Love! May our Lord strengthen you and hold you up against the onslaught of legalism that smacks of Pharisaic pride.

  26. Comment by George Ellis Mims on January 16, 2019 at 11:31 pm

    The priest in St. Joseph Antochian Orthodox Church, Houston is a Nashotah House grad. Marvelous Divine Worship (trad) led by clergy and excellent volunteer choir in English. Lots of young couples and children. I attend there almost always when not subbing. Also I attend the Ordinate Cathedral Our Lady of Walsingham frequently with excellent worship and Hymnal 1940. My only concern is Pope Francis who just might give Curry a run for it so to speak.

  27. Comment by CHRISTOPHER MARTEL on January 17, 2019 at 6:08 am

    My prayers and support to Bishop William (Bill) Love, he IS the moral one here, he IS the true practitioner of God’s word. Stand tall Bishop, an entire nation is rising right behind you.

  28. Comment by John Smith on January 17, 2019 at 6:46 am

    Welcome to the One Church Plan. Of course the OCP actually has a long history in the UMC. Look at what was done to the EUB after all the promises to “respect” differences.

  29. Comment by Pat Burney on February 2, 2019 at 5:58 pm

    This is an attempt on the part of the liberal bishops to take over the UMC and make the UMC church no longer a church based upon God’s word. Perversion of scripture and using their false interpretation to fit their own agenda will split the church or end the UMC as was founded by John Wesley. They know this and this is their real intent. They want their own Methodist church. Let them form their own new church but leave the UMC of John Wesley alone. God help us if the either of the two liberal options are passed.

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