Episcopal Panel Advises Caution on Gay Bishops

Religion News Service
Saturday, April 8, 2006

As Episcopalians in San Francisco consider two gay men and a lesbian among others to serve as their next bishop, a special churchwide panel is urging "very considerable caution" before electing another gay bishop.

A 14-member panel declined yesterday to recommend an outright ban on gay bishops but said dioceses should proceed with caution when choosing bishops whose "manner of life presents a challenge" to the wider church.

The go-slow approach recommended by the panel is not a red light urging no action, or a green light that gives approval for actions that would likely split the church, panel members say. In many ways, the panel's cautionary thrust reflects the nervousness and indecision of the larger church.

"No one is attempting to do a once-and-for-all solution," said the Rev. Ian Douglas, co-chairman of the panel and a professor at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass. "It's not a simple up-or-down."

The panel issued 11 resolutions that will be considered by the church's convention in June, including one that urges U.S. bishops not to authorize blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples.

The Special Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion was formed last November to help the church navigate the controversy surrounding the election of the openly gay Bishop V. Gene Robinson in 2003.

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