A special commission of the worldwide Anglican Church called on leaders of its U.S. affiliate, the Episcopal Church, to express regret for consecrating a gay bishop and proposed a moratorium on further ordination of gays and the blessing of same-sex unions.

In a compromise report designed to heal a rift that has threatened to tear apart the Anglican Communion of 77 million worshippers, the panel did not call for the resignation of the bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, or for formal sanctions against the U.S. church. It faulted opponents of Robinson's consecration for seeking to set up "a parallel jurisdiction" within the worldwide church.

Within hours of the report's publication, Frank T. Griswold, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, issued a statement saying, "We regret how difficult and painful actions of our church have been in many provinces of our Communion, and the negative repercussions that have been felt by brother and sister Anglicans."

But Griswold, who presided over Robinson's consecration, stopped short of saying Robinson's ordination was wrong. He said he is "obliged to affirm the presence and positive contribution of gay and lesbian persons to every aspect of the life of our church and in all orders of ministry."

Citing Griswold's statement, Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, who opposes ordination of gays, said the report lacked the teeth to compel the American church to reverse itself. The commission's "terrible weakness," Duncan said in an interview, is that "it is more concerned about keeping the family together than it is about the truth of the Gospel. That is not going to fly very well among the orthodox who have stood against the innovations of the Episcopal Church."

-- Glenn Frankel

and Alan Cooperman

The Episcopal Church has issued a statement of regret over the consecration of Bishop V. Gene Robinson, who is openly gay.