The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, is a gracious man--one who is unlikely to shoot the messenger who brings him bad news. Nevertheless, I would hate to be the correspondence secretary who has to bring him dispatches from around the Anglican Communion tomorrow morning.
It is 3:00 a.m. in London, and moments ago the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops passed Resolution D025, a resolution that effectively removes the moratorium against the consecration of non-celibate gay and lesbian bishops in the Episcopal Church. During the discussion one bishop voiced the opinion that this resolution did not end the moratorium, it would take the actual election and consecration of a gay or lesbian bishop to end the moratorium, and the Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, said that that was her understanding as well. But, effectively, this resolution makes it clear that there is no longer any desire on the part of the Episcopal Church to refrain from doing so.
This decision by the Bishops (99 in favor, 45 opposed, with two abstentions) came despite the fact that Bishop William Love of Albany read a quotation from the Archbishop of Canterbury urging the American Church not to take this step. Another bishop, John Howe of Central Florida, read a letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury to the church in Sweden urging them not to take similar steps to ordain non-celibate homosexual bishops. Many orthodox bishops spoke courageously and well in opposition to this resolution; however the final tally indicates just how far the General Convention has moved since it last met in 2006.
Since the House of Bishops made a slight amendment to Resolution D025, the amended version will now have to go back to the House of Deputies for their approval. But, barring a miracle, final passage looks all but certain. Resolutions dealing with rites for same-sex marriages will come up for a vote later this week.