lundi, juin 19, 2006
One small step for General Convention, one huge one for the Anglican Communion
I've been trying to sort out how I feel about the election of Katherine Jefferts Schori as the new Presiding bishop in the Episcopal Church. On a purely canonical level, this is no big deal. After all, the Episcopal Church has been ordaining woman (regularly) as priests for 30 years. Jefferts Schori's rise in the ranks has been quick, but that doesn't mean she is a bad choice for Presiding Bishop. The other side of the coin is that her election, at this juncture, feels like a huge poke in the eye to the rest of the Anglican Communion. Jefferts Schori is not only a woman, but she is a liberal icon in a denomination which, at the moment, seems to have more liberal icons than it needs. There were more moderate male candidates: the fact that Jefferts Schori was elected says something very important about the theological, social and ecclesiastical predilections of the majority of the delegates (although the vote to elect was 95-93, a close vote). It appears unlikely that the Episcopal Church will adopt a moratorium on the consecration of gay bishops, or express repentance for its action in approving Gene Robinson's consecration, or hold back from endorsing same-sex blessings. There is, in these contentious times, a real virtue in restraint, and it is one not practiced by those who see only the justice of their own cause. I am afraid, that , for moderates like me, the time is coming when I shall be forced to choose whether I am a member of the 77 million member Anglican Communion, or the 2.3 (and shrinking) million Episcopal Church. As an ordained woman, I dread having to make that choice. Dread it not only because of the mixed motives and self-righteousness of so many on the conservative side, but because right now I see only the rhetoric, and not the reality of reconciliation. We desperately need the canny wisdom of a Rowan Williams. Time will tell whether the bishop of Nevada is up to the job. It will also become clear, within a day or two, whether General Convention decides that the Episcopal Church is truly part of a family, or much happier on its own. After all, there is a certain clarity to separation. It may finally be that we have arrived at that point.