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singing the improv Credo

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jan 13, 2009

In Colorado last Saturday, Episcopalian Bishop Robert O'Neill ordained Mary Catherine Volland, who is a "partnered lesbian." 

You won't find an announcement of the ordination on the diocesan web site. There are reports that the bishop wanted to keep things quiet, perhaps in light of the fact that the Lambeth Conference, struggling to hold together the warring factions of the Anglican communion, called for a moratorium on the ordination of homosexuals and lesbians.

Nevertheless the diocese put out a press release on the ordination. (Ordinarily people who are trying to avoid publicity don't send out press releases. But if you're trying to understand the Episcopal Church USA, get accustomed to contradiction.) The diocese announced:

Although there is a clearly range of opinion among clergy and lay people of the diocese about the ministry of partnered gay and lesbian clergy, one of
the gifts of Anglican Christianity is its tradition of holding widely divergent points of view in a context of orthodox Christian faith. 

Divergent views within the context of orthodox Christian faith. Wonderful. That's what St. Augustine endorsed, isn't it? But what constitutes orthodox Christian faith? And does it have limits? 

The question at issue here is whether acceptance of homosexual activities can be reconciled with orthodox Christianity. The Episcopal diocese of Colorado has evidently decided in the affirmative, despite the directive from Lambeth (not to mention the preceding 2,000 years of unified Christian practice and understanding). On what basis was this decision made? 

“The Diocese of Colorado is perhaps the most politically and theologically diverse diocese in the Episcopal Church,” says Bishop O’Neill.  Theological diversity is an odd goal. One imagines the recitation of the Creed in an Episcopalian parish, with each individual saying different things while the smiles benignly over his flock, listening with equal attention to all the conflicting professions of faith. 


Or maybe not quite equal attention. The diocese acknowledges a "range of opinion" among its own faithful on this issue. Some of Colorado's Episcopalians think that lesbians should be ordained. Some think not. Yet now a lesbian has been ordained; the question has been settled. Who settled it? 




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