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Episcopal Church USA suspended from Anglican communion

January 14, 2016

The Protestant Episcopal Church in the US has been suspended from the worldwide Anglican communion.

The primates of the Anglican world, meeting this week in Canterbury, England, voted to suspend the Episcopal Church for three years, because of its decision to approve same-sex unions. "The traditional doctrine of the church, in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds marriage as between a man and a woman in faithful, lifelong union," the prelates said. 

The decision to suspend the Episcopal Church was made in a January 14 vote, and leaked to the public in advance of a scheduled Friday press conference at which the move was to be announced.

The Episcopal Church was not expelled from the Anglican communion, but barred from voting in international gatherings for a three-year period. During that term, the leaders of the American branch are encouraged to reflect on their role.

The suspension illustrates the deep divisions within the worldwide Anglican communion, which have arisen primarily over issues involving human sexuality. African bishops, who preside over the most vigorous communities in the Anglican world, have strongly objected to the acceptance of homosexuality, and of female priests and bishops, in the English and American branches. These divisions were further dramatized when (according to a report in the Daily Telegraph), 15 of the 38 Anglican bishops participating in this week's meeting declined to participate in a joint prayer service. 

This week's meeting was called by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Justin Welby, in a bid to preserve the fractured unity of the Anglican communion. 


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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Jan. 16, 2016 5:53 AM ET USA

    The fruits of a false mode of sacrifice? Whatever the Anglican Eucharist is, it is not a valid form of sacrifice offered under the auspices of Apostolic succession. Thus even though God may be present through the workings of the Holy Ghost within the Anglican ecclesial community, He is not present in His "physical reality" (Pope Paul VI's Mysterium Fidei) in their consecrated species. This reality is what distinguishes Catholic and Orthodox tabernacles from those that are not Apostolic.

  • Posted by: jalsardl5053 - Jan. 14, 2016 9:36 PM ET USA

    Suspension is pretty light stuff given the cause for the division. And hurray for the African bishops who clearly show more adherence to Catholic Doctrine than many of their European counterparts.

  • Posted by: aclune9083 - Jan. 14, 2016 7:40 PM ET USA

    "And he [Gamaliel] said to them, "Men of Israel, take care what you do with these men....Judas the Galilean arose in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him; he also perished, and all who followed him were scattered. So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!" Acts 3-39.

  • Posted by: Gerry H - Jan. 14, 2016 6:33 PM ET USA

    zThis has not satisfied the conservative Anglicans, based on their response to it. And ECUSA is undoubtedly less than thrilled. It is unlikely ECUSA will do nothing for 3 years, then placidly seek reinstatement. As a journalist might say, more to follow.