The Bishop of Pittsburgh, the Rt Rev Robert Duncan has said he will not appeal against the ruling, as bishops worldwide condemned the Episcopal Church of the manner of his deposition.
He said: “I’m very sad, sad for the Episcopal Church. In 15 days the diocese will determine whether it too wants to be part of the Southern Cone and figure out whether it wants me back as bishop. That is up to the diocese, although I have a sneaking suspicion they will want me back.”
“This is of course a very painful moment for Pittsburgh Episcopalians,” the president of the diocesan standing committee the Rev David Wilson said. “The leadership of the Episcopal Church has inserted itself in a most violent manner into the affairs and governance of our diocese.”
The Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Rev Peter Jensen, said: “The unfolding tragedy of the Episcopal Church starkly reveals the folly of the original decision to break with the Bible and centuries of historic Christianity on the issue of human sexuality.”
The Archbishop of Egypt, the Most Rev Mouneer Anis, said: “I don’t know what to call it, a tragedy or comedy, for the faithful to be disciplined by those who tear the fabric of our Anglican Communion.”
The struggle has been brought to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams. The Hon Assistant Bishop of Chester, the Rt Rev Colin F Bazley (a former Primate of the Southern Cone), has written an open letter asking Dr Williams to “take immediate action in suspending the Episcopal Church from any further participation in activities of the Anglican Communion and in calling a meeting of the Primates to give formal recognition to a new Province in North America.”
From England six bishops, the Rt Revs Nicholas Reade (Blackburn), Dr Peter Forster (Chester), John Hind (Chichester), Michael Langrish (Exeter), Dr Michael Nazir-Ali (Rochester) and Michael Scott-Joynt (Winchester) issued a statement saying they were “deeply saddened and shocked by the proposed deposition,” adding they “continue to believe that Bishop Bob is a bishop in the Church of God and a bishop in good standing in the Anglican Communion.”
Dr Williams has not yet responded. He hoped to avoid such a mess when he presided over a conciliatory Lambeth Conference and called for moratoria on same-sex blessings and cross-provincial interventions. Bishop Duncan had stubbornly acted in disregard to that plea, but the dubious actions of the Episcopal Church have now directed international sympathy to the renegade bishop. As recriminations on either side are threatened, and bishops nauseated from biting their tongues all summer begin to speak out, Dr Williams’ fragile peace appears doomed.
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