Friday, September 21, 2007

HOB UPDATE: “Pastor Rowan”speaks

September 21, 2007, New Orleans
Press Conference
Rowan Williams Archbishop of Canterbury
Katharine Jefferts Schori Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church
Catherine Roskam Bishop Suffragan of New York
Duncan Gray Bishop of Mississippi
Charles Jenkins Bishop of Louisiana

I asked +Rowan what word of hope he had for the gay and lesbian baptized. He repeated assurances of the communion’s stated opposition to discrimination against gay and lesbian persons. I followed up and asked whether that opposition to discrimination applied to the world outside the church but not within the church.

He answered it was a matter of how people perceived a person’s “choice of a style of life” and how that affected what level of role that person was “eligible for” within the church. (‘Choice’ of a ‘lifestyle.’ Flashback to the 70s.) He also said we’re concerned with the appropriate limits of pastoral response to gay and lesbian people.

This press conference has been streamed live and is available online. There will be multiple reports across all media around the world. You can judge Rowan’s answers to my questions and those of others reporting for yourself. For me, I would say the Archbishop of Canterbury seems not to have figured out the limits on his own pastoral responsibilities to the gay and lesbian baptized. And he seems not to have found a way to bridge the discontinuity between a gospel that mandates equality outside the church but not within it.

Presiding Bishop Katharine closed by saying: “the work is not finished here.” Based on the red faces and nervous smiles of Bishops Gray, Jenkins and Roskam, she could say that again.

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