Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said Friday the U.S. Episcopal Church will not roll back its acceptance of homosexual marriage despite sanctions imposed this week by Anglican leaders.
In a phone interview from England, where he attended the gathering of top Anglican archbishops, Curry said he told his fellow leaders they should expect no change. The top Episcopal legislative body, called General Convention, last year voted overwhelmingly to authorize same-sex marriage ceremonies in church. In response, Anglican leaders Thursday stripped the Episcopal Church of any role in deciding doctrine or determining how the Anglican Communion operates for three years, effectively reducing the church to observer status in the 85 million-member global fellowship.
“They heard from me directly that that’s not something that we’re considering,” Curry said. “They basically understand we made our decision, and this is who we are, and we’re committed to being a house of prayer for all.”
In their statement from this week’s meeting, Anglican leaders called the Episcopal Church approval of gay marriage “a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching” of the majority of Anglicans. As a result, Episcopalians “no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies,” and could not vote or fully participate in Anglican committees, the leaders said.
The statement also included a condemnation of “homophobic prejudice and violence” and rejected criminalization of homosexuality, which has become common in African countries.
Anglicans, who trace their roots to the Church of England, are the third-largest grouping of Christians in the world, behind Roman Catholics and Orthodox.
The Anglican Church of Canada is scheduled to vote in July on a proposal that would change church law to allow same-sex marriage. If the change is approved, it would have to be reaffirmed at the church’s next legislative meeting, or General Synod, in three years. Archbishop Fred Hiltz, who attended the Canterbury gathering, said the penalty for the Episcopal Church will be a major consideration.
“Obviously, this whole thing will weigh pretty heavily on the minds of people going into the General Synod,” Hiltz said in an interview. “If we vote for a change in the canon on marriage there will be some consequence.”
SOURCE: The Associated Press