Premier Christianity has published the full text of a statement by bishops who are publicly dissenting from the statement issued by the House of Bishops on Monday. This is copied in full below the fold. For reactions to this letter, see the preceding TA article.
On Monday the House of Bishops reached a decisive point in the journey discerning how to proceed in relation to Living in Love and Faith. We have participated in good faith in attempts to find consensus but were unable to support the decisions taken on Monday. There was deep disagreement within the House. Sharing the profound concerns of many in the Church of England and in the wider Communion, with heavy hearts we find it necessary to dissent publicly from the decisions of the House.
We welcome the fact that the House recognised the need for General Synod to exercise its legitimate responsibilities in relation to liturgy and doctrine under Canon B2. However, the decision to commend the suite of prayers for use in public services bypasses those procedures and does not permit the General Synod to consider the full significance of the prayers. Nor can Synod determine whether the bishops have fulfilled their intention (supported in February) that the final form of the prayers should not be “indicative of a departure from the doctrine of the Church of England”. Indeed, legal and theological advice the House has received suggest clearly to us that the decisions of the House may fall short of this commitment.
We are also firmly of the view that we need to adhere to the commitment made to bring the Prayers of Love and Faith, the pastoral guidance and pastoral reassurance (including whatever formal structural provision is necessary) to Synod as a single package, rather than doing so in a piecemeal fashion. We are therefore unable to support the collective decisions made by the House which we believe fail to safeguard the pastoral stability, mission and unity of the Church.