Thinking Anglicans

Presiding Bishop Curry partially restricts ministry of Bishop Love

Updated again Monday morning

The Office of Public Affairs of The Episcopal Church has today (Friday) issued the following statement: Presiding Bishop’s response to Bishop William Love’s November 10, 2018 Pastoral Letter and Directive.

The Episcopal News Service reports this under the headline Albany bishop is barred from punishing priests for same-sex marriages, faces disciplinary review.

ENS story updated on Sunday to include Bishop William Love’s response to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s actionsBishop will appeal restriction on punishing priests for same-sex marriages, challenge convention action:

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has temporarily restricted part of Diocese of Albany Bishop William Love’s ministry because of Love’s refusal to allow same-sex marriages even after General Convention mandated liturgical marriage equality in the church’s U.S. dioceses.

Love is “forbidden from participating in any matter regarding any member of the clergy that involves the issue of same-sex marriage,” Curry said in a document released Jan. 11. The restriction applies both to the Episcopal Church’s formal Title IV disciplinary process and to any action “that has or may have the effect of penalizing in any way any member of the clergy or laity or worshipping congregation of his diocese for their participation in the arrangements for or participation in a same-sex marriage in his diocese or elsewhere.”

The restriction appears to enable Episcopal Church clergy in the upstate New York diocese to solemnize the marriages of gay and lesbian couples, something Love steadfastly refused to allow…

The ENS report gives a detailed account of the developments leading up to today’s action, and is recommended for reading in full.

The full text of Bishop Curry’s statement is copied below the fold.

Update

Bishop Love has responded by issuing a letter to his diocese. You can read the text of that on the Albany diocesan website.

Bishop Curry’s statement

After broad consultation with leadership in The Episcopal Church and continued discussions with both the Rt. Rev. William Love of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany and the Episcopal Diocese of Albany Standing Committee, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has issued the following Restriction on Ministry to Bishop Love:

Office of the Presiding Bishop
Partial Restriction on the Ministry of a Bishop
The Rt. Rev. William H. Love, Bishop of Albany

In recent weeks, I have learned of and studied a Pastoral Letter and Pastoral Directive to his Diocese issued by Bishop Love of the Diocese of Albany on November 10, 2018, regarding the Church’s continued acceptance of the use of a trial rite for performing same-sex marriages in the Church pursuant to Resolution B012 of the General Convention in 2018. Copies of Bishop Love’s statement and Resolution B012 are available here and here. In that statement, Bishop Love articulates his belief that same-sex marriage is contrary to Scripture and the “official teaching” of this Church and as a consequence directs that same-sex marriages may not be performed by any canonically resident or licensed clergy of his Diocese, and requires full compliance with the Diocese of Albany’s Canon XVI, which forbids the same clergy from “officiat[ing] at,” “facilitat[ing],” or “participat[ing] in” such marriages; forbids the recognition of such marriages in that Diocese; and forbids the use of church property as the site of such marriages.

After discussions with Bishop Love, I released a statement in partial response on November 12, 2018, a copy of which is here. Representatives of my Office have since met with members of the Standing Committee and the Chancellor of the Diocese of Albany.

These documents and discussions form the basis of the temporary action that I now take regarding Bishop Love’s ministry as Bishop of Albany. While I am persuaded of the sincerity and good will of Bishop Love in these difficult circumstances, I am convinced that Resolution B012 was intended by the Convention to be mandatory and binding upon all our Dioceses, particularly in the light of its provision that a diocesan bishop “hold[ing] a theological position that does not embrace marriage for [such] couples” and confronted with a same-sex couple wishing to marry in that bishop’s diocese, “shall invite, as necessary, another bishop of this Church to provide pastoral support to the couple, the Member of the Clergy involved and the congregation or worshipping community in order to fulfill the intention of this resolution that all couples have convenient and reasonable local congregational access to these rites.” I am therefore persuaded that as Presiding Bishop I am called upon to take steps to ensure that same-sex marriage in The Episcopal Church is available to all persons to the same extent and under the same conditions in all Dioceses of the Church where same-sex marriage is civilly legal.

I am aware that Bishop Love’s conduct in this regard may constitute a canonical offense under Canon IV.4(1)(c) (“abide by the promises and vows made when ordained”) and Canon IV.4(1)(h)(9) (“any Conduct Unbecoming a Member of the Clergy”), and that conduct has been referred to the Rt. Rev. Todd Ousley, Bishop for Pastoral Development and Intake Officer for disciplinary matters involving bishops. Accordingly, in order to protect the integrity of the Church’s polity and disciplinary process and, thereby, the good order and welfare of the Church, and pursuant to Canons IV.7(3), (4), and IV.17(2), I hereby place the following partial restriction on the exercise of Bishop Love’s ministry:

  • During the period of this restriction, Bishop Love, acting individually, or as Bishop Diocesan, or in any other capacity, is forbidden from participating in any manner in the Church’s disciplinary process in the Diocese of Albany in any matter regarding any member of the clergy that involves the issue of same-sex marriage.
  • Nor shall he participate in any other matter that has or may have the effect of penalizing in any way any member of the clergy or laity or worshipping congregation of his Diocese for their participation in the arrangements for or participation in a same-sex marriage in his Diocese or elsewhere.

This restriction is effective immediately and shall continue until any Title IV matter pending against Bishop Love is resolved. In the meantime, I or my successor, should this matter continue after my term, shall review the continued necessity of this restriction from time to time and amend or lift it as appropriate.

This document shall be served upon Bishop Love today and hereby informs him of his right to have any objections to this restriction heard pursuant to Canon IV.7.


 

 

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Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

Good to see some clear governance in a constituent member of the Anglican Communion. The PB makes clear that Resolution B012 was intended by the Convention to be mandatory and binding upon all TEC dioceses. Bishop Love is afforded the opportunity to object under Canon IV.7. The Church of England is following this closely.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

And so it may well do! The Church of England has the same canonical provision to enforce synodical polity – if only it has the will to use it. This would help sort out any whiff of homophobia in the Oxford Diocese.

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

Whiff? It’s a decided pong.

crs
Guest
crs

+Love is appealing. The legality of a resolution is at issue. If TEC gets to the point where single convention resolutions are legally binding, TEC will be the General Convention Church of the USA, in which ‘bishops’ are area superintendents whose vows are now to General Convention triennial group-think.

crs
Guest
crs

Title IV is underway. I suspect he is done as a Bishop. Curry intimates the charges.

crs
Guest
crs

“Barred from punishing priests” — nice headline. There wasn’t a ghost of a chance of that.

“I am aware that Bishop Love’s conduct in this regard may constitute a canonical offense under Canon IV.4(1)(c) (“abide by the promises and vows made when ordained”) and Canon IV.4(1)(h)(9) (“any Conduct Unbecoming a Member of the Clergy”), and that conduct has been referred to the Rt. Rev. Todd Ousley, Bishop for Pastoral Development and Intake Officer for disciplinary matters involving bishops.”

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Good. Couples in the Diocese of Albany who want to get married in the Diocese of Albany may finally do so. And no one else need fear retaliation for participating in such a marriage.
Parliament, take note. This is how you make provision for LGBTI people who want to get married in church. You make it a nationally enforceable right, and you prevent bishops from violating this right.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Absolutely agree with you, Jeremy.

crs
Guest
crs

Retaliation? Are you kidding? Marriages were never going to be prohibited in Albany and no one in the Diocese imagined so, given TEC heavy artillery and a new General Convention Resolution Church of the USA. +Love did not believe resolutions had this force, but he will test it, and of course he will/must lose. But the idea he had the power to stop two people getting married in the Diocese of Albany is risible. Let’s not get carried away. First senior bishop disciplinary review was replaced by +Schori issuing defrocking edicts and now by a PB Archbishop idea aided by… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

As always, I do not understand you.
Are you saying that Bishop Love deliberately barred marriages while at the same time having no intention to follow through on his own edicts? Or are you saying that he blocked members of his own flock from marrying in church because he wanted to generate a test case?
How does either scenario comport with his duties toward Episcopalians in his diocese?
According to you, he seems willing to require people to “live in sin” so that he can act out a legal drama.
To me that seems the height of arrogance and selfishness.

crs
Guest
crs

The point may be too simple. Sometimes that confounds. No priest operating in TEC can expect to be disciplined for proceeding with a same-sex marriage after GC 2018. TEC has ruled. Re-read Curry’s “no exceptions” interpretation of what he believes BO12 accomplished. +Love cannot stop that. He does not want to be a part of it, and believes B012 amounts to an unacceptable redefinition of what it means for him to have been consecrated into TEC many years ago. But nothing he might rule locally would have any final effect. The few liberal parishes in his diocese have full cover… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Are you asserting that Bishop Love has no disciplinary authority over priests in his own diocese?
Or are you saying that Bishop Love had publicly announced (before this restriction) that he wouldn’t use that authority against priests who carried out same-sex marriages, even though he has forbidden this, and there’s a diocesan Canon that does as well?
Mind you, I’m interested in actual evidence – what Bishop Love has publicly said on this subject. Not in whatever “of course he didn’t mean it” message you are purporting to give out in his defence.

crs
Guest
crs

Answering your questions.

1. He has no disciplinary authority over priests in his diocese because TEC has eliminated this conception. General Convention rules over Bishops.

2. He believes he has authority, and he has claimed this, but this is in conflict with what TEC has become and so TEC will over rule.

This could be something that interests you in the CofE but your polity is not the same, and in many ways is sui generis. TEC is different.

crs
Guest
crs

I am saying that in the new TEC no disciplinary action against a priest doing a same-sex marriage would have any effect. +Love and Albany are being told what to do by the PB in the name of GC. B012 was rejected by Albany. The PB has said No to that. Title IV procedures against +Love are underway. I have now told you what the reality is several times.

Wm Bill Paul
Guest
Wm Bill Paul

Interesting that TEC invented, in my judgment, the category of “core” doctrine to let Walter Righter off the hook–even though his actions at the time went against the doctrine, discipline etc –but now s s marriage is essentially core doctrine, so much so that GC can use it as a wedge between a bishop and the role for which he was consecrated, namely, to teach following the NT, BCP understanding of marriage among other things. Nevermind also that *diversity* of opinion, perspective and practice was championed as justifying things that the left wing of our church was practicing and advocating,… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

I asked for actual evidence and you gave none.
Your paragraph 1 above isn’t even logical. You are conflating 2 separate issues and 2 different time periods.
I think you have told us a “reality” you want certain others to believe. I have some understanding of what bishops and diocesan canons mean, and I am not convinced. Far from it.
Very simply: Bishop Love tried to deny a sacrament to members of his own flock. That is inexcusable, and he is not getting away with it any more.

Richard Grand
Guest
Richard Grand

Thanks to Bishop Curry!

Cynthia Katsarelis
Guest

It’s a great step. It’s basically a restraining order, a “do no harm” until the process can be worked out. Love is perfectly welcome to be a priest in the church and exercise his conscience as a priest. He’s simply no longer being allowed to oppress LGBTQ+ people in his diocese. The Presiding Bishop’s letter is very interesting, “in recent weeks, I have learned of and studied a Pastoral Letter and Pastoral Directive to his Diocese…” Bishop Love didn’t bring this to the attention of the PB BEFORE sending it to his diocese? This is very telling about Love’s views… Read more »

Robert T. Dodd
Guest

Celebrating? Although many Diocese of Albany parishes, mine among them, would like to see +Love replaced by a progressive or centrist bishop, he has a large following in the diocese. The next Diocesan Convention promises to be contentious.

crs
Guest
crs

Thank you Robert Dodd for some on the ground insight. CK always speaks in extremes with +Love as Pope language. As you point out, the diocese is behind him in large measure and his standing committee altogether. Bishops operate in relation to annual conventions, canons, voting by diocese, standing committees, executive council, lay and clerical representation, and orderly procedures.

Cynthia Katsarelis
Guest

Well, my FaceBook friends from Albany were celebrating that they could move forward with marriages. So were some on an Episcopal LGBTQ+ FaceBook Group. It’s a pretty happy day when the barriers to your marriage are lifted. I was married within 8 weeks of having the restrictions lifted, that was cause for celebration!

Robert T. Dodd, Jr.
Guest

Congratulations, Cynthia! You’re by no means alone in applauding P.B. Curry’s firm stand, but at last look, the diocese was still heavily and vocally conservative. I hope we get a new bishop who is more interested in healing than demanding all of us line up behind him or her, but I’m sure he or she won’t please +Love’s many followers.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Next Bishop will need consents. Which probably will not be forthcoming for anyone seen as a potentially schismatic conservative.

crs
Guest
crs

Probably not?

You must be living in outer space, Monsieur Jeremy.

You let us know how hard your life is, within the CofE. Fair enough.

Rest assured, NO ONE WILL EVER BE A BISHOP IN TEC who does not tow the new line.

Fight your corner where you are. The battle you believe must be waged is over in TEC. Sleep well.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

I’m sure you are embarrassed at the plight of certain people in South Carolina. Have you apologised to them yet?
But thanks to the history there, there is no chance that someone like Bishop Love will receive consents. And that is all to the good.
Bishops are supposed to be shepherds of their flock. Love is obviously not that—he put his own views ahead of the requests by some of his flock that they be allowed to marry.
Where was the Good Shepherd in that?
Remember, the one who lays down his own theology for the sheep?

crs
Guest
crs

Do you know what you are talking about? The Orangeburg judge just got the local TEC attorney to admit the SC Supreme Court ruling was incoherent and without precedent. What plight are you talking about? And what embarrassment? The three churches near to my holiday home are thriving.

Having trouble staying on the topic?

crs
Guest
crs

His flock? The vast majority of the Diocese, including his Standing Committee, are solidly behind +Love.

Do you know how dioceses are organised in TEC? Incorporated, annual conventions, chancellors and standing committees, lay and clergy viting reps, canons.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Without an actual statistically valid survey of the parishes of Albany, it is impossible to say with certainty that the diocese is “solidly behind +Love.” What can be said is that percentage of the diocese ( and if it is like most, that is a minority) who vote for diocesan representatives is “solidly behind” him.

crs
Guest
crs

I prefer to let those in the diocese speak to that, and it is their view that I have given.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Yes, you do tend to purport to speak for other people.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

But that is precisely my point. Only a small number of the diocese are speaking, unless you have evidence that the percentage of Episcopalians voting in diocesan elections in Albany is far higher than it is in most jurisdictions. Even if it met the average participation in political elections, it would only reach about 40 percent.

crs
Guest
crs

The Living Church “Sources said they are not aware of any pending plans for a same-sex marriage in the Diocese of Albany, which includes about 120 churches and is one of six dioceses in New York.”

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

When the bishop has made plain he will not permit it, why in the world would any same sex couple make plans for such a ceremony?

crs
Guest
crs

From the views given very often by Ms Katsarelis, same sex couples are ready to go, are backed up, waiting and wrongly denied. No one in Albany could believe that the forces of TEC would allow a single diocese to defy B012. And they were right, as we can now see.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

So the PB acts on Friday, it’s now Tuesday, and you’re already saying it’s a tempest in a teapot?
Don’t worry. It takes a little while to talk through these things, but I’m confident that same-sex couples will soon seek to be married in the Albany diocese. It’s only a matter of time.

crs
Guest
crs

So what are the facts on this? Queues in Dallas and TN and CFL and Albany and Springfield for those vast swaths denied marriage and yearning for it? Or a handful?

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

So a “handful” of marriages delayed or prevented is a price worth paying, in your view?

crs
Guest
crs

You would be led to believe from LGBT+ advocates for altering marriage that hoards are being cruelly denied, have waited forever, are geographically trapped under little Popes (direct quote). When it is pointed out that the distance from Dallas to Ft Worth is a short drive and that NO ONE availed themselves of marrriage; and that when now in places like Albany NO ONE is presently asking for a marriage, EVEN after B012, even ‘handful’ might be stretching it.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Again, when the bishop has made firm his stance against same sex marriage, is it a surprise that there are no couples planning such ceremonies in his jurisdiction? It typically takes months–up to a year in some cases–to plan a wedding: making sure the church is available on the chosen date, finding a venue for the reception, ordering invitations, etc. Why would any couple in the Albany diocese begin such a process before they were sure it could be carried out? Look for a number of such weddings by the fall of this year in that diocese. As for Dallas… Read more »

Evan McWilliams
Guest
Evan McWilliams

As always, TEC resort to legislation to force people to follow a liberal agenda rather than convincing them through theological discussion and the bonds familial affection. No ‘good disagreement’ here, and an appalling precedent to apply in the CofE.

Simon Butler
Guest
Simon Butler

Surely the good disagreement was worked out when the allowance for dissension was agreed? What we have here is someone who refuses to work within what was thought to be a good way of allowing for conscience, and as a result a disciplinary process has followed? This isn’t imposing an agenda as much as following through the logical consequences of a decision. Imagine if a C of E bishop had refused to permit women to be ordained in his diocese and follow through the consequences of that…

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Evidently the “bonds [of] familial affection” weren’t enough for the Bishop in question to stop denying a sacrament to his flock.
As always, conservatives act without affection and then claim that others should do as they themselves do not.

Kate
Guest
Kate

So presumably you believe that the legislative triple lock, the slew of exemptions in the Equality Act 2010 and the lifestyle questioning of gay ordinands should be abolished ASAP so that liberals can be convinced through theological discussion rather than corralled by legislation?

Jo B
Guest
Jo B

If you actually read what is being done, all that is happening is that Bishop Love is being prevented from forcing others to follow his reactionary agenda. No-one is forced to conduct the marriage of a same-sex couple. TEC waited, and waited, and waited for Bishop Love and those like him to engage in anything except an insistence that everyone do what they wanted. Bishop Love had the opportunity to allow priests in Albany to act according to their own conscience in this matter (which seems to me to be essence of “good disagreement”) but he chose to try and… Read more »

Robert T. Dodd
Guest

This is ironic. During many years with Albany Via Media, I saw no evidence that +Love could go beyond dogma to reasoned theological discussion. On the other hand, TEC deliberated long and hard before reaching its conclusion on same sex marriage. That strikes me as a very worthy precedent for the CofE.

Cynthia Katsarelis
Guest

Evan McWilliams, you are very much mistaken about the use of “force” in TEC. The “force” was being exerted by Bishop Love and ++Curry put a stop to it. A priest can decide who to marry, or not, but a bishop no longer has the authority to force others to conform to his misguided theology. It is an excellent precedent, it allows everyone to follow their own conscience and disallows the use of force to oppress others. TEC spent years on the theology and our bonds of familial affection are deep, which is why we decided to stop the oppression… Read more »

Cynthia Katsarelis
Guest

Adding to what I said above re: Force. For 23 years, force prevented me from marrying my soul mate. Now, that oppressive force has been lifted in much of TEC, and no one is forced to be part of any marriage. Being forced to tolerate me and my wife is a completely different thing from exercising force to oppress and exclude. Just because great theological minds disagree with the conservative position doesn’t mean that TEC didn’t “do the theology.” We did it. Out the wazoo. CoE is at least 20 years behind us, as it was with WO and WB.… Read more »

Wm Bill Paul
Guest
Wm Bill Paul

Please let me know who the great theological minds are so that I can understand your position. I know Rowan Williams has not endorsed gay marriage (saying that s s marriage and civil unions were two different things and that marriage should be reserved for heterosexuals), admitted his work in The Body’s Grace was ‘exploratory’ and was fairly criticized, and that he criticized the US church precisely for taking decisions before the theology was put forth…. But this was some time ago that he said these things. To whom do you refer? Which thinker could I turn to get the… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Oh, please. From the TEC perspective Rowan Williams was a disaster. Including his attempts to interfere at General Convention.
His successors should take note and stop trying to control things that are none of their business.

crs
Guest
crs

Simple solution there. Chuck the role of the ABC of the CofE in anglican communion life.

Speaking as one of TEC–I believe you sought to scold those who speak for others, which you are doing now exhibit A–Rowan Williams was no disaster at all. A fine theologian, including his views on the estate of marriage, which was of course the topic as introduced.

Jill Armstead
Guest
Jill Armstead

Be careful what you wish for. Faithful Christians are leaving the Church of England as it continues to transform itself into a sect with its own interpretations of scripture and tradition. Not the faith of Jesus, however hard you may wrestle with the words of scripture to shape them into a meaning that satisfies conscience and lifestyle. The activists who are determined to have their way at whatever cost to the Church, do faithful LGBTI Anglicans, the faithful LGBTI people who are a cherished part of our communities, who share the faith of Jesus, a huge disservice.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

As the established church, the Church of England will likely soon be required to conduct same-sex marriages. Parliamentary tolerance of discrimination has its limits.

crs
Guest
crs

Oh good. A “church” told what to do by Parliament. The Church of England become what Thomas More and the Tractarians both feared.

Jo B
Guest
Jo B

It is indeed a sad state of affairs when the best hope for the church doing the right thing is to be forced to by the secular law.

Jill Armstead
Guest
Jill Armstead

I doubt it, but assuming you are right, equality law as it stands applies to all religions and mandatory marriage for same sex couples would not go down well across the board. All the while there is the option of civil marriage, it won’t happen. Even Corbyn who might interfere in matters Anglican without a second thought and remove all legal protections, would probably hesitate before demanding that imams marry same sex couples. Besides, look at the government owned church in China, in Germany during the Nazi era – do we really want that in this country?

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

The answer is disestablishment, not discrimination.
This is a perfectly logical and fair choice for Parliament to offer to the Church of England.
If the government Church wants to continue to discriminate, then it should be disestablished, and treated (as you suggest) like any other religion in the UK.

Jill Armstead
Guest
Jill Armstead

Bring it on, Jeremy! Clear the House of Lords of those pesky bishops and take politics out of Anglicanism. Restore the Faith of our Fathers!

crs
Guest
crs

Good, then we could be spared the “Great British Public” want this or that, which if it coincides with our own predilections, is to be desired and can be used to argue the CofE is out of touch. No more Christmas visitors who claim entitled to grouse about the national church not doing X or Y for them outside the faith. The disestablished reality could be a church operating like churches everywhere else. Also, the role of the ABC could be reconsidered vis-a-vis anglicanism worldwide. The Monarch could be defender of all faiths. Better now than have it happen anyway… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

Force of numbers and majorities have come up a lot in this thread. In my experience a sizable majority will always vote for and be seen to back the status quo in any circumstances, regardless of what that might be. If the status quo changes in Albany or the Church of England, I would expect a number to flip to back the new establishment position.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

This is a good point.
Many people want to align themselves with the winning side, or the person they perceive to be strong, or with what seems to be the majority.
But as you suggest, all these things can change—and do the people who give their allegiance on such bases change too? Of course they do.

Mark Brunson
Guest
Mark Brunson

As usual, if liberals hold to their rulings, it is “heavy-handed” and “of questionable legality,” while conservatives are always just “standing firm.” Do you really think conservatives can be reasoned with? Can you tell someone that insists that crushing your very soul is “love,” that they are not at all loving? Can you expect those who sacrifice nothing, while demanding you sacrifice a core part of your being are at all reasonable or interested in humankind?

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Indeed, they stand firm on the status quo, which often is simply path-dependent tradition, age-old injustice, or the effect of persistent disparities in wealth and power.
Of course those who have been given wealth, power, or status, often through no merit of their own, wish to retain it.

dr.primrose
Guest
dr.primrose

A couple of comments on the former situation concerning same-sex marriage in Dallas, Texas. There was a video concerning various gay and lesbian couples who were members of Episcopal churches there that came out before the 2018 General Convention. The various couples described their situation and what course of action they took in light of the Dallas ban on same-sex marriages in the church even though they all wanted to be married in their home churches in Dallas. https://vimeo.com/272496061 According to the video some couples went ahead to be married in other situations — taking “advantage” of the Fort Worth… Read more »