Vatican-Anglican relationship experiences cracks

BY admin

December 03 2003 12:00 AM ET

Two months after Pope John Paul II warned of "serious difficulties" if the Episcopal Church went ahead with the ordination of an openly gay bishop, Catholic-Anglican relations are receiving the first jolts. The Vatican announced Tuesday that a meeting scheduled in Seattle in February to work on a common statement of faith between Catholics and Anglicans "would have to be put on hold" because of concerns raised by the ordination. It also said a new committee will be formed to "reflect jointly" on the
implications.

The Vatican announcement came days after the Most Reverend Frank Griswold, presiding bishop of the U.S. Episcopal Church and who consecrated Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire last month, resigned as cochair and member of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission. "I do so not without regret but in the interest of not jeopardizing the present and future life and work of the commission of which I was privileged to be a member," Griswold said in a letter released by the Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Church is the U.S. branch of the 77 million-member global Anglican Communion.

While the Vatican stressed that the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church "remain committed to continuing their dialogue" and that subcommittees would continue their work, it was clear that the ordination has broad implications among Christian denominations. The Russian Orthodox Church announced last month that it was suspending ties with the U.S. Episcopal Church, saying that homosexuality is a sin and that it "cannot condone the perversion of human nature."

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