The American Episcopal Church leader whose ordination of an openly gay bishop caused a huge rift in the Anglican Communion said in an interview broadcast Sunday that he would likely act the same way if the same situation arose again. But Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, head of the U.S. Episcopal Church, said he regretted the pain caused by the consecration of V. Gene Robinson--who is living openly with a male partner--as bishop of New Hampshire.
The Anglican hierarchy last week called for apologies from the Episcopal Church and from conservative African bishops who were outraged by Robinson's ordination. It urged a long-term process of reconciliation and defining the relationship among the world's Anglican churches. "There's a distinction between an action that one might feel is integrally right and acknowledging the difficult consequences that might have in other parts of the world," Griswold told British Broadcasting Corp. TV. "And so I
deeply regret the pain and upset that our action has caused in other parts of the world, though I think the action itself was arrived at through prayer and through the process by which we elect and confirm bishops."
Asked if he would act the same way if the same situation arose again, Griswold replied, "I think I would attend to the way in which the community makes it decision, and if that were prayerfully done, I think I probably would again preside at an ordination." However, he said he believed any confirmation process "would be guided now by the greater sensitivities that we would all have to how other people feel in
other parts of the communion."
Griswold said he hoped the worldwide Anglican Communion would switch its focus from the issue of gay clergy. "If we turned our attention away somewhat from sexuality and focused more properly on poverty, disease, civil war in various parts of the world, starvation...I think that is where possibly we can find a new sense of unity in mission," he said.