The Episcopal Church should apologize for stirring disunity but will not face serious sanctions for allowing an openly gay bishop, an Anglican church panel said in long-anticipated recommendations made Monday.
The panel's 92-page report, issued by Irish Archbishop Robin Eames, stopped short of calling for the U.S. church to be excommunicated, but said the decision breached "the proper constraints of the bonds of affection" with sister churches in the 77 million-member Anglican Communion.
In presenting the report in the crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral, Eames called for a moratorium on new gay bishops but said there is "no mechanism for the imposition of a discipline" after the U.S. church consecrated an openly gay priest, V. Gene Robinson, as bishop of New Hampshire.
For now, the report leaves the U.S. church in limbo as conservative dissidents mull their options. For its part, the American hierarchy emerged chastened but intact after the report failed to deliver the fatal blow anticipated by many conservatives.
The report's critique of the U.S. church was clear.
"By electing and confirming such a candidate in the face of the concerns expressed by the wider Communion, the Episcopal Church has caused deep offense to many faithful Anglican Christians both in its own church and in other parts of the Communion," the report said.
The report called on the U.S. church to "express its regret" for fracturing Anglican unity, and said the seven principal bishops who consecrated him including Episcopal Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold should reconsider their participation in the life of the Communion.
Beyond the moratorium on other gay bishops, the report did not call on Robinson to resign, a move that Robinson has rejected. A spokesman ...1