'No Ultimatum' for Episcopalians, Says Anglican Head
Today's Top Five
1. Rowan Williams seems to give Episcopal Church a pass
There will be news today out of New Orleans, where Episcopal bishops are working on a statement responding to something.
"Anglican leaders set a Sept. 30 deadline for the Americans to pledge unequivocally not to consecrate another gay bishop or approve an official prayer service for same-gender couples," says the Associated Press.
Not so fast, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said at a press conference. "Despite what has been claimed, there is no 'ultimatum' involved. The Primates asked for a response by September 30 simply because we were aware that this was the meeting of the House likely to be formulating such a response."
Really? Sure sounded like an ultimatum back in February. That's why we headlined our story "Global Ultimatum,"and The New York Times headlined its story "Many Episcopalians wary, some defiant after ultimatum by Anglicans."
Here's the relevant part of the February document:
In particular, the Primates request, through the Presiding Bishop, that the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church 1. make an unequivocal common covenant that the bishops will not authorise any Rite of Blessing for same-sex unions in their dioceses or through General Convention; and 2. confirm that the passing of Resolution B033 of the 75th General Convention means that a candidate for episcopal orders living in a same-sex union shall not receive the necessary consent; unless some new consensus on these matters emerges across the Communion.
The Primates request that the answer of the House of Bishops is conveyed to the Primates by the Presiding Bishop by 30th September 2007.
If the reassurances requested of the House of Bishops cannot in good conscience be given, the relationship between The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion as a whole remains damaged at best, and this has consequences for the full participation of the Church in the life of the Communion.
"You know, if that works for you. If not, that's cool," the document does not then add.
2. IRS drops investigation into All Saints anti-war speech
"Our examination of your activities concluded that your organization continues to qualify for exemption from Federal Income Tax," the Internal Revenue Service wrote to All Saints Church in Pasadena, California. The church had been under examination for an October 31, 2004, anti-war sermon. The church is "pleased that the IRS exam is over," pastor J. Edwin Bacon told the congregation Sunday, but he's upset about this section of the IRS letter:
"Based on the existing record, the Church's actions lead us to the conclusion that the Church intervened in the 2004 Presidential election campaign. We note that this appears to be a one-time occurrence and that you have policies in place to ensure that the Church complies with the prohibition against intervention in campaigns for public office."
But since the letter doesn't say what in the sermon constituted intervention into the campaign, the church has "no more guidance about the IRS rules now than when we started this process over two long years ago," Bacon said.
The IRS's rhetoric "requires a crazy reading of the actual text of the sermon, and calls into serious question what the IRS is up to and who is directing its bureaucrats to so opine," an editorial in the Pasadena Star-News said. "All the IRS or anyone else has to do is go to the sermon, available for all to read on the church's Web site, to see that absolutely no endorsement was made."
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