When the bishops of the Episcopal Church USA voted to confirm V. Gene Robinson, an openly homosexual priest, as bishop, the leader of the worldwide Anglican Church (to which the Episcopal Church belongs) demonstrated the British penchant for understatement by predicting "difficult days ahead."

"The General Convention's decision to approve the appointment of Gene Robinson will inevitably have a significant impact on the Anglican Communion throughout the world, and it is too early to say what the result of that will be," Rowan Williams said. "It is my hope that the church in America and the rest of the Anglican Communion will have the opportunity to consider this development before significant and irrevocable decisions are made in response. I have said before that we need as a church to be very careful about making decisions for our own part of the world which constrain the church elsewhere. It will be vital to ensure that the concerns and needs of those across the Communion who are gravely concerned at this development can be heard, understood, and taken into account."

Already, orthodox voices both inside the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion are making their opposition known.

Yesterday, the Associated Press reports, "a handful of the more than 800 clergy and lay delegates either walked off the floor of the meeting or collectively stayed away, while at least three of the nearly 300 bishops refused to participate or went home, saying their distraught parishioners needed them."

Other Episcopalians opposed to homosexual bishops smeared ashes on their foreheads in a sign of mourning, and knelt as Kendall Harmon of South Carolina addressed the House of Deputies.

"By contravening the 'historic faith and order,' this Convention ...

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