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Cono Sur rejects Canadian priest’s election as Bishop of Uruguay: The Church of England Newspaper, June 3, 2012 p 6. June 7, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, La Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America.
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Archdeacon Michael Pollesel with Archbishop Fred Hiltz. Photo: Anglican Journal

The Anglican Church in South America — the Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur (de América) – has rejected the election of the former General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada as Bishop of Uruguay.

At the close of their 21 – 25 May 2012 meeting in Montevideo the Cono Sur bishops released a statement saying that “after discussion and prayer and in accord with its canons the Provincial Executive of the Cono Sur together with its College of Bishops did not ratify the election of the Ven. Dr. Michael Pollesel as bishop-coadjutor for Uruguay”

The Cono Sur did not state why Dr. Pollesel’s election was rejected, but noted the province “promised its close cooperation with the diocese in its future decisions.”

The December 2011 election of Dr. Pollesel by the Uruguay synod to succeed Bishop Miguel Tamayo who retires in June raised questions from conservative activists.  The former general secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada and interim priest-in-charge of St Nicholas Church, Birch Cliff in Toronto was credited with crafting the “non-confrontational” approach to the debate over same sex blessings taken at the last General Synod.

Conservative evangelicals claimed that by making the issue of homosexuality value neutral, it privileged gay supporters in the General Synod and allowed Canada to also claim it had not violated the Anglican Communion’s strictures against gay marriage.  It permitted Canadians to remain on the Communion’s dialogue commission as the primate of Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, stated his province had not taken any formal steps to permit gay blessings – even though a number of dioceses had done so.

Some critics likened his election to that of Nicholas Henderson in Malawi, a liberal London vicar elected bishop by an impoverished Central African diocese, which also was subsequently rejected by the Central African bishops and standing committee.  However, it is not known if these concerns played a part in the decision to decline to ratify the election.

Dr. Pollesel told Canada’s Anglican Journal that he was “disappointed” after he learned of the Cono Sur decision from Bishop Tamayo.  “It’s been a long wait,” he said, noting that Bishop Tamayo said the Uruguayan diocesan council will meet in June to discuss how to procede.

The small South American diocese has been an outlier within the wider Cono Sur in recent years.  On 12 Nov 2010 the diocese voted to secede from the Cono Sur after the provincial synod declined to authorize the ordination of women priests.  Uruguay had proposed the women priest resolution, which was passed by the lay and episcopal orders, but defeated in the clergy order at the provincial synod in Buenos Aires.

The diocese had “sought to allow a diocesan option in the matter, rather than Provincial wide adoption, so that the diocese could proceed to minister within a very difficult agnostic milieu. Uruguay felt that after a nine year hiatus since the last vote for approval, a patient wait would be rewarded. That was not the result and so the Uruguayan Synod took this measure to move away from the Province,” provincial spokesman Bishop Frank Lyons of Bolivia said in a statement given to the press.

The 12 – 15 November 2011 meeting in Asunción, Paraguay of the provincial synod rejected Uruguay’s requested to secede, but adopted a motion requesting a study in the feasibility of dividing the province into Atlantic and Pacific halves with Peru, Bolivia and two dioceses in Chile comprising one province and Argentina, Northern Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay comprising the second.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.


1. Dr. John T Wattachanackal - June 7, 2012

Rev. George Conger,
Is “savecsi” a regd. subscriber to you? They need to know about
your services; your coverage of the various dioceses of CSI is very informative, and valuable!

2. Cono Sur rejects Canadian priest’s election as Bishop of Uruguay: The Church of England Newspaper, June 3, 2012 p 6.Gay Norfolk - June 8, 2012

[…] Read More: Cono Sur rejects Canadian priest’s election as Bishop of Uruguay: The Church of England Newspaper,… […]

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