Conservative TEC leader concedes defeat in America’s sex wars: The Church of England Newspaper, October 11, 2013 p 5. October 15, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, The Episcopal Church.
Tags: Anglican Communion Institute, Christopher Seitz, Wycliffe College
One of the leaders of the conservative remnant within the Episcopal Church has called upon traditionalists to acknowledge their defeat in the church’s wars over sexuality and seek a negotiated peace.
In a powerful address given last month to a conference marking the 50th Anniversary of the 1963 Toronto Pan-Anglican conference, the Rev. Canon Christopher Seitz, Senior Research Professor at Wycliffe College in the University of Toronto and a scholar with the Anglican Communion Institute said “the question for conservatives [now] is about encouragement. Will we be allowed to walk the well-worn paths of the faith,” he asked “or must we follow the trailblazers”, the advocates of change.
The culture and the majority faction within the Episcopal Church held a different moral worldview. It was “no longer a matter of saying the new ways are wrong. That point has passed. “
“We are in a new time. It is now here. We can see a before or after” in the Episcopal Church since the consecration of Gene Robinson in 2003 and in the rise to power of Katharine Jefferts Schori in 2006. “Traditional Anglicans have lost a battle.”
There is now “no single understanding” of the faith. New Prayer Books will emerge that will solemnize gay marriage. Prof. Seitz noted the question for conservatives is not whether they can stop this but if the majority will allow “two rites [to] exist side by side.”
Encouragement for the conservative remnant “would be allowing the status quo ante. Not a new church allowing traditional Anglicans” a home, but the existing churches giving conservatives “the moral space and right to exist.”
“Will dioceses and parishes be permitted to do what has been done before,” he asked. Will we be given the “moral space to conserve our traditions? Can bishops let go of parishes? Can dioceses choose to say no? Can we [as Episcopalians] remain a valued and trustworthy expression of the church catholic?”
To do this “it may be necessary to change the office of Presiding Bishop, reform the General Convention, rewrite the Book of Common Prayer” or enact other “constitutional reforms”, he said.
But “if reforms are not enacted it would end the conservative presence” in the Episcopal Church, he said.