Sunday, July 09, 2006

On moratorium and marriage

From Katharine Jefferts Schori's interview on Oregon Public Broadcasting

Christy George: At the same convention, a majority voted to apologize for Gene Robinson, but not to take back his ordaination.

Katharine Jefferts Schori They agreed to apologize for the upset that it's caused in the rest of the Communion.

Christy George So, "We're sorry you're upset with the thing that we did..."?

Katharine Jefferts Schori Well, yes. And we're sorry if we did not adequately consult with the rest of the Communion. That's really the sense of what the people were trying to express. But you're correct in saying that there is no desire to retreat from his consecration.

Christy George Yet you also agreed to a moratorium going forward on gay bishops for the moment. And when I say "you", I mean you, a majority.

Katharine Jefferts Schori That's not the language that was used. That last resolution asked standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction, the people who vote on consenting to elections of bishops, to withhold consent to anyone whose manner of life would present a challenge to the wider Communion at this point in our history. It's not formally a moratorium, some people understand that it leaves the door open--I think it allows us to proceed to the next stage of the conversation.

Christy George Interesting, because there are other potential challenges other than having someone be gay.

Katharine Jefferts Schori Always! You know, human beings don't see the world identically, we always differ on *something*, but I think our task at this point in history is to discover what we hold in common.

Christy George It's quite interesting, I heard Bill Bennett, the conservative culture czar--who you may have seen roaming around the casinos of Las Vegas recently, who knows! (Laughter) He said on television not long ago that he realizes, he acknowledges that the fight over gay marriage is over, effectively in America. It's just a matter of time before--he doesn't agree with that, but he says "We, meaning the conservatives, have lost the battle."

Katharine Jefferts Schori Well, you know the reality of our understanding of marriage has changed enormously over the centuries. In the middle ages, even in church circles, it was understood as a property contract. You know, in an era when women were seen as property and they were handed from father to groom. That's where the "giving this woman" comes from in the marriage ceremony, when it's used.

We live in a culture and a time where we understand that human beings give themselves freely to another, and that parents don't do that giving. We understand that people are free to enter into an agreement to live together in a way that, in the church, is an expression of the holy. And for the state to meddle in that seems inappropriate. There's a significant move in the church right now to take clergy out of the role of signing the marriage certificate on behalf of the state. And I think we might be healthier if we went that route.

Christy George To really separate civil and religious marriage.

Katharine Jefferts Schori Correct--as happens in many other regions of the world.

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