Windsor Report does not call for apology - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
October 18, 2004

Windsor Report does not call for ëapologyí -18/10/04

Following the publication of the Windsor Report, the religious thinktank Ekklesia has urged care in the use of the word 'apology'. The Commission does not use the terms 'apology' or 'apologise' anywhere in the Report, although the words have been used widely by the media to describe the call made by the Lambeth Commission on the Episcopal church.

The report of the Commission chaired by Robin Eames, set up after the ordination of Gene Robinson threatened to split the worldwide Anglican church, urges US church leaders to express "regret" over the way that the gay priest was made a bishop. The thintank points out that this has potentially different implications to a full-blown apology, as Anglicans consider their responses to the Commission's recommendations. Paragraph 134 of the document states: ìMindful of the hurt and offence that have resulted from recent events, and yet also of the imperatives of communion - the repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation enjoined on us by Christ - we have debated long and hard how all sides may be brought together. We recommend that: îThe Episcopal Church (USA) be invited to express its regret that the proper constraints of the bonds of affection were breached in the events surrounding the election and consecration of a bishop for the See of New Hampshire, and for the consequences which followed, and that such an expression of regret would represent the desire of the Episcopal Church (USA) to remain within the Communion îPending such expression of regret, those who took part as consecrators of Gene Robinson should be invited to consider in all conscience whether they should withdraw themselves from representative functions in the Anglican Communion. We urge this in order to create the space necessary to enable the healing of the Communion. We advise that in the formation of their consciences, those involved consider the common good of the Anglican Communion, and seek advice through their primate and the Archbishop of Canterbury. We urge all members of the Communion to accord appropriate respect to such conscientious decisions Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church Frank Griswold, has already expressed regret in a public statement following publication of the Report.

The statement focused on the consequences of Gene Robinson's consecration, and the "difficulty" and "pain" caused by the actions of the Episcopal church. It also noted the "negative repercussions" felt by Anglicans. However it stopped short of regret or apology for the consecration itself. The same statement also reiterated support for openly gay and Lesbian bishops, affirming "the presence and positive contribution of gay and lesbian persons to every aspect of the life of our church and in all orders of ministry." Ekklesiaís director Jonathan Bartley said; "There is a crucial difference between apology and regret. Whilst regret carries with it the wish that things had been otherwise, an apology goes one stage further and implies an expression of penitence." ìGiven the history and politics of disputes within the Anglican communion, it is important that both the church and media are clear on what the document actually says, as elements on both sides of current debates about homosexuality may seize upon it and use it to their own political advantage.î The Windsor report follows several high-profile apologies by public figures, after which questions were asked about whether the apology could be considered genuine. This includes an apology by the Prime Minister Tony Blair, over the use of intelligence in the run up to the invasion of Iraq. Jonathan Bartley continued; ìIf headway is to be made on this issue, and the church is to move along the road towards reconciliation and resolution of its disagreements, all sides must be clear on what the Windsor report is actually saying. Only then will responses be meaningful and constructiveî ìAs the Report itself made clear, the church must be wary of replicating the politics of the world around it, with the appearance of apology for political advantage. There should be no place for spin within a church, whose mission is to witness to truth.î

Windsor Report does not call for ëapologyí -18/10/04

Following the publication of the Windsor Report, the religious thinktank Ekklesia has urged care in the use of the word 'apology'. The Commission does not use the terms 'apology' or 'apologise' anywhere in the Report, although the words have been used widely by the media to describe the call made by the Lambeth Commission on the Episcopal church.

The report of the Commission chaired by Robin Eames, set up after the ordination of Gene Robinson threatened to split the worldwide Anglican church, urges US church leaders to express "regret" over the way that the gay priest was made a bishop. The thintank points out that this has potentially different implications to a full-blown apology, as Anglicans consider their responses to the Commission's recommendations. Paragraph 134 of the document states: ìMindful of the hurt and offence that have resulted from recent events, and yet also of the imperatives of communion - the repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation enjoined on us by Christ - we have debated long and hard how all sides may be brought together. We recommend that: îThe Episcopal Church (USA) be invited to express its regret that the proper constraints of the bonds of affection were breached in the events surrounding the election and consecration of a bishop for the See of New Hampshire, and for the consequences which followed, and that such an expression of regret would represent the desire of the Episcopal Church (USA) to remain within the Communion îPending such expression of regret, those who took part as consecrators of Gene Robinson should be invited to consider in all conscience whether they should withdraw themselves from representative functions in the Anglican Communion. We urge this in order to create the space necessary to enable the healing of the Communion. We advise that in the formation of their consciences, those involved consider the common good of the Anglican Communion, and seek advice through their primate and the Archbishop of Canterbury. We urge all members of the Communion to accord appropriate respect to such conscientious decisions Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church Frank Griswold, has already expressed regret in a public statement following publication of the Report.

The statement focused on the consequences of Gene Robinson's consecration, and the "difficulty" and "pain" caused by the actions of the Episcopal church. It also noted the "negative repercussions" felt by Anglicans. However it stopped short of regret or apology for the consecration itself. The same statement also reiterated support for openly gay and Lesbian bishops, affirming "the presence and positive contribution of gay and lesbian persons to every aspect of the life of our church and in all orders of ministry." Ekklesiaís director Jonathan Bartley said; "There is a crucial difference between apology and regret. Whilst regret carries with it the wish that things had been otherwise, an apology goes one stage further and implies an expression of penitence." ìGiven the history and politics of disputes within the Anglican communion, it is important that both the church and media are clear on what the document actually says, as elements on both sides of current debates about homosexuality may seize upon it and use it to their own political advantage.î The Windsor report follows several high-profile apologies by public figures, after which questions were asked about whether the apology could be considered genuine. This includes an apology by the Prime Minister Tony Blair, over the use of intelligence in the run up to the invasion of Iraq. Jonathan Bartley continued; ìIf headway is to be made on this issue, and the church is to move along the road towards reconciliation and resolution of its disagreements, all sides must be clear on what the Windsor report is actually saying. Only then will responses be meaningful and constructiveî ìAs the Report itself made clear, the church must be wary of replicating the politics of the world around it, with the appearance of apology for political advantage. There should be no place for spin within a church, whose mission is to witness to truth.î

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