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AUSTRALIA: Primate responds positively to House of Bishops' statement

[Episcopal News Service] The Primate of Australia, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, has responded positively to a statement issued by the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops after its September 20-25 meeting in New Orleans.
Aspinall attended part of the House of Bishops meeting as a member of the Anglican Consultative Council and Primates Joint Standing Committee "to take part in conversation and discernment," a news release from the Anglican Church of Australia said.

"I believe that the House of Bishops has responded positively to all the requests put to them by the Primates in our Dar es Salaam communiqué," he said. "Certainly they have responded to the substance of those requests."

The Primates' Communiqué called on the bishops to clarify Resolution 033 passed at the 2006 General Convention.

On September 25, the House agreed overwhelmingly to reiterate the language of B033 that said the bishops would "exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion."

They also pledged not to authorize public rites for same-gender blessings "until a broader consensus emerges in the Communion, or until General Convention takes further action," according to the response.

Aspinall said he would now take time to "undertake careful analysis of the House of Bishops response" but acknowledged that his "initial reaction based both on my preliminary reading of the document itself and on my first-hand conversations with many of the bishops involved is that the House has responded positively to the substance of all the requests made by the Primates."

The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church has in turn called on the rest of the Communion to acknowledge the requests made of it by the 1998 Lambeth Conference and the Windsor report in regard to the Listening Process and incursions by uninvited bishops. Aspinall said these are important issues that need to be addressed.

In thanking his hosts, Aspinall said he had been received warmly and graciously and the experience had been "valuable and a further sign of the health of the Anglican Communion."

-- Matthew Davies is editor of Episcopal Life Online and international correspondent for Episcopal News Service.

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