Bishop Love responds to the restrictions placed on him

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Bishop Love of Albany has sent a letter to his diocese in response to the restrictions placed on his ministry by the Presiding Bishop. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry restricted Love’s ministry concerning marriage equality while the Title IV disciplinary process unfolds in response to Bishop Love’s avowal to not abide by General Convention Resolution B012.

Here is the letter.  You can also find it at the Diocese of Albany’s website.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Earlier today, I received official notification from the Presiding Bishop, The Most Reverend Michael B. Curry, that effective immediately, he has placed the following restriction on my ministry as Bishop of Albany, as a result of my recent Pastoral Letter regarding General Convention Resolution B012.

I hereby place the following partial restriction on the exercise of Bishop Love’s ministry: During the period of this restriction, Bishop Love, acting individually, or as Bishop Diocesan, or in any other capacity, is forbidden from participating in any manner in the Church’s disciplinary process in the Diocese of Albany in any matter regarding any member of the clergy that involves the issue of same-sex marriage. Nor shall he participate in any other matter that has or may have the effect of penalizing in any way any member of the clergy or laity or worshipping congregation of his Diocese for their participation in the arrangements for or participation in a same-sex marriage in his Diocese or elsewhere. This restriction is effective immediately and shall continue until any Title IV matter pending against Bishop Love is resolved. 

In accordance with Canon IV.7.10 of the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church, I do plan to appeal the above disciplinary action taken against me by the Presiding Bishop and in so doing I will be challenging the authority and legality of Resolution B012 passed at the 79th General Convention. I have already verbally informed the Presiding Bishop’s Office of my plans. This will soon be followed by an official written appeal as required by Canons.

While I obviously would rather not have had disciplinary actions taken against me, and I hope to see it overturned in the near future, I will abide by the restrictions placed in me by the Presiding Bishop during the appeal process.

With that said, as your bishop, it is important that you understand I have not changed my understanding or teaching regarding the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. The official teaching of this Church as outlined in the rubrics of the Marriage Service in the Book of Common Prayer is that: “Christian marriage is a solemn and public covenant between a man and woman in the presence of God.” (BCP 422). Canon 16 of the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese of Albany upholds this teaching and remains in effect until it is either changed by the Diocesan Convention, or it is legally proven to be over-ridden by the legitimate actions of General Convention; none of which has yet taken place.

Recognizing how difficult and painful all the issues regarding B102 have been, please know that each of you remain in my prayers as we proceed through the appeal process. May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, through the power and presence of the Holy spirit, guide and lead us as we attempt to discern and carry out His will in each of the issues at hand.

Faithfully Yours in Christ,
William H. Love
Bishop of Albany

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David Glidden
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David Glidden

Bishop Love’s argument is reminiscent of similar arguments used decades ago to deny women access to ordination. Canonical laws are manufactured and manipulable by mere mortals. God’s Love and Grace extend to all humanity, even though ancient bigotries may take centuries to be erased. When God’s divine light shines on social issues it is clearly manifest that homosexual marriage is no less appropriate than female clergy.

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walter vogt
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walter vogt

With all due respect, concerning the recent letter from presiding Bishop Curry to Bishop Love - what is apparent in contrast to both of the Bishop's letters is the use of Scripture that Bishop Love uses in his Nov. letter and stands behind to confirm his commitment to our Triune God against same sex marriage and the lack of Scripture used by Bishop Curry where instead he uses and stops at the church's hierarchy, using no Scripture, as his final say in "same sex" marriage. The Reformation that began some 500 years ago against the Roman Catholic church does not mean that there cannot be another "Reformation" against the USA Episcopal Church where some in the church seem to stop at "church hierarchy" instead of God's Word.

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Tom Downs
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Tom Downs

It sounds like you think something must be proved through scripture before the church can require us to believe it. Fair enough, though I would add reason and tradition to the mix. However, where Bp Love runs aground is in a matter of discipline. The church has decided (wrongly, in his thinking) to institute a policy that provides for S.S. marriage. The church might decide that no one younger than 16 should be confirmed or that all full-time church employees must receive health insurance. We could, but don't generally think it necessary to shore up these policies with quotes from the Bible. The PB, and Title IV, are calling the Bp to account for his failure to enforce the church's discipline. The Bp could be right about S.S. marriage, but he's wrong when he fails to comply with the church's discipline.

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walter vogt
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walter vogt

Tom D. - When the church contradicts God's Word then it is up to the Christian to bring this contradiction to light just as Bishop Love has done.

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Kurt Hill
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Kurt Hill

Oh please, Walter you sound like a fundamentalist Evangelical Protestant...

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Grace Cangialosi
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Grace Cangialosi

Why not just find a church you can agree with? I’m sure the ACNA, or one of the Anglican churches in Africa would be glad to receive you.

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Charles Freeman
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Charles Freeman

Bishop Love should recognize that the Episcopal organization to which he belongs has determined to follow the broad path that leads to destruction. He would best serve his flock by taking the first life boat off the sinking ship and take as many churches and members as he can. That is his duty as a defender of the faith and the faithful.

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Tom Downs
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Tom Downs

You say decline happens because we change. Perhaps decline happens because we don't change.

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Kurt Hill
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Kurt Hill

Well said, Tom Downs.

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Eric Bonetti
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With all due respect to +Love, there is no Supreme Court in TEC. Polity in TEC is whatever General Convention determines it to be, and we’ve already been down the road apropos whether a diocese is an independent entity—a nonsensical argument if there ever was one. In short, this argument is getting rather long in the tooth, and I believe +Love would act in the best interests of all to focus on positive paths forward.

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Robert T. Dodd, Jr.
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If +Bill Love could "focus on positive paths forward," we would not be having this conversation. I have seen no evidence that he can.

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Brian F.
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Brian F.

Brian, we ask all commenters to please use their first and last names - thx, Ed

For hundreds of years, "marriage" was the Union of a male with a female for the procreation of offspring. In every walk of life. Then the meaning was changed.

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Cynthia Katsarelis
Member

For millennia, women were treated as chattel, men could have multiple wives, and yes, seemingly, these arrangements had a lot to do with breeding. To this day, there are places where women are not permitted, by law, to refuse sex with their husbands, or to access contraception for the purposes of family planning. Thank God that our understanding of marriage is evolving! This Ozzie and Harriet view of marriage was a cultural pipedream for many. Prohibition came about because men would use their paychecks to drink rather than care for their families. Throughout the 20th Century, women didn't have the autonomy to leave abusive situations - the hospitals filled with victims of domestic violence who had little choice but to return to those homes. My mom couldn't get credit in her own name until 1972. But please, go ahead and wax poetic about how marriage was so pure and sacred until Rebecca and I got married.

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SR Price
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SR Price

Is the position then that sexual relations within a marriage are only for the propagation of children and when in engaged in for any other reason within that marriage are forbidden?If so ,have we then moved this discussion back to the position that birth control is an abomination?

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Susan M. Paynter
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Susan M. Paynter

Yes! Isn't that nice? And women can be priests, too. I love this church.

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Leonard Clark
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women...and even are bishops and archbishops-Presiding Bishops and all-around human beings (just like our LGBTIQ sisters and brothers at TEC). God has given his/her blessing!

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Vicki Bozzola
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Open and shut case--IF the BCP and the sacraments contained therein mean anything at all.

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Member

The BCP is a document of the church; the church is not an organization of the BCP. The church determines the rubrics found therein. Bp Love is wrong to cite the BCP as the arbiter of the doctrine and, as a bishop, I'm sure he knows it.

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C SEITZ
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C SEITZ

C” please use your full name if you wish future comments to be allowed - thx, ed

"Bishop vows to appeal, hanging his defense on the definition of marriage in the BCP and the notion that dioceses are entities independent of General Convention" -- the question isn't "independent entities" but vows made at the time, the legal status of the BCP, whether the constitution requires formal changing to give the PB this authority over fellow Bishops, the force of resolutions as against TEC canons and constitution, the status of diocesan canons and indeed their erstwhile logic. No one doubts that TEC will reach by whatever means the desired LGBT+ destination, but even Bishops like +LA knew the messy route was extremely dubious legally. This is now a mopping up exercise. You will get the church you have been wanting.

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mike geibel
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mike geibel

BO12 was an accommodation for Bishops whose biblical convictions do not allow them to permit same-sex marriage, so that clergy presiding over a marriage in the congregant’s church of their choice could do so without reprimand or punishment. B+ Curry’s action was to suspend Bishop Love’s power to sanction clergy accomplishes the same result as B012.

There is too much venom in many of the comments condemning Bishop Love for his convictions. Is the Church really at the point where dissenting Bishops will be black-balled or excommunicated? What’s next—loyalty oaths for members? No resolution or sanction will force B+ Love to change his mind, or the minds of members who may share his beliefs. Diversity of biblical opinions on this issue should be respected even if we disagree with them. We are all fallible, and no one knows God’s mind absolutely. I say let the internal Church process resolve his claim of autonomy without the acrimony.

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