Bishop of Church of England Comments on Gay Ordination

While the debate of gay ordination continues to hit the headlines of Christian newspaper, especially in United States, an influential Church of England bishop brought out the issue and expressed his viewpoints during his visit to Pittsburgh this week. He strongly criticized about the Episcopal Church's consecration of an openly gay bishop.

The Rt. Rev. N.T. Wright, bishop of Durham in the Church of England and former canon theologian of Westminster Abbey, will be in Pittsburgh today through Thursday to speak at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary's Schaff Lectures and talk at churches in Oakland and Ohio.

Being the forth most important bishop in the Church of England after the bishops of Canterbury, York and London, Wright’s comments is expected to carry weight beyond that province and throughout the 70-million-member Anglican Communion, which also includes the Episcopal Church, USA.

Wright taught New Testament studies for 20 years at universities in England and Canada, and participated in numerous international debates on church doctrine. The consecration of the Rt. Rev. Gene Washington as bishop of New Hampshire Episcopal Church was counter to several previous Anglican resolutions, Wright said.

In response to the controversial issue of gay clergy, a 19-member Lambeth Commission was formed in October by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Its mission is to find ways of keeping the worldwide Anglican Communion from disintegrating in the wake of the Episcopal Church's ordination of an openly gay bishop and a Canadian diocese's sanctioning of same-sex blessings.

Wright is also one of the members of Lambeth Commission, he explained the viewpoint, “The primary question to be answered by the Lambeth Commission is one of communion, not homosexuality.”

"We're looking at questions of how you hold the church together when that happens," Wright said. "Only secondary is the question of homosexuality."

"It is inappropriate to ordain to regular ministries those who are active, practicing homosexuals” is Wright's own opinion. Meanwhile, he considers dispense of rhetoric is the best key to any discussion.

He believed that Christian communities should claim the right and the duty to think through individual issues on a case-by-case basis instead of going with a knee-jerk reaction. Also, dispensing all the rhetoric around will provide a chance to dig into what the real issues are, such as the scripture and the church’s creation doctrine.

The Lambeth Commission held its first meeting in February. A second is scheduled for North Carolina in June. Its final report to the archbishop is due in September.