Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fresh from Bishop Frade!

For a long time in the life of the Episcopal Church we have been dealing with the realities of human sexuality. We have wrestled with who’s in and who’s out, who can be ordained and who can’t, which relationships are to be blessed and which are not.

With the passage of Resolution C056 at the 76th General Convention in July, we opened the door a little bit to permit our clergy to respond pastorally to same-sex couples who have been legally married in jurisdictions where such civil marriages are permitted.

Accordingly, I intend to authorize the clergy of this diocese to bless the unions of same-sex couples who have been legally married in states or countries where this is possible. This authorization will not apply to civil unions, domestic partnerships or any other legally recognized status other than marriage; this is no more nor less than we do for heterosexual couples who wish to have their unions blessed by the Church—they must be married.

I would emphasize two points: First, our General Convention did not authorize Episcopal clergy to perform same-sex marriages, and consequently, I am not authorizing any clergy to perform same-sex marriage in this diocese; and second, no priest in this diocese is ever under any obligation to perform any marriage he or she feels is inappropriate.

I have appointed a representative committee of diocesan clergy, chaired by Dean Douglas McCaleb of Trinity Cathedral, to develop some liturgical guidelines for proposed same-sex blessing services. I anticipate that these guidelines will be ready in four to six weeks for any clergy who request them.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at

+Leo Frade

This just in from one of the Episcopal Church's few Cuban American Bishops. I wonder how this will play in the home front even as as his diocese's revamps outreach to South Florida's Hispanics who are in general of a conservative bent.

This application of the Episcopal Church's resolution C056 by Bishop Frade seems to be based principle rather than on demand, given the limited scope of those who would benefit and the potential for fueling controversy. Since Florida law does not recognize same sex marriages his pastoral generosity probably goes beyond the intent of C025 which spoke to contexts where same sex marriages and civil unions are a matter of law.

Bishop Frade comes to the Episcopal Church from a from a relatively conservative Methodist background yet has consistently taken progressive positions on social issues, this is no exception. Some in his diocese are sure to see this as a sign of hope and a tribute to charity and justice long denied. Others are sure to be dismayed by what they see as a departure from traditional ideas of family and marriage! It is sure to be an interesting fall season!

Señor cuidanos y guianos en tu camino y enseñanos a hacer tu voluntad! Virgen de la Caridad....pray for us!



No comments: