Louisiana — American Anglican bishops have moved to heal a bitter split in their church by suspending consecration of gay clergy to the episcopate.
At the same time, the bishops of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America (ECUSA) agreed not to authorize public rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.
The two issues have split not only American Anglicans but also the 77-million-strong worldwide Anglican Communion. Anglican tolerance of homosexuality has also strained ecumenical relations with the Catholic Church.
Resolution B033 of the 2006 Anglican General Convention called upon bishops "to 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."
At a meeting in New Orleans this week, also attended by the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan William, ECUSA bishops resolved that "non-celibate gay and lesbian persons are included among those to whom B033 pertains."
The bishops did not condemn active homosexuality, but pledged "not to authorize for use in our dioceses any public rites of blessing of same-sex unions until a broader consensus emerges in the Communion, or until General Convention takes further action."
ECUSA bishops expressed their "passionate desire" to remain in the larger Anglican Communion that is already divided by the homosexual issue.