The text of the statement below was sent by a group of bishops to twenty
"concerned primates" of the Global South. It was released today, July 17, 2003, to the public.
Most Reverend Fathers in God:
As Bishops of the Church catholic with jurisdiction (or office) in the Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA) we are speaking to address the crisis of Faith and Order that is increasingly unfolding among us, among our brothers and sisters in Christ in the Anglican Church of Canada, and, for now, in limited other places throughout our worldwide Anglican Communion.
We begin by stating that we utterly repudiate the recent actions of the Synod and the Bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster in authorizing liturgies for blessing same-sex partnerships. At the same time, we wish to speak in more detail to the unfolding situation in the Episcopal Church, among whose leaders we have been called and consecrated.
The election in New Hampshire of a man who openly confesses an active homosexual relationship to be Bishop Coadjutor, and the inclusion of a measure affirming the blessing of same-sex unions on the agenda of the upcoming General Convention, both serve as symbols of a desperately confused, errant and disintegrating Anglican province. At stake are the fundamental doctrines of apostolicity and of marriage. The confirmation by national synodical vote of the bishop-elect or the adoption of any same-sex marriage provisions would be unparalleled departures from received church order and universal church teaching. We further regret to have to state that it is our assessment that the likelihood of the approval of these church-rending innovations has been dramatically increased by a letter sent by our Presiding Bishop to all bishops of this province, a letter which can have no other interpretation than encouragement for confirmation of the New Hampshire election.
In the face of these looming departures from evangelical truth and catholic order, and in line with our commitment to oppose all such innovations in every Godly way, we do hereby affirm the moral and spiritual authority of you, the "Concerned Primates" of the Anglican Communion, and do join in commitment with you to address the situation under your leadership. We desire to act in concert with you, and are ready to take counsel from you. We pledge solidarity with you in sharing common faith and practice within an Anglicanism that is submitted to her sovereign Lord, true to his holy Word, and at one with his catholic Church.
We now join in your declaration of impaired communion with the Bishop and Diocese of New Westminster. We also join you in affirming bonds of fellowship and communion with those in the Diocese of New Westminster (ACiNW) who have stood firm in resisting that conciliar and episcopal authority which has exceeded its legitimate boundaries. We further state that we stand ready, in concert with you, to commit to common responses to the deteriorating situation within the Episcopal Church, and elsewhere. We take these actions and make these commitments in order that Anglicans everywhere might ever be numbered among the mainstream witnesses of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ, who alone is true God and true man, the only Savior of humankind, whose disciples are ever constrained by the plain sense of God's Word written.
15th July, A.D. 2003
MAURICE (BEN) BENITEZ