ALBANY, N.Y. (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Episcopal bishop of Albany published a pastoral letter on Nov. 10 forbidding the celebration of same-sex marriage ceremonies within his diocese, in spite of a new policy of the denomination set to go into effect on Dec. 2.
The Episcopal bishop, William Love, said of the Episcopal Church's embrace of the LGBT movement, "The Episcopal Church and Western Society have been hijacked by the 'Gay Rights Agenda' which is very well organized, very strategic, very well financed, and very powerful."
Love is now being blasted in liberal media outlets for his stand against the denomination's new policy. Michael Curry, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, released a statement on Monday saying, "I have been, and will continue to be, in conversation with Bishop Love about this matter."
The Episcopal Church passed Resolution B012 on July 13, requiring same-sex marriage ceremonies to be held within all dioceses regardless of the will or conscience of the local bishop — although seen as a "compromise" policy by requiring objecting bishops to invite bishops from other dioceses to "provide pastoral support" to same-sex couples seeking to be civilly married in an Episcopal Church ceremony.
Love made many references in his letter to his responsibilities and ordination vows:
By God's grace and the guidance and empowerment of the Holy Spirit, I have tried throughout my 12 years as Bishop of Albany, to be faithful and obedient to the Great Commandment, to God's Holy Word, and to my ordination vows and the responsibilities entrusted to me as outlined above.
Elsewhere, Love mentioned his duty to safeguard those in his care from falling into sin:
To follow the dictates of B012, would require that I ignore what God has revealed in Holy Scripture regarding His intent for marriage and to share a false teaching on marriage, thus preaching a false gospel which could lead the very people entrusted into my care to fall into sin.
Love was reportedly one of the most vocal opponents of the resolution while it was being debated at the General Convention over the summer. Episcopal News Service reported that Love spoke against the resolution for 10 minutes, exceeding the allotted two minutes bishops were given at the microphone.
The controversy over BO12 is the latest development in a saga extending back to 2003 when the Episcopal Church recognized the openly homosexual Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire. Since that time, entire dioceses have left the Episcopal Church and joined the more conservative Anglican sect known as the Anglican Church in North America, some splits triggering fights over diocesan property.
In 2016, the worldwide Anglican Communion placed the Episcopal Church on a three-year suspension of voting privileges over the church's view on homosexuality.
Other Anglican parishes, as well as individual Episcopalians and Anglicans, have chosen to become Catholic, at times doing so corporately through the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, which was created by the Vatican in 2012 following Pope Benedict XVI's 2009 apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus.