By Patrick B. Craine

LONG BEACH, California, June 11, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Episcopalian Church has been sanctioned by the Anglican Communion following their ordination last month of an openly lesbian bishop.

Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Communion, wrote to the Episcopalians June 7 informing them that their memberships in the Communion's ecumenical dialogues had been suspended.

The Episcopalians ordained Mary D. Glasspool, who has lived with her same-sex partner since 1988, as a suffragan bishop for the Los Angeles diocese on May 15th.  The ordination defied a moratorium in the Communion on ordaining openly homosexual bishops that was implemented in response to the ordination of New Hampshire's Gene Robinson in 2003.

Kearon's letter came after a May 28 Pentecost letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, who proposed the sanctions for Anglican provinces that violate the moratorium, as well as sanctions against same-sex blessings.  In his letter, Williams made specific reference to Glasspool's ordination.

Williams notes the "painful division" wracking the Communion and bemoans the fact that actions such as Glasspool's ordination continue despite the pleading of the Communion's representative bodies.  "This leads to recrimination, confusion and bitterness all round," he wrote.

"There is an obvious problem in putting forward representatives of the Communion who are consciously at odds with what the Communion has formally requested or stipulated," he explained.

Episcopalian representatives have been removed from the Communion's dialogues with Lutherans, Methodists, Old Catholics, and Orthodox, and a member on the Inter-Anglican Standing Committee on Unity, Faith and Order has been demoted to a consultant.

Kearon has also written to the head of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC), Archbishop Fred Hiltz, reports the Episcopal News Service.  At their General Synod in Halifax this week, the ACC has been discussing the possibility of initiating same-sex unions.  Kearon's letter asks whether they have formally adopted such a policy, presumably in view to imposing similar sanctions if needed.