Church tribunal condemns episcopal bishop for rejecting same-sex ‘marriage’
ALBANY, New York, October 15, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — After refusing to conduct same-sex “marriages” in his diocese, William Love, the Episcopal bishop of Albany, New York, was found guilty of violating the “Discipline of the Church” and the Canon Law of the church.
At the 2018 General Convention, the Episcopal Church had made changes to the rites for same-sex “marriage” that were approved as a trial at the 2015 convention.
The new resolution, entitled B012, stripped diocesan bishops of their autonomy to prohibit homosexual “marriage”, yet still characterized such ceremonies as “trial rites.” Now, the “trial rites” only have an “opt out clause,” requiring bishops theologically opposed to same-sex “marriage” to find a bishop who would have the ceremony performed in his diocese.
In November of 2018, Love published an eight-page letter to his faithful, in which he explained that the new law would not be implemented in his diocese, since it would force him “to compromise the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.”
He further said that the concept of same-sex “marriage” “is in direct conflict and contradiction to God’s intent for the sacrament of marriage as revealed through Holy Scripture.”
“Sexual relations between two men or two women was never part of God’s plan and is a distortion of His design in creation and as such is to be avoided,” the bishop clearly stated. “To engage in sexual intimacy outside of marriage between a man and women [sic], is against God’s will and therefore sinful and needs to be repented of, NOT encouraged or told it is ok.”
As a result, Love was first partially restricted in his ministry in January 2019, then received charges against him in September 2019, and eventually faced a tribunal in June.
Love’s legal team argued that Love had not violated canon law, since resolution B012 was not a revision found in the Book of Common Prayer and as such held no canonical status: “It is clear from the canonical definition of Church Doctrine that no liturgical material outside the Book of Common Prayer can ever revise the Doctrine of the Church, especially when authorized merely for ‘trial use.’”
His defense thus argued that Love had allowed marriages only between a man and a woman, since such was the teaching of the Book of Common Prayer, the Catechism and the rites of Matrimony. Love said that B012 in fact “invited canonical disobedience and nonconformity to the stated Doctrine and Discipline of the Church.”
In response to the recent decision, in which he was unanimously found guilty of “failing to abide by the Discipline and Worship of The Episcopal Church, and thus violating my ordination vows”, Love warned that the result of the case “will severely impact not only me and the ministry entrusted to me as Bishop of Albany, but it will also seriously impact the life and ministry of the Diocese.”
The panel has yet to reconvene and announce what penalties Love will face.