Episcopal Church Ordains Practicing Lesbian as Bishop of Los Angeles

Tue May 18, 2010 - 12:15 pm EST

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

LOS ANGELES, May 18, 2010 ( – On May 15 the Episcopal Church ordained a practicing lesbian, Mary Glasspool, as bishop of the Los Angeles diocese.

Glasspool, 56, has been living with her lesbian partner since 1988. She is the second practicing homosexual to be named a bishop by the Episcopalians.  The first was Gene Robinson, appointed in 2003, who also lives with his gay lover.

The selection of Robinson created a serious commotion among the Anglicans, leading to a continuing process of rupture. Thousands of Episcopalians and other Anglican groups have left the Communion, and whole dioceses have since applied for admission to the Catholic Church under terms spelled out recently by Pope Benedict XVI.

Although the Episcopal Church in the U.S. initially prohibited further appointments of homosexuals as bishops, it relaxed the restriction last year, leading to the announcement of Glasspool's selection in late 2009.

The Anglican Church of Ireland denounced the appointment, noting that the "elevation to senior church leadership of a person whose lifestyle is contrary to the will of God revealed in Scripture is both wrong and disappointing," and decried its "deliberate disregard" of the Anglican Communion's condemnation of homosexual behavior, which was last reaffirmed at the 1998 Lambeth Conference.

Representatives of the "Global South," a confederation of Anglican churches in developing countries, called on the Episcopal Church to express "genuine repentance" for the appointment of Glasspool.

David W. Virtue, of the conservative Anglican blog "Virtue Online," had stronger words regarding the appointment.

"The Anglican Communion is fractured beyond repair and it is time to say so," wrote Virtue on May 10.

"Leaderless and rudderless, the Anglican Communion will drift apart, not in formal schism, but like sheets of oil from a broken well head spreading in all directions, some of it dissipating in rough seas, the Anglican Communion provinces will go their own various ways."

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, who leads the communion, has denounced the decision to ordain Glasspool as well, and has predicted that the appointment will "raise serious questions" for the whole Anglican Communion.

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