After court this morning, I realized that I had received a number of emails, phone calls, and few questions on StandFirm about what +Bruce said and how he felt about the resolution passed at the House of Bishops meeting. So, I got +Bruce on his cellphone in the car, and here is what he had to say.
I asked him first about the quote from the Reuters article. Bruce Nichols, the author of the article, is an Episcopalian from Houston, Texas, but had not read and knew very little about the Windsor Report and the Primates Communique. Bishop MacPherson met Mr. Nichols at Church of the Annunciation on Sunday. +Bruce was on his way into the pre-dinner reception last night and was stopped by Mr. Nichols. Mr. Nichols wrote his story this way:
Conservative Bishop Bruce MacPherson of western Louisiana, who voted against Robinson as bishop but opposes splitting the church, said progress was made.
“I would like to have seen a little greater clarity, but I think this was OK,” MacPherson said.
What +Bruce actually said was that the New Orleans resolution did not have the clarity he would have liked. He stated that he would have preferred the Windsor Bishops resolution that he proposed as it was clear, to the point, and answered the Primates Communique in the affirmative. Mr. Nichols then asked +Bruce what he thought of what was passed, and he stated that the House of Bishops had made some progress. That’s it. He didn’t say it was okay. Frankly, it isn’t okay, but that will be for the communion to decide.
I asked +Bruce to expand his thoughts on the New Orleans resolution. He stated that people on both sides were uncomfortable with this resolution. He feels progress was made in the realm of the consent to future bishops engaging in sexual activity outside of marriage. On the floor of the House of Bishops at General Convention in Columbus, some 30 bishops repudiated B033 and stated that would not abide by it. These 30 bishops have now agreed to abide by it. That is what +Bruce means by some progress being made. He feels that this is a significant change from where this house was at General Convention. +Bruce voted against B033 at General Convention, but felt that the New Orleans resolution was clearer (but not perfect).
On the issue of same sex blessings, +Bruce told me that the language was not strong or clear enough. He believes more bishops will take this issue seriously after this meeting, but knows that some bishops are going to continue to do what they have been doing, which is to allow same sex blessings to occur, even though they are not authorized.
+Bruce also confirmed that he believes that Charles Bennison was the only no vote to the resolution.
Bishop MacPherson is still on his way back from New Orleans. He will be issuing a pastoral letter to be read in all congregations in the Diocese of Western Louisiana this Sunday.