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BBC News is reporting that the U.S. Episcopal Church, meeting in their convention in Ohio, has just rejected calls from the worldwide Anglican Church to stop appointing gay bishops.

The news item is short, but apparently the U.S. Episcopal Church has, in fact, rejected "compromise" language in which the church was to apologize for the pain it has caused the worldwide Anglican community. That was the language under consideration by the convention.

This development threatens to split the Anglican community. More conservative churches, particularly in Africa, are not at all happy with the U.S. moves. The U.S. church also made history by appointing a female leader, the first Anglican denomination to do so.

The Episcopal Church is making major strides, right now, in expanding religious opportunities and recognition for homosexuals, same-sex couples, and women. These changes will undoubtedly start to break down civil rights barriers in the U.S. and elsewhere. Other Christian denominations, such as the United Church of Christ, already fully accept and recognize same-sex couples.

The Anglican Church, also known as the Church of England, has similar practices and teachings to the Roman Catholic Church albeit separate leadership under the Bishop of Canterbury. The Church of England split from the Catholics during Henry VIII's reign. More recently the Church of England and the Catholic Church have tried to establish a dialog to reestablish communion, but the Episcopal Church and even the wider Anglican community increasingly reject many of the Catholic Church's stances on homosexuality, female church participation, and other issues.

There are some cases of Anglican priests becoming Catholic priests. Formerly Anglican priests may remain married — an interesting "loophole" to the ordinary celebacy requirements for Catholic priests.

Originally posted to sipples on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 03:13 PM PDT.

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