Episcopal dioceses in the United States which reject the notion of same-sex “marriage” must now allow gay and lesbian couples to “marry” in the church. The Episcopal Church’s General Convention meeting in Austin, Texas [in July] found a way to expand gay “marriage” rights into all dioceses while seemingly respecting the consciences of local bishops who object on theological grounds. Praised as a compromise that doesn’t alienate traditionalists, the resolution essentially allows an end-run maneuver around the consciences of the leaders of eight U.S. dioceses who are standing firm against same-sex “marriage.” Beginning in December, when a gay couple wants to “marry” in a diocese where the same-sex “marriage” is not condoned, the priest who has agreed to conduct the ceremony will be free to bypass his or her bishop and reach out to an Episcopal bishop elsewhere who can step in and provide “pastoral support” for the mono-gendered couple. Not all bishops were enthusiastic about the resolution. Some expressed grave concern that the move undermines their authority and could lead to a schism within the Episcopal Church. Bishop John Howard of Florida said his diocese was still reeling from the 2003 consecration of openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson, which led some clergy and lay members to break from the denomination, according to a report by RNS. Bishop William Love of Albany, New York used stronger language, saying, “I’m concerned that when this passes, the floodgates are going to open once again, the bloodshed is going to open once again, the insidious lawsuits are going to continue once again.”The dissenting bishops were part of a small minority, however.The Episcopal Church has always somehow managed to maintain polite collegiality even when bishops disagreed over such things as the ordination of women or blessing same sex marriages or, truth in the cases of Bp James Pike and Bp John Shelby Spong. But this collegiality seems to have come to a grinding halt in front of the GLBTQ agenda. Now the episcopal authority of a bishop in his [or her] own diocese no longer rules. Priests can find another episcopal visitor to sanction what their local bishops prevent -- at least when it comes to a same sex couple. The real question is how long it will be before the bishop is nothing more than a well dressed administrative figurehead in the diocese and an episcopal church becomes a presbyterial one. I don't think it will be long -- except when it comes to matters of property where bishops seems to rule and pursue without mercy the property of any and all congregations who dare to disagree. So that is what episcopacy has come down to these days. Hmmmm. It is no wonder the worldwide Anglicans find it increasingly difficult to know what to do with American Episcopalians. Oh well, it has confounded courts and churchly tribunals so it is likely Anglicans from around the world will be stymied as well. The church of the prayer book is gone and the church of the bishop is soon to go, as well. What remains? Well dressed clergy who seemingly do not have to believe anything much about God except look good while pretending to worship Him while at the same time advancing every liberal social cause in His name.