A Letter to the Editor of The Wall Street Journal

August 17, 1998

As the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, I am moved to comment on Review and Outlook for Friday, August 14, 1998, and its assessment of the Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops recently held in Canterbury, England.

It is, of course, easy to pit liberal against conservative and end matters there. The truth is that many profoundly orthodox Christians have taken seriously the fact that Christ is present in human lives and more particularly in "the least" who live on the edge or beyond the accepted norms of society.

The early Church with its Jewish heritage had to acknowledge the presence and activity of the Spirit of Christ in the lives of non-observant Gentiles outside the community, and in so doing was obliged to reread its Scripture and reorder its inherited traditions of purity and impurity, of inclusion and exclusion.

The bishops of the Lambeth Conference "while rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture" also committed themselves "to listen to the experience of homosexual persons." The fruits of such listening, particularly in parts of the Anglican world where sexuality is seldom if ever publicly discussed, cannot be predicted, but it is a process to which the bishops of the Anglican Communion have obligated themselves. Meanwhile, Lambeth resolutions dealing with international Debt and Economic Justice, the Environment, Religious Freedom, and other concerns about which there was unanimity need to receive a substantial portion of the attention and energy which have been thus far spent on issues of sexuality, lest a legitimate concern become an obsession and distract us from attending to those more urgent issues upon which we are all agreed.

The Most Reverend Frank T. Griswold
XXV Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church, USA