The Southeast Asian Diocese Suspends Ties with Episcopal Church

( [email protected] ) Dec 04, 2003 11:38 AM EST

The Anglican Archbishops of Southeast Asia suspended its ties with the Episcopal Church USA for its recent appointment of an openly gay bishop, further confirming the presaged fears of an interdenominational split within the Anglican Communion.

Calling same sex unions an “abomination to God,” the leaders of Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Nepal announced that the relationship would be severed unless the appointment is revoked.

The split follows in the actions of the Nigerian diocese – the largest diocese with 20 million members, which suspended its ties with the Episcopal Church – the U.S. branch of the 77 million-member Anglican Communion – immediately after the consecration of the openly gay Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire.

On a similar note, the Catholic Church shelved the February meeting in Seattle to work on a common statement on faith. The scheduled conference “would have to be put on hold,” a Vatican announced, Dec. 2. It also said a new committee will be formed to "reflect jointly" on the implications of Robinson's Nov. 2 consecration

Several times, the Vatican and the Pope John Paul II remarked on the consecration, calling it and homosexual acts a "troubling moral and social phenomenon" that are "intrinsically disordered."

Nonetheless, Tuesday's Vatican statement said the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church "remain committed to continuing their dialogue" and that subcommittees would continue their work.

The Russian Orthodox Church also announced a suspension of relations with the Episcopal Church, calling homosexuality a “perversion of human nature.” In addition, the Oriental Orthodox Church halted their ecumenical talks with the Anglican Church, saying that relations cannot continue unless the Anglicans can settle their internal disputes over homosexuality. The Oriental Church members include Armenian Church, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate, Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.