ALBANY, N.Y. — A disciplinary hearing panel with the apostate Episcopal Church has concluded that a New York bishop violated canon law when he prohibited same-sex “weddings” from taking place at churches in his diocese.
According to reports, the panel unanimously ruled that William Love, who presides over the diocese of Albany, broke church rules and his ordination vows in refusing to comply with B012, a resolution passed at the General Convention in 2018 that requires ministers who object to same-sex “marriage” to contact another member of the clergy to officiate in their place.
“[I]n dioceses where the bishop exercising ecclesiastical authority … holds a theological position that does not embrace marriage for same-sex couples, … the bishop exercising ecclesiastical authority (or ecclesiastical supervision) shall invite, as necessary, another bishop of this Church to provide pastoral support to the couple …,” the resolution reads.
In a letter issued in November 2018, Love opined that the resolution could cause “tremendous damage” among Episcopalians as it “is in direct conflict and contradiction to God’s intent for the sacrament of marriage as revealed through Holy Scripture.”
“B012 ignores God’s Word regarding marriage and thus ignores the authority of Holy Scripture,” he wrote. “When asked about marriage and divorce, Jesus stated, ‘But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”‘
He also outlined that the canon of the Albany diocese upholds both the biblical and traditional Episcopal view of marriage, and that to follow B012 would be to violate the diocese canon.
“With the passage of B012, the 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church in effect is attempting to order me as a bishop in God’s holy Church, to compromise ‘the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints’ (Jude 3), and to turn my back on the vows I have made to God and His People, in order to accommodate The Episcopal Church’s ‘new’ understanding of Christian marriage as no longer being ‘a solemn and public covenant between a man and a woman in the presence of God …’”
Therefore, “Until further notice, the trial rites authorized by Resolution B012 of the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church shall not be used anywhere in the Diocese of Albany by diocesan clergy (canonically resident or licensed), and Diocesan Canon 16 shall be fully complied with by all diocesan clergy and parishes,” Love declared.
In January 2019, Michael Curry, the presiding “bishop” and primate of the Episcopal Church, a supporter of homosexual relationships, issued a partial restriction against Love, forbidding him from participating in any disciplinary procedures regarding clergy in his diocese who participate in homosexual ceremonies.
Later that year, while the House of Bishops was meeting, Love was informed that he himself was being referred to a disciplinary panel.
In June 2020, after a postponement due to COVID, Love participated in a virtual hearing on the matter, where diocese Chancellor Chip Strickland argued on behalf of Love that Resolution B012 does not hold canonical status as it is not a revision to the Book of Common Prayer. Language identifying it as such was removed from the final version of the proposal.
The panel disagreed, stating that the “plain language of the resolution” indicates that it served as a revision to the Book, and that it doesn’t need “magic words” to make it so.
According to the Episcopal News Service, Love was also accused of breaking his ordinance vows by refusing to conform the Diocese of Albany to the resolution. His vows stated that he agreed to “conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church.”
On Oct. 2, the disciplinary panel unanimously ruled against Love, as W. Nicholas Knisely of Rhode Island wrote, “Depriving same sex couples of access to matrimony materially and substantially impacts their spiritual, emotional and physical well-being as people of God. The expression of love changes dramatically when it is recognized, welcomed and witnessed. The loss of a public ceremony impacts the couple, the family and friends and the community.”
A hearing will be held within weeks to discuss punishment, which could result in suspension or complete deposition, defrocking him.
“While I am very disappointed and strongly disagree with the decision of the hearing panel … they have issued their judgment,” Love said in a statement. “Unfortunately, given the nature of this case, I have no reason to believe that appealing the hearing panel’s decision would result in any different outcome.”
He thanked his supporters for their prayers and urged all to keep their focus on Jesus Christ.
“While we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, the Lord does. He will guide and lead us through all the storms of life, if we keep our eyes on Him, trusting Him in all situations,” Love exhorted. “As we read in Proverbs, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight’ (Proverbs 3:5-6). And last, ‘Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him’ (Jeremiah 17:7).”
According to reports, the passing of B012 caused a number of Episcopalians to depart and instead form the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA), which holds to the biblical view of marriage.