ALBANY, N.Y. — A New York bishop who had been deemed guilty of violating canon law by the apostate Episcopalian church for declining to allow same-sex “weddings” to take place at churches in his diocese has decided to resign rather than comply with whatever disciplinary action would be taken against him.
William Love, who presides over the diocese of Albany, was to have been the subject of a disciplinary hearing on Monday. However, on Saturday, he published a statement in Anglican Ink, outlining that he had decided to step down. He and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, who supports same-sex ceremonies, signed an accord surrounding his resignation that became effective on Oct. 21.
“[W]hile I don’t agree with the Hearing Panel’s ruling, they have issued their judgment. Unfortunately, given the nature of this case, and the Episcopal Church’s demonstrated intent to ensure all dioceses (where civil law permits) allow for same-sex marriages, I have no reason to believe that appealing the Hearing Panel’s Decision would result in any different outcome,” Love wrote.
“After much thought and prayer, recognizing that whatever disciplinary action would be offered would not be anything I could in good conscience agree to, I have made the very difficult, but necessary decision to resign as Bishop of Albany, effective February 1, 2021 – the 14th Anniversary of my becoming the Bishop Diocesan,” he advised.
As previously reported, earlier this month, a disciplinary hearing panel concluded that Love 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, Curry 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, 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.”
The panel thus found Love guilty of violating various Episcopal canons, stating in part, “The canonical legitimacy of Resolution B012 rendered Canon I.18 mandatory, requiring adherence by Bishops Diocesan in permitting their clergy the option to perform same-sex marriage rites. TEC has also met its burden of establishing that the Direction violated the Worship of the Church in that Resolution B012 added canonically-authorized same-sex marriage rites to the Worship of the Church pursuant to BCP.”
It not known whether Love will seek ordination with another denomination or simply serve as laity going forward.
Psalm 27:1 and 3 reads, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? … Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear. Though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.”
Jesus also stated in Matthew 10:28, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul. But rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell.”