Gay Issue Derails Catholic-Anglican Talks
Tue Dec 2,11:16 AM ET

By VICTOR L. SIMPSON, Associated Press Writer

VATICAN CITY - A February meeting between Catholics and Anglicans in Seattle has been put on hold because of concerns raised by the consecration of an openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, the Vatican (news - web sites) said Tuesday.

It was the first jolt in Catholic-Anglican relations over the Nov. 2 elevation of V. Gene Robinson to bishop of New Hampshire and came two months after Pope John Paul (news - web sites) II warned of the possibility of "serious difficulties."

The Seattle meeting to work on a common statement of faith between Catholics and Anglicans "would have to be put on hold" and a new committee will be formed to "reflect jointly" on implications of the Robinson's consecration, the Vatican said.

The Vatican announcement came days after the Most Rev. Frank Griswold, presiding bishop of the U.S. Episcopal Church, resigned as co-chair and member of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission.

"I do so not without regret, but in the interest of not jeopardizing the present and future life and work of the commission of which I was privileged to be a member," Griswold said in a letter released by the Anglican Communion.

The Episcopal Church is the U.S. branch of the 77 million-member global Anglican Communion.

While the Vatican stressed that the Anglican Communion and the Catholic "remain committed to continuing their dialogue" and that subcommittees would continue their work, it was clear that the Robinson's elevation had broad implications among Christian denominations.

The Russian Orthodox Church announced last month that it was suspending ties with the U.S. Episcopal Church, saying that homosexuality is a sin and that it "cannot condone the perversion of human nature."

Perun: Ahh good old Russian Orthodox Church!