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Presiding Episcopal Bishop Defends Controversy in Church

Presiding Episcopal Bishop Defends Controversy in Church

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold acknowledges that the ordination of a gay bishop in the U.S. Episcopal Church has been controversial.

But it is no more so than when the apostle Peter taught that uncircumcised Gentiles would be welcome in the early church, Griswold said Wednesday at St. Mark's Cathedral.

"Circumcision was an ordinance central to Jewish identity as a chosen people. To say the Holy Spirit could fall on those uncircumcised was cataclysmic," he said. "You think we have problems? Go back to that era. And it was the Holy Spirit who did it."

Observers and even the faithful often "think everything should be calm and collected, but that's not always the way the Holy Spirit prods and prompts us to go beyond what seems acceptable and normative," said Griswold, who is in Salt Lake City for a convention of Episcopal communication directors

"Some of the law needs to be kept, but not all of the law needs to be kept," he said.

There also has been criticism within the Anglican Communion of the practice of many dioceses -- including the Diocese of Utah -- of offering blessing rites for same-sex unions.

Critics say the practices defy biblical teaching against homosexuality.

Episcopalians are struggling with how to resolve the issues, in large measure because "everyone is thoroughly defended (in their own position), instead of dealing with one another from the heart," Griswold said.

"By approaching one another with battlements in place, there's very little opportunity to meet the Christ in one another," he said.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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