- Wednesday, August 1, 2012
The Rt. Rev. Edward S. Little II, Bishop of Northern Indiana, writes to the people of his diocese:
First, the provisional liturgy entitled “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” is not authorized for use in the Diocese of Northern Indiana. There will be no exceptions to this policy.
Second, priests of the Diocese of Northern Indiana who, for pastoral reasons, wish to use “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” may travel to a neighboring diocese to do so. I have spoken with the bishops of Chicago, Western Michigan, Michigan, Ohio, and Indianapolis (dioceses that border our own), and they have agreed that Northern Indiana priests may request permission to use a church in their dioceses for such a liturgy. Those priests should also apply for a “license to officiate” from the bishop of the neighboring diocese, since the liturgy would be under that bishop’s sacramental covering rather than mine.
I have attempted in this two-point policy to find a solution that will honor the conscience of all. On the one hand, as your bishop I believe that every sacramental act in the diocese is an extension of my own ministry; and, by theological conviction, I cannot extend my ministry to include the blessing of same-sex unions. On the other, priests who believe that they are called to use this liturgy have an avenue for doing so, though it will require traveling to a nearby diocese. In recent years, I have been both vocal and quite public about the importance of creating a “safe space” for people of divergent theological convictions. This policy is an attempt to do just that. While the solution is far from perfect, it will — at least in the short term — provide space for everyone to exercise conscience, and will require no one to act in a way that violates the deepest convictions of heart and mind.
Read the rest [PDF].