Colorado Episcopal bishop ordains partnered lesbian as priest

Episcopal Bishop Robert O'Neill
Episcopal Bishop Robert O'Neill


Controversy within the Episcopal Church renewed on Saturday as the Episcopal Bishop of Colorado Robert O'Neill ordained a “partnered” lesbian as an Episcopal priest.

Bishop O’Neill also ordained another woman and two men as priests for congregations in Colorado.

Mary Catherine Volland, a partnered lesbian, was a candidate for ordination from the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota and was ordained by Bishop O’Neill on behalf of its bishop, James Jelinek.

She will assist at a Denver church.

A press release from the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado said that the Episcopal Church ordains “partnered gays and lesbian persons,” saying gay and lesbian clergy are in service in several Colorado congregations.

“Although there is a clearly range of opinion among clergy and lay people of the diocese about the ministry of partnered gay and lesbian clergy,” the press release said, “one of the gifts of Anglican Christianity is its tradition of holding widely divergent points of view in a context of orthodox Christian faith.”

Bishop O’Neill described the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado as “perhaps the most politically and theologically diverse diocese in The Episcopal Church.”

“Our faithful walking together as sisters and brothers in Christ is at once challenging and a great gift that we have to offer to a broken and divided world,” he continued.

The bishop expressed his gratitude to those who offer themselves to God’s service, “including the gay and lesbian Christians among us who so generously contribute to our common life and ministry.”

CNA contacted the office of presiding U.S. bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to discover if the ordination of Volland breaks a ban on ordaining homosexuals. Schori's office referred CNA to the local diocese.

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