Harsh divisions within the diocese have led the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Puerto Rico to cancel the election for its next bishop, three days before the diocesan convention was scheduled to meet.
The 4 Dec 2013 announcement follows a 23 Aug statement postponing the election to 7 Dec in light of a letter to the diocese from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori where she voiced concern over “recent events in the process.” The presiding bishop asked the standing committee “reorient” the election process and allow time for it to “harmonize”. A subsequent statement explained the postponement had not been caused by violations of canon law.
In their 4 Dec letter, the standing committee said it had been an “extremely difficult decision,” but one they considered “necessary for the present and future welfare of our Diocese.”
Time would “create a space for reflection and prayer to strengthen our Diocese,” the statement said, and “together we can heal the wounds that this process has generated among our brothers / sisters.”
The statement warned against divisive politicking. “To our brothers and sisters who have crowded the media with messages that are not characteristic of the Church, those who perhaps have they sought personal gain in all this, we ask them once and for all to move on.”
The former suffragan bishop of Connecticut, the Rt. Rev. Wilfredo Ramos-Orench has been appointed by the standing committee as provisional bishop until such time as an election may be held.