The House of Bishops and provincial executive committee of the Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur (de América) have declined to ratify the election of the Ven. Michael Pollesel as Bishop of Uruguay.
At the close of their 21 – 25 May 2012 meeting in Montevideo the bishops released a statement saying that “after discussion and prayer and in accord with its canons the Provincial Executive of the Cono Sur together with its College of Bishops did not ratify the election of the Ven. Dr. Michael Pollesel as bishop-coadjutor for Uruguay”
The Cono Sur statement did not state why Dr. Pollesel’s election was rejected, but noted the province “promised its close cooperation with the diocese in its future decisions.”
On 12 Nov 2010 the Diocese of Uruguay voted to secede from the Cono Sur after the provincial synod declined to authorize the ordination of women priests. Uruguay had proposed the women priest resolution, which was passed by the lay and episcopal orders, but defeated in the clergy order at the provincial synod in Buenos Aires.
The diocese had “sought to allow a diocesan option in the matter, rather than Provincial wide adoption, so that the diocese could proceed to minister within a very difficult agnostic milieu. Uruguay felt that after a nine year hiatus since the last vote for approval, a patient wait would be rewarded. That was not the result and so the Uruguayan Synod took this measure to move away from the Province,” provincial spokesman Bishop Frank Lyons of Bolivia said in a statement given to the press.
The Bishop of Uruguay, the Rt. Rev. Miguel Tamayo stated the decision to quit the province was not his along. “The way I lead the diocese, is not for me alone to respond” he said, noting it was “a matter for the whole diocese, through its synod.”
The 12 – 15 November 2011 meeting of the provincial synod in Asunción, Paraguay rejected Uruguay’s requested to secede, but adopted a motion requesting a study in the feasibility of dividing the province into Atlantic and Pacific halves with Peru, Bolivia and two dioceses in Chile comprising one province and Argentina, Northern Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay comprising the second.
Last December, Dr. Pollesel, the former general secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada and interim priest-in-charge of St Nicholas Church, Birch Cliff in Toronto was elected Bishop of Uruguay by the diocesan synod to succeed Bishop Tamayo who retires in June.
Concerns whether Dr. Pollesel shared the Cono Sur’s doctrinal and Scriptural views or followed those prevalent in the Anglican Church of Canada were raised after his election, with some critics likening his election to that of Nicholas Henderson in Malawi – which was subsequently rejected by the Central African bishops and standing committee. However, it is not known if these concerns played a part in the decision to decline to ratify the election.