Archbishop: passions abating in England over gay bishop
February 27, 2004
LONDON — The Church of England has calmed down from a furious debate
about the nomination of a gay bishop, but it's unclear whether that
will lead to a change in its teaching on homosexuality, Archbishop
of Canterbury Rowan Williams says.
Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams|
"I do not think that change is ever inevitable," Williams said
in an interview released Friday by the Press Association news
agency, but he said he took heart from the debate at the church's
governing synod earlier this month.
"I think that the Church of England's position, whatever was
said after the synod, remains pretty much where it was. What
changed, I think this is important, is the tone of the debate,"
"I sensed less anger and anxiety in the debate and wherever the
church finds itself, I think that has to be a good thing."
Williams, 53, granted the interview to mark the first
anniversary of his enthronment in Canterbury Cathedral as leader of
the Church of England and the global Anglican Communion.
His first year was dominated by bitter controversies over the
nomination of a celibate gay man as an English bishop, and the
decision by the U.S. Episcopal church to confirm Rev. V. Gene
Robinson, who lives with a gay partner, as bishop of New Hampshire.
The Robinson appointment, denounced by conservatives around the
world, has threatened to split the U.S. church and the Anglican
Williams has appointed a commission, headed by Irish primate
Robin Eames, to explore ways of holding the communion together, or
perhaps managing a split.
Jeffrey John, who had been nominated as bishop of Reading in
England, withdrew in the face of protests about his sexual
orientation - even though his declared celibacy conformed to the
Williams said many people were "taken aback" by the powerful
reaction against John's nomination.
"What it focused for me, most painfully, in a way, is what it
means to try and hold and articulate what the church overall is
thinking and wanting," he said.
"It was a very difficult period trying to listen to what I
thought the church overall, worldwide as well as in England, was
wanting on this."
"Of course, the personal cost to lots of people is very high." – Sapa-AP
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Senior African cleric rallies to gay Anglican cause [16/10/2003]