Archbishop of Canterbury, warns against gay bashing
Wilmer Muller | November 29, 2004
LONDON — The Archbishop of Canterbury has criticised conservatives in the Anglican Communion for using hostile words about homosexuals in the recent row over the ordination of gay bishops, a British newspaper reported on Sunday.
Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams
Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, said that such language could lead to suicide or even murder, reported the Sunday Times.
His three-and-half page letter to the 37 other primates around the world warned of serious consequences if Anglicans do not heal their rift and called for repentance from those who condemned homosexuality, according to the paper.
"Any words that could make it easier for someone to attack or abuse a homosexual person are words of which we must repent," the letter reportedly said.
"It is beyond doubt that we stand at a point where the future shape and character of the communion depends on our choices."
He adds: "In the heat of this controversy things have been said about homosexual people that have made many of them, including those who lead celibate lives, feel that there is no good news for them in the church.
"Do not think that repentance is always something others are called to, but acknowledge the failings we share, sinful and struggling disciples as we are."
Church leaders have warned that failure to resolve the row over the ordination of gay bishops could see the 70-million-strong worldwide Anglican community split down the middle.
Last year Williams gave his consent to allow a gay clergyman, Jeffrey John, to be appointed bishop of Reading in Britain, but John chose not to take up the post after a wave of protest from conservatives.
The Anglican world was also split last year when the US Episcopal Church ordained openly gay Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire.
Robinson's accession, and other moves such as a decision by a Canadian diocese to bless same-sex unions, have been vehemently opposed by more conservative Anglicans, notably those in African countries.
Anglican commission upbraids US church and it's critics [19/10/2004]