Sunday, February 18, 2007

Observer: Anglican schism avoided

As the Anglican church leaders meet in Dar-Es-Salaam, The Observer reports that "A (Anglican church) schism has been avoided after the American wing of the church gave in to African demands that it installs no more gay bishops." However, I can find no confirmation of this report.

It appears that the discussions centre on the Episcopal Church of the USA's response to a 2004 Anglican commission report, which called for a moratorium by the Americans on consecrating gay bishops and blessing same-sex unions.

The panel found that the Episcopal Church was taking the commission's recommendations "extremely seriously" and had complied with its requests for a moratorium on consecrating gay bishops. It also said the U.S. church had responded adequately to a request that it express regret over the strained relations with other Anglicans after Robinson's elevation. But the panel said it was not clear whether the U.S. church had complied with a request that priests refrain from blessing same-sex unions, saying the widely varying practices within the church mean the question "needs to be addressed urgently" by Episcopal leaders.

The Dar-Es-Salaam meeting started with seven archbishops refusing to share communion with the other primates due to the presence of the head of the US Episcopal church.

I find myself feeling great sympathy with the view expressed by Mary Warnock in the Observer today, answering the (perhaps premature) question: "Would an Anglican split have mattered?"

Some people won't mind at all, nor should they: they don't care about the Church of England and they've never heard of a schism. I love the Church of England and I hope it does split, casting off some dogmatists and fanatics. The church doesn't need to apologise for having belatedly upheld the equality of human beings in the eyes of its god. It has taken the great step of ordaining women; next, it must have women bishops, and homosexual bishops as well, without looking over its shoulder to see who is going to be offended. It is the glory of this church to be tolerant; if others don't like it, let them set up on their own.

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