Friday, May 8, 2009

Dr Williams calls for ‘shared honesty’

THE Anglican Communion may not survive its current crisis over authority and differing theological perspectives, the Archbishop of Canterbury acknowledged on Tuesday.

But he insisted: “Even if we are separated by a number of canonical, theological determinations; even if we blew apart as a communion in chaos and disruption, which God forbid, sooner or later we would have to hear the voice of Christ say: ‘There’s your brother, there’s your sister, there’s a long journey for you together in the path towards reconciliation.’”

Dr Williams was giving the Anglican Con sul tative Council (ACC) a 40-minute presentation on the recommendations of the final report of the Windsor Continuation Group (WCG), the body created, as he put it, to “con tain the chaos and division” that threatened the Communion over the issue of human sexuality.

The communiqué issued by the Primates after their meeting in February in Alexandria quoted extensively from the report, which recommended a “provisional holding arrange ment” to be revisited when the Covenant process concluded, or when long-term reconciliation in the Communion was achieved (News, 6 February).

Dr Williams told the ACC again on Tuesday that the three moratoriums requested by the WDG and affirmed by the Lambeth Conference — the election of bishops in same-sex relationships, rites of blessing for same-sex unions, and cross-border interventions — be maintained, and that “urgent conversations” should be facilitated in provinces which had a problem with them.
He called for shared honesty in the mediated conversations. Critics of North Americans who spoke of the impossibility of going back on the blessing of same-sex unions and ordination of a person in a same-sex relationship should at least listen fully to those who said: “We have discussed this in depth, and have come to these conclusions for our selves in good faith.”
Critics of cross-border interventions should listen to those who were saying: “We’ve been trying to respond to manifest distress among other Christians. We are not empire-building: we are trying in conscience to give proper care and attention and some sort of churchly home for people who otherwise feel homeless.”

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