(George) Carey, (Michael) Ingham Quarrel over Communion's Unity

Article excerpt

Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey merely added to the problem of disunity in the Anglican Communion by criticizing a Canadian diocese's decision to bless same-sex unions, says Bishop Michael Ingham of New Westminster.

In his last presidential address at the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Hong Kong in September, Archbishop Carey singled out Bishop Ingham and his diocese for a decision last June to allow the blessing of same-sex unions "without regard for the rest of us and against the clear statement of Lambeth '98."

In a strongly worded reply, Bishop Ingham later said that Archbishop Carey's remarks might actually help accomplish what the retiring Archbishop said he feared would happen.

"I think he sincerely believes his remarks ... will further our unity," Bishop Ingham said. "My expectation is that they will do the opposite.

Bishop Ingham went on: "Is it appropriate use of the presidential office to comment on complex matters in individual dioceses in highly selective ways? Is it ethical to name individuals and personal situations in a primatial address of this nature?

"It is not correct to say that New Westminster has acted `without regard to the rest of us'," he added. "In fact, the position of the bishops at Lambeth '98 has constantly been before the diocese and its synod members. I have twice withheld my consent to same-sex blessings in part because of the potential impact on other areas of the communion."

Bishop Ingham, who was also Canada's bishop-delegate to the ACC, said that Archbishop Carey's remarks failed "to honour the careful way both the synod and I have made decisions about the blessing."

In a separate statement to the Anglican Journal, Archbishop Michael Peers, the Canadian primate, said the Canadian church still has a lot of work to do on the issue of blessing same-sex unions, and added: "I do not believe that the Anglican Consultative Council of other bodies or leaders within the communion can do that work for us."

Archbishop Peers said that the Canadian house of bishops and General Synod have not moved beyond their 1997 guidelines, which say that the house of bishops "does not authorize the blessing of relationships between persons of the same sex."

In his address, Archbishop Carey also scolded Bishop Charles Bennison of Pennsylvania for defrocking a conservative priest and the diocese of Sydney, Australia for its decision to allow lay presiders at communion. …