Magazine article Anglican Journal

Communion Reacts to Controversial Decision: Vote Termed `Schismatic' by (George) Carey

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Communion Reacts to Controversial Decision: Vote Termed `Schismatic' by (George) Carey

Article excerpt

Anglican bishops, clergy and lay people of every stripe have weighed in with an opinion about the diocese of New Westminster's vote to move ahead with the blessings of same-sex unions.

Even before synod met, a group of five current Anglican primates and two retired archbishops wrote the diocese warning that a vote for same-sex blessings "would be viewed not only as a grave affront but will also set in motion' deliberations on breaking communion" with their dioceses.

The bishops were from Kenya, Central Africa, South India, South East Asia, West Indies, Sydney and the Southern Cone of South America.

In the weeks after synod, dissenting clergy made much of the words of Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, who retires in October. In a letter to the clergy, Archbishop Carey said he remains strongly opposed to blessing couples of the same gender, and believes that homosexual relationships are not on a par with "the man-woman ideal portrayed in Holy Scripture."

But he gently rebuked clergy and parishes that walked out of synod, saying that Anglicans should always "speak the truth in love.

However, weeks later, at a consultation on the future of Anglicanism at Oxford, Archbishop Carey strayed from the text of a sermon and sharply criticized the New Westminster decision to move ahead with same-sex blessings.

He said that "the issue is a most serious one," which raises two problems. "It first of all undermines marriage. And secondly, it is schismatic," because "it divides the Communion. It also makes us a very embarrassing partner in ecumenical circles as well."

His remarks came just days after he issued a press release calling for restraint and a period of reflection from Anglicans.

In late June, Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini, primate of Rwanda, wrote a message of support to the 12 clergy and offered the possibility of "ecclesiastical protection." He said that the relationship of New Westminster with the Anglican church worldwide, "has been jeopardized by the schismatic acts" of the synod and added that he would be willing to share with others "the possibility of ecclesiastical protection."

In an interview later, the archbishop said the offer of "ecclesiastical protection" was a misunderstanding. …

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