Magazine article Anglican Journal

Conservative Wing Turns Eye to Australia for a Saviour

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Conservative Wing Turns Eye to Australia for a Saviour

Article excerpt

Conservative and orthodox opponents of the new Archbishop of Canterbury have turned to Australia for a saviour, amid predictions that such a move could lead to a serious schism within the Australian church.

A recent report in the Melbourne daily The Age said that those opposed to Archbishop Rowan Williams and his "heretical" views on homosexuality are hoping to bring up to 150 English parishes under the spiritual leadership of the archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen. The Australian archbishop has been heralded by some as the international leader of the Anglican "new right."

Both Reform and Church Society, two leading English conservative evangelical groups, said they would be discussing the idea with Archbishop Jensen when he visited Britain in January. Australia does not allow the legal loophole of outside spiritual leaders, although the Church of England allowed for so-called "flying bishops" to minister to those opposed to women's ordination.

Archbishop Jensen, who was also to have met with Archbishop Williams on his visit, said he was sympathetic to the conservatives. However, he added that it was "another matter entirely" for Sydney to get involved with affairs of the Church of England.

"This is not something I'd be looking for," he said, "but I am deeply concerned about the dissenting orthodox Christians. They need to be looked after."

Meanwhile, in an effort to avert any future schism, Archbishop Williams met with leading primates and bishops in December from Nigeria, South East Asia, Rwanda, Kenya and North India.

According to a report in the Church of England Newspaper, the archbishop repeated his commitment to the traditionalist Lambeth resolution on human sexuality. "The bishops were said to have been impressed by his assurances," the report said.

However, these primates had already joined two English bishops, and the bishop of Dallas in signing a new statement opposing changes in church teaching on marriage, including Canada's diocese of New Westminster, which voted last June to move ahead with the blessing of same-sex unions. …

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