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DROMANTINE: ECUSA Will Face The Music At Primates Meeting


News Analysis

By David W. Virtue

A high level source in the Church of England has told VirtueOnline that when push comes to shove, Archbishop Rowan Williams will "back the orthodox line" in Ireland next week when he meets with his fellow Primates.

"He is under enormous pressure. He knows he cannot fudge or pluriform his way around the prevailing issue of homosexual behavior and the stakes are too high. He won't let the Anglican Communion fall apart on this issue," the source said.

He will demand, yet again, that ECUSA Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold offer full repentance, not merely regret, for consecrating V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay bishop into the episcopacy, or Griswold could face suspension or worse.

The source told VirtueOnline that Williams is "totally aware" of the anger and wrath of the Global South Primates and he does not want a fight with Nigerian Primate Peter Akinola - a fight he could lose. His authority, already seriously questioned, would be fully undermined in a dogfight with the determined Evangelical Primate who will not tolerate Western pansexuality.

A report by Jonathan Petre of the London Telegraph newspaper said the Archbishop of Canterbury pledges to take tough action in Ireland, warning liberals who have brought the Anglican Church to the brink of collapse over homosexuality that they would face the consequences.

Speaking days before a critical summit of Anglican leaders in Northern Ireland, Dr Williams told the General Synod in London that there was "no cost-free outcome". The Archbishop will chair the meeting of the primates of which 37 of the 38 are expected to be present. The Primate of Hong Kong, the Most Revd. Dr. Peter Kwong has apparently begged off citing family concerns.

Dr. Williams has signalled his determination to take "difficult decisions".

In a speech to the General Synod that was conciliatory as well as tough, he said the crisis, triggered by the consecration of Anglicanism's first openly gay bishop, had caused "hurt, misunderstanding, rupture and damage".

"Part of the cost involved in the repercussions of recent events is that it has weakened, if not destroyed, the sense that we are actually talking the same language within the Anglican Communion," he said. "Not having a common language, a common frame of reference, has been one of the casualties of recent events and there is every indication that that is not going to get better in a hurry."

He added: "To put it as bluntly as I can, there are no clean breaks in the Body of Christ."

The Synod has thrown its moral support to the Archbishop and to the Windsor Report, which he and fellow primates commissioned in an effort to avert schism. The Synod overwhelmingly passed a motion moved by the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Tom Wright, backing Dr Williams and accepting the broad principles of the report.

Bishop Wright, who helped to compile the report, said the document was a call for action. "It is not like a group of friends studying a map a week before an expedition in the hills and discussing potential routes," reported the Telegraph.

The Windsor Report, published in October, was highly critical of the liberal leadership of the American Episcopal Church for consecrating the Rt Rev Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire two years ago.

It urged liberals to express regret for their actions and to impose a moratorium on further gay consecrations and blessing of homosexual "marriages" - a call a number of American bishops are still resisting.

Conservatives in Africa and Asia have made clear that unless some form of discipline is imposed they may walk out and form a rival Church.

"Wrong choices could be disastrous, but to delay would be the worst choice of all."


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