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Anglican poll winner to face major disputes [Australia]
The Australian ^ | 7/06/2005 | Andrew West

Posted on 07/05/2005 9:37:47 AM PDT by sionnsar

AUSTRALIA'S four million Anglicans will have a new leader this weekend, with archbishops Peter Jensen from Sydney, Phillip Aspinall from Brisbane and the new archbishop of Perth Roger Herft the likely contenders.

Whoever takes over the position from Peter Carnley will have to wrestle immediately with the church's enduring disputes over women bishops and, even more controversially, the ordination of practising homosexuals.

Forty electors will meet in Sydney's St Andrew's Cathedral on Saturday to vote for the new primate, a position generally considered one of influence but holding little formal power. "It has clout but it is not an Anglican papacy," Dr Jensen said.

George Browning of Canberra-Goulburn, Andrew Curnow of Bendigo and John Harrower of Tasmania are other contenders but are less likely to win. Under Anglican canon law, all 23 of the country's diocesan bishops are candidates for the primacy but the field is usually limited to the Metropolitans, those archbishops who preside in the major capital cities.

The successful candidate must win a majority in the three "houses"- Bishops, Clergy and Laity.

Two bishops are yet to be consecrated, while another cannot attend, reducing the size of the House of Bishops to 20.

According to church insiders, this election will be less a contest between the different liturgical traditions of Anglo-Catholicism and evangelical Anglicanism. Instead, the lines will be drawn more sharply between those with an orthodox interpretation of the Bible, such as Dr Jensen, and those whose understanding is more liberal.

Looming over the election will also be the spectre of a threat to the worldwide unity of the Anglican communion.

At a recent international summit, the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church of the US were effectively sidelined because they have blessed same-sex unions and, in the US, consecrated a practising homosexual as bishop -- Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

No Australian bishop has ever ventured that far but in the recent past Dr Jensen has suggested his Sydney diocese would find it hard to be in communion with a diocese that ordained or consecrated practising homosexuals. He has also lamented the possibility of "two Anglicanisms" developing and hinted he might be more comfortable as part of an informal network of Biblically orthodox dioceses in the developing world.

Dr Carnley, who announced his retirement last year, will head an international body established to resolve the dispute over the ordination of homosexual and female bishops.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams appointed Dr Carnley last month to chair a 13-member panel that includes clergy, lawyers and lay theologians.

The panel will have no power to intervene in disputes but will mediate between liberals and conservatives to try to avert further division within the church.

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant
KEYWORDS: anglicans; australia

1 posted on 07/05/2005 9:37:48 AM PDT by sionnsar
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