Skip to comments.Conservative Anglicans rap liberal faction
Posted on 10/31/2005 2:56:26 PM PST by SmithL
CAIRO, Egypt - Conservative Anglican church leaders from Africa, Asia and Latin America have criticized their U.S. and Canadian counterparts for failing to prevent same-sex marriages and for allowing gay priests, actions that threaten to split Anglicanism.
Some 120 archbishops, priests and other delegates from the so-called Global South also pressed for an "Anglican Covenant" to provide clearer rules for governing the Anglican Communion, a global religious body of 38 autonomous branches that all trace their roots back to the Church of England.
The increasingly outspoken conservative bloc, representing a majority of the 77 million Anglicans worldwide, criticized liberals for causing a crisis by supporting the consecration of a gay bishop and for allowing gay priests and blessings for same-sex couples. It said these actions undercut biblical authority and Christian tradition.
The Global South criticized the Anglican Church of Canada and the United States' Episcopal Church for showing no sign of being "willing to turn back from their innovations," in a document released Sunday.
So contentious was the topic that the leader of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, traveled to Egypt to call for unity and calm dissent led by powerful Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola.
The divisions between conservative and liberal Anglicans reached a crisis point in 2003 over a gay bishop's consecration in New Hampshire by the U.S. church. Conservative Anglicans are also outraged by toleration of same-sex blessing ceremonies in the United States and Canada.
Liberal North American leaders have shown "no evidence" of abiding by "generally accepted teachings" concerning same-sex marriages and gay clerics, a move that "will result in their 'walking apart,'" or breaking off from the communion, according to the Global South document.
"Our own Anglican Communion sadly continues to be weakened by unchecked revisionist teaching and practices which undermine the divine authority of the Holy Scripture," the statement said. "The Global South calls for the errant provinces to be disciplined."
Conference host Bishop Anis Mouneer, head of the Anglican church in Egypt, said the Global South does not want a global split but, instead, wants to persuade liberal leaders in North America to "not act unilaterally."
"There is a crisis in the church and the crisis is continuing and ... the (Anglican) Communion is right now wounded by the decisions of the church in America," Mouneer said.
The U.S. church will hold its general convention in June, at which American priests are expected to set their permanent position on gay clerics and same-sex unions. The Canadians act in 2007 and the following year, the world's Anglican bishops meet.
If conservatives are dissatisfied, it could set the scene for a schism, Mouneer said.
In a move aimed at taking back control of church practice and codifying its principles, the Global South backed the drawing up of an "Anglican Covenant" to provide "a biblical foundation for our life, ministry and mission as a communion." For centuries, the Anglican Communion was built around shared traditions and liturgy.
Rev. William Petersen, dean of Bexley Hall, an Episcopal Seminary in Rochester, N.Y., said if the covenant was ever instituted, it could put the liberal dioceses into the position of either following the new platform or being forced aside.
"The (conservatives) are seeking a more binding type of communion, one that is more doctrinal," Petersen told The Associated Press.
Mouneer, the Egyptian bishop, said he supported the covenant, which he believed would prevent crises such as the gay priests issue from recurring.
"The Americans think the consecration of a gay priest is a local issue and related to culture of America, but it affects the rest of the world," he said. "In a Coptic Orthodox and Islamic context, such a thing is seen as very immoral and the Anglican communion in Egypt, therefore, is being seen as very immoral, even though we oppose the idea."
AP Religion Writer Brian Murphy in Athens, Greece, contributed to this report.
ON THE NET
Global South text: http://www.anglicancommunion.org/acns/articles/40/50/acns4061.cfm
""In a Coptic Orthodox and Islamic context, such a thing is seen as very immoral and the Anglican communion in Egypt, therefore, is being seen as very immoral, even though we oppose the idea."
And therein lies a very practical rub. I would not, however, hold my breath waiting for the revisionists and innovators of the Anglican First World to give more than a moment's thought to what their apostasy has done, is doing and will do outside their very proper and "enlightened" environs!
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.