Skip to comments."An African Cannot Be Archbishop of Canterbury"
Posted on 02/06/2006 7:58:46 AM PST by sionnsar
ABUJA, Nigeria, (Jan. 30, 2006)-- Former Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Kenya, the Most Rev David Gitari has ruled out the possibility of an African emerging as the Archbishop of Canterbury (ABC), arguing that the office of the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion is tied-up to the politics of Britain.
The Archbishop was interviewed by The Guardian Newspapers when he visited Nigeria as guest speaker to the annual Bishops' Retreat of the Church of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion) at the Ibru Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.
His statement is coming on the heels of the election by the Church of England of John Sentamu, a Ugandan as Archbishop of York. Abp. Sentamu is Church of England's first black Archbishop. "The office of the Archbishop of Canterbury is so much tied-up with the politics of Britain," Archbishop Gitari said.
"According to the unwritten constitution of England, the ABC is the sixth person in succession to the King of England."
"He is also a member of the House of Lords. I think for an African these are too many hurdles and complications to the office of the See of Canterbury."
The former Kenyan archbishop also talked about current debates in the Anglican Communion including the ordination of women and the issue of human sexuality. On women ordination, the Archbishop said the diocese of Kirinyaga, where he was bishop, started the ordination of women in 1991.
"Now there are now more ordained women in that diocese than all ordained women in the whole of Anglican Province of Kenya. I was convinced that there was nothing wrong in ordaining women so I gave them all the support."
"From my experience, the women have been so successful. For instance, you take a woman to a parish which is very far behind in paying their assessment and within a short time the parish comes alive and clears up its debt."
"The women brought in what I may call the feminine aspect of the ministry- the motherly touch. Their ministry has been a blessing to us in Kenya."
"I was surprised when I learnt that the Nigerian church is yet to commence the ordination of women."
He, however said the Lambeth resolution of 1978 allowed Anglican provinces to debate on the issue and come up with resolutions that are most suitable to them. According to him, the Diocese of Kirinyaga debated on the issue during four consecutive synods spanning from 1979 to 1985, until the motion was unanimously carried in 1986.
"We had to wait till June 1990 when the Anglican Province of Kenya agreed the ordination of women to commence," he said.
The Archbishop critic ized the newly introduced civil partnerships act describing it as a negation of God's original intent for marriage, which according to the bible is a union between a man and a woman. His words: "Marriage is for procreation if everybody started marrying persons of same-sex then that is the end of the human race."
He expressed the hope that in spite of the raging differences in the Anglican Communion, the over 400 years old Church was not heading for a split, but "those who are not being true to what we have inherited in tradition, in scripture, should be the ones who should leave the communion entirely."
Excerpts from the Interview
QUESTION: What do you think about the Civil Partnerships Act? Gitari- It is a pity that the American Church, Church of England, ECUSA and the Canadian church have taken these things the way they are taking it especially the blessing of same sex marriages.
GITARI: The consecration of a person who is a confessed active homosexual to be a bishop came as a great shock to us. We cannot even understand it because these are the people who brought us the gospel. And they told us that homosexuality is a sin and taught us that at the beginning God created man and woman. The bible did not say a man shall leave his mother and father and be joined to another man.
It goes beyond our understanding because we have been told that marriage is for procreation. If everybody started marrying people of the same-sex, then that is the end of the human race. Now this people argue that they are born with the orientation.
But that argument is not very sound because even if I say I was born with the orientation to steal, am I still going to continue to steal. The argument about orientation does not hold water. I commend the Church of Nigeria for being upright in condemning same-sex unions.
QUESTION: Do you foresee a split in the Anglican Communion?
GITARI: I don't see the Anglican Communion eventually splitting-up. I think the communion should stay together but those who are not being true to what we have inherited in tradition, in scripture, should be the ones who should leave the communion entirely.
QUESTION: What are your views concerning women ordination in the Anglican Communion?
GITARI: In 1978, I attended the Lambeth conference where the debate on the ordination of women was one of the agenda. We debated on it and reached the conclusion that every province should go back home and continue debating whether women should be ordained or not. I went back to my diocese in Kenya and the matter was debated in four synods. We have our synods biennially. We debated in 1979, 1981 and 1983.
Every time the matter came up it was the male priests who were saying no but the laity were for it. By 1986, the motion for those against women ordination was defeated.
By that time I had already trained a number of women together with the men. And I noticed that some of the women were even better than the men. But we had to wait till the Anglican Province of Kenya agreed for the ordination of women to commence. That was in June 1990. I n my diocese, Kirinyaga, we ordained the first woman priest in 1991. Now there are now more ordained women in that diocese than all ordained women in the whole of Kenya.
I was convinced that there was nothing wrong in ordaining women so I gave them all the support. The male priests feared that their domain was being penetrated by the women. From my experience, the women have been so successful.
For instance, you take a woman to a parish which is very far behind in paying their assessment and within a short time the parish comes alive and clears up its debt.
The women brought in what I may call the feminine aspect of the ministry- the motherly touch. Their ministry has been a blessing to us in Kenya and I was surprised to hear this morning that the Church of Nigeria has not begun the ordination of women priests.
QUESTION: Has the Province of Kenya consecrated any woman Bishop?
GITARI: Not yet. But the moment you are ordained priest the possibility of your becoming a bishop is open.
QUESTION: Do you foresee a woman being presented as the Archbishop of the Anglican Province of Kenya someday?
GITARI: Once you ordain a Priest he can become a bishop. A bishop with good standing can become an Archbishop.
QUESTION: Do you see that happening to a woman?
GITARI: Yes, it can happen but I won't say it is right now. Maybe we give them another 20 years.
QUESTION: Do you see the election of an African as Archbishop of York as a prelude to the possibility of an African becoming the Archbishop of Canterbury?
GITARI: An African will not emerge as the Archbishop of Canterbury. This is because the position of the ABC is so much tied-up with the politics of Britain. The ABC, I think is about the sixth person in succession of the King of England, according to the unwritten Constitution of England. The ABC is also a member of the House of Lords.
I think for an African these are too many hurdles and complications to the office of the See of Canterbury. (Church of Nigeria News)
I'd never heard that the Archbishop of Canterbury is sixth in line to the succession to the British crown. Is that really true?
From what I can see on the Internet, the Archbishop of Canterbury isn't in the line of succession, at least through the first 50 places or so.
How does someone who should be a well-educated man come up with a statement like this? Although he is correct that the ABC is a member of the British House of Lords. But then, I believe that the ABY and another 18 of the most senior CofE bishops are also members of the House of Lords, which means that the British House of Lords ALREADY has a black man as a member.
See #4. I'd not heard it either.
I would think the Archbishop of York, as a British subject, would be eligible.
I don't know that he can be considered well educated. He obviously has trouble reading and understanding his Bible. So why would he not have trouble with this as well.
After you run through the House of Windsor, you could look to the remainder of Saxe-Coburg and its related families. Then you have the Romanov cousins and those decended from the Kaiser.
The ABoC has no more claim to the English throne than I do.
Hmmmm....I remember reading that there was a bishop named Suerbeer, Albrecht Suerbeer, who was once bishop in Armagh and then Prussia. He was German, yet he was bishop in Ireland and then Prussia (which was only partially German at the time). Another bishop, nearly two centuries later, was bishop of Riga (with only a minority German population) and then bishop of a city in France. He himself was German.
Why does any of that matter? If your Church is truly universal than race and nationalism really don't have much to do with it. Yes, race and nationality matter, but not more than the faith itself. Sadly even the Catholic Church has become too "sensitive" about hierarchical appointments.
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.