Anglicans Give Ultimatum To Homosexual Liberals
By Jonathan Petre - UK Telegraph
February 25, 2005
The worldwide Anglican Church was heading towards schism last night as its leaders prepared to force out the pro-homosexual liberal Americans and Canadians. In a move that will send shockwaves around the world, the primates of the 70 million-strong Church are expected to issue an ultimatum today demanding that the liberals "withdraw and consider their position". The final communique is still being drawn up, but it is certain to represent a victory for the conservative majority who have demanded discipline for bishops who defy official Church policy. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, is understood to have backed the uncompromising stance after week-long talks in Northern Ireland failed to achieve reconciliation. Though privately sympathetic with the liberals, he has fought to preserve unity because he does not want to be the archbishop who presides over the break-up of the international Communion. The development will dismay liberals across the world, and may prompt protests and even resignations from prominent C of E clerics.
Observers believe that the primates have pressed the Americans and Canadians to withdraw voluntarily because they do not have powers to suspend or expel them. Insiders said that the Americans, who triggered the crisis by consecrating Anglicanism's first openly homosexual bishop, must decide whether they want to remain part of the Communion. In the meantime, it is understood they will no longer be participants in Anglican summits.
As a condition of being restored, they will be required to concede that their unilateral actions were wrong and pledge not to repeat them. A similar set of conditions may apply to the Canadians, the main supporters of the American position.
It is understood, however, that both the Americans and the Canadians made it clear at this week's meeting, which was being held in a remote Roman Catholic retreat centre near Newry, that they were highly unlikely to reverse their deeply held convictions. The focus of the talks was the Windsor report, commissioned by Dr Williams in 2003 to try to heal the rifts created by the consecration of the Rt Rev Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire.
Bishop Frank Griswold, the liberal Presiding Bishop of the American Episcopal Church, is expected to make an initial reaction to the communique today before returning to the US. But observers believe that the Americans - and possibly the Canadians - may never regain their full status within the Anglican Communion - resulting in formal schism.
Source: UK Telegraph