Archbishop of Canterbury admits failings in handling church split over homosexuality

By Associated Press, Updated: Saturday, September 8, 8:34 AMAP LONDON — Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has admitted he didn’t do enough to prevent sharp divisions within the Anglican church over homosexuality.

Williams, who is stepping down in December, spent much of his decade as archbishop trying to hold the diverse Anglican Communion together after the ordination of the first openly homosexual Anglican bishop, American Gene Robinson, split traditionalists, such as African churches, and liberals.


Right. But I’m really not sure what he should have done, so it’s hard for me to be critical of him.

And this is one of the reasons why we respect Abp Williams so much: he has the courage to admit his weaknesses. If only we had politicians who could learn that!

Ooooh, oooh, I know this one.

He could have started by denouncing and defrocking Bishop Spong, and calling for his excommunication. Lets follow the breadcrumbs. Wikipedia has the following to say about Righter, the bishop who ordained the first openly partner gay priest.

Following his retirement Righter served as the assistant bishop to the Rt. Rev. John Shelby Spong of the Diocese of Newark from 1989-1991."

Spong was heavy into ordination of homosexuals.

Why is Spong important? because he is a heretic that denies the gospel. He denies the Virgin Birth. He denies Christ died for our sins. He denies the resurrection. the whole homosexual ordination thing was **completely founded by a heretic/B Say good bye to the heretic, put people in charge who believe the Gospel, that is what he should have done. The rest would have followed. The Episcopal Church is basing its policy decisions, like abortion and decisions about homosexuality and marriage and ordination, on the advice of non-Christians. I have no idea why Spong even calls himself a Christian. He pretty much has denied the point of the Eucharist and most of the Nicene Creed. And yet people listen to him about what the church should be doing in these other matters. Katherine Ragsdale, the high priestess of abortion, and the head of the Episcopal Divinity School, had the man over to speak at the schoool. She doesn’t think Christ dying for our sins is “compelling” either.

And that, is why my religion notation reads like it does.**

Does the synod of the Church of England have the power to break communion with him?

The Archbishop of Canterbury failed as a leader, failed to heed the Words of St Paul and the Word of God in homosexual ordination and along with ordination of women. He is trying to accommodate the world to the Church.

No, he couldn’t, for three reasons:

  1. even in the C of E, excommunication is only possible “for some grievous and notorious crime” (B 38.2), and heterodoxy is not illegal;
  2. Anglicanism is a confederation, not an autocracy, and Spong isn’t C of E, but TEC, and thus was under Frank Griswold;
  3. even for Griswold to have removed Spong’s licence, the nearest thing to defrocking, would have been a mistake, because it would have caused division within TEC, and protecting unity is a fundamental aspect of a bishop’s role.

Still, Spong was not the origin of the issue, which was quite evident in the 1830s in the Oxford Movement.

The interview can be heard here, by the way.

With whom?

In theory, any province can break communion with any other province, although that sort of thing is what we work to avoid.

He was supposed to split homosexuality from church,ASAP, but probably there are poitical grips and money,

How can’t he condemn somebody for an abomination?

The result is years of blablabla, an i’m ashamed to say that even a catholic said once: “what’s the problem with the homosexuals…, look at the anglicans!”

The problem is more systemic than individual. The Protestant nature of Anglicanism, in spite of the claims of some (and only some) of its members to the contrary, makes it impossible to have any response to persistent heterodoxy apart from fission. And the lines are drawn. Today there is Canterbury and GAFCON, and Much division in each of those.

Anglicanism denies the Office of Peter and the teaching authority of the Church. No one, and no structure, either acknowelges the duty or can answer the call to guard and defend the Faith. Votes and consensus replace the exercise of teaching authority, and the Faith becomes what voters want or will tolerate.

This I had an opportunity to see first hand and up close, when I worshipped among the Anglicans, and served as a Rector’s Warden in a parish in the diocese of Bishop Michael Ingham, a leading and prominent heterodox in Canada and the Anglican Communion. His own diocese has, in microcosm, shattered in the manner of the communion is in the process of doing. All in all, we have a proof of Neuhaus’s Law that where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will soon be proscribed, in the form of the Anglican Communion today. Williams didn’t do that, and was in no position to stop it.

Not direct authority, but certainly influence. All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. He certainly was in the position to be the very influential. I don’t know if he every said a word about removing Spong, who has generated other heretics in our church.

As far as what another poster said about destroying unity in the church, first it needs to actually be a Christian church. Having a non-Christian in such an position of influence and power, actually publishing books denying the gospel, well, if we said good-bye to him, it is hard to believe the gospel believing faithful would be up in arms about it. The people who might have left would be the non-Christians who believed him.

I agree.



And there’s the Continuum. Don’t forget the Continuum.


*posterus traditus Anglicanus. *

Well, in a way, it’s implicitly a part of the story, because it is, it appears, in the process of growing as a result of the fission. If we take it that Continuum = Anglican but not in communion with Canterbury (setting aside the view that this is impossible, held by some in communion), and note that Nigeria and other large Anglican churches are in GAFCON, the Continuum could soon be bigger than the Communion. But, will there be more unity there in the long term?


That I cannot say. Orthodoxy, orthopraxis, and validity of sacraments are more my concern.


Anglicanus-Catholicus, posterus traditus Anglicanus.

Williams certainly denounced Spong’s 12 Theses–I find his takedown devastating.

At the time, however, Williams was not ABC but Bishop of Monmouth, and Spong was already retired.

Also, the ABC has no direct authority over provinces outside England. That may be a flaw in the Anglican Communion, but if so then the flaw is simply in our lack of union with Rome (a proposition with which I would heartily agree).

So your demand is simply unreasonable.

It’s certainly true that Williams is more comfortable with the tools of scholarly debate than with those of ecclesiastical discipline.


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