Saturday, July 26, 2008
Rowan keen on "Faith and Order"
Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams backs 'Anglican Inquisition'
The Archbishop of Canterbury has backed the creation of a new body to rule on controversies in the church, which has been likened to an "Anglican Inquisition".
By Martin Beckford, Religious Affairs Correspondent
Last Updated: 6:43PM BST 25 Jul 2008
Dr Rowan Williams said there was a "very strong feeling" within the 80 million-strong Communion that guidance is needed on questions of Biblical teaching, which have led it to the brink of schism over sexuality.
He said he was "enthusiastic" about the idea of a Faith and Order Commission that has been proposed by a group set up to resolve the crisis triggered by liberal Americans, who in 2003 elected an openly gay bishop, the Rt Rev Gene Robinson.
But liberals claim the Commission - which would be based on a code of Canon Law and which is being proposed in addition to a new set of rules to bind the provinces of Anglicanism - has echoes of the medieval Inquisition, which was used to enforce Roman Catholic doctrine and punish those condemned as heretics.
It came as the most senior Catholic in England and Wales, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, warned of the "shadows" spreading over the relationship between Rome and Canterbury caused by the liberal attitude of some Anglican churches towards homosexuality and the introduction of women to the clergy.
Asked about the Commission at the Lambeth Conference, the once-a-decade gathering of 670 Anglican bishops in Canterbury, Dr Williams said: "There's a very strong feeling that we need another kind of structure in the Communion that would be a clearing house for some of these issues.
"There's quite a head of steam behind that, just to sort out the kind of issues that have arisen and what kind of level of seriousness they are at and how they may be addressed. I'm actually quite enthusiastic about that."
But it is unlikely it will be supported either by hardline conservatives, who set up a new movement in Jerusalem last month and who are now trying to establish a new Anglican province in America, or by liberals who want national churches to be autonomous.
A spokesman for John Chane, the liberal Bishop of Washington, said it was "troubling but unsurprising" that bishops and officials were recommending new structures that strengthen their roles "at the expense of clergy and lay people".
Read it all here: http://tinyurl.com/59cxqm