Some Canada Anglicans may reject same-sex moratorium

Wed Aug 6, 2008 2:44pm EDT
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By Randall Palmer

OTTAWA (Reuters) - There seems little chance that all Canadian Anglican clergy will honor the moratorium on blessing same-sex unions requested by the worldwide Anglican communion.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, leader of the global Anglican church, warned on Sunday that the 80-million-member church would be "in grave peril" if the U.S. and Canadian branches did not agree to moratoriums on same-sex blessings and on the ordination of gay bishops.

But the head of the Canadian church, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, told Reuters in a phone interview on Wednesday it would be especially tough for Bishop Michael Ingham of the British Columbia diocese of New Westminster to halt the homosexual blessings altogether.

Ingham caused an outcry among conservative Anglicans around the world in 2003 when he started authorizing some parishes to bless gay unions.

Hiltz pointed out that the decision-making synods of four more Canadian dioceses have in the past year asked their bishops to authorize same-sex blessings.

A quarter of the world's Anglican bishops, principally from Africa, Latin America and Asia, boycotted the decennial Lambeth (England) Conference of Anglican leaders, which ended on Sunday, because of the liberal stance on homosexuality taken by the U.S. Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.

Canada is one of the few countries in the world that has legalized gay marriage, although churches are not compelled to perform the gay wedding ceremonies.

A report midway through the Lambeth conference urged that the moratoriums be "retrospective." That means that bishops that have allowed same-sex blessings should now stop doing so.   Continued...

<p>The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams speaks during a seminar entitled 'Faith in the Future' at Great St Mary's Church in Cambridge, central England February 20, 2008. REUTERS/Darren Staples</p>