African Anglicans denounce Church of England gay bishop rule
By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor
PARIS (Reuters) - Senior African Anglican leaders have lined up to denounce the Church of England's decision to allow celibate gay bishops, warning it would only widen the divisions within the worldwide Anglican Communion.
Archbishop Nicholas Okoh of Nigeria, effectively the largest province in the Communion, said such reforms "could very well shatter whatever hopes we had for healing and reconciliation within our beloved Communion."
His comments on Wednesday followed similar denunciations on Monday by Ugandan Archbishop Stanley Ntagali and Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya, who is also head of the Gafcon group of traditionalist Anglican primates opposed to gay clergy.
The global Communion of 80 million Anglicans split deeply after Canada's Anglican Church began blessing same-sex couples in 2002 and the Episcopal Church, its United States branch, ordained Gene Robinson as its first gay bishop in 2003.
The African churches, a major bloc of Anglicans around the world, were in the vanguard of the traditionalists opposing the change as contrary to Biblical teaching.
The Church of England had bowed "to the contemporary idols of secularism and moral expediency," Okoh said, and "is one step removed from the moral precipice we have already witnessed in The Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church in Canada."
"The supposed assurances of celibacy, while perhaps well intentioned, are both unworkable and unenforceable," he added.
CHALLENGE FACING WELBY Continued...