Thinking Anglicans

Primates Meeting: media coverage

Updated Tuesday morning

RTE has two video reports which are linked from this report: Anglican leader in warning over homophobia.

Associated/Canadian Press has Anglican leader says reuniting communion will be a lengthy task, but work will continue.

Irish Times Archbishop reacts strongly to queries over homophobic climate in Uganda

THE ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, reacted strongly to media questions in Dublin yesterday which queried the role of the Anglican primate of Uganda, Most Rev Henry Luke Orombi, in fomenting a climate in which gay activist David Kato was murdered there last Wednesday.

Bishop Orombi was one of seven Anglican Church leaders who boycotted the Anglican Primates Meeting in Dublin which concluded yesterday, because Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the US Episcopal Church, was attending it.

The absent primates do not approve of the US church’s ordination of actively gay bishops or its same-sex blessings.

Defending Bishop Orombi, Archbishop Williams, head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, emphasised that, as with other relevant Anglican primates, Bishop Orombi’s position concerned “exclusion from ministry on grounds of behaviour, not orientation”.

Belfast Telegraph Top cleric warns against demonising gay people

Guardian Riazat Butt Anglican leaders condemn victimisation of gays and lesbians

At a press conference, held at the Emmaus Centre, Dublin, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, reminded journalists that Orombi had signed an earlier pledge “deploring and condemning all violence and language about homosexual persons” while also warning that homophobic language had consequences – as illustrated by Kato’s murder.

Williams acknowledged there was “a critical situation” in the communion.

“The division is very real. The question is how we cope with it. Whether we are able to stay in the same room and argue the case.”

Church Times Ed Beavan has further reports, at Primates’ Meeting, Dublin: updated reports (new material is at the top of the page).

Dr Williams said that there were a “significant number of absentees for a number of reasons”, but in particular the absence of the Global South Primates “was felt and noted every day”, with their names placed on empty chairs in the meeting room and candles lit for them.

“There is a critical situation in the Communion, no one would deny that,” he said. But they would not be “closing the doors on those who are not with us”. He planned to engage in bridge-building visits to some of the absent provinces, such as South-East Asia, and had recently met the Archbishop of Kenya, who did not attend the meeting, engaging in ”a very long and detailed conversation on a variety of matters”.

Such diplomatic endeavours would be a “long task”, he admitted, and trying to keep the diverse Communion together was “difficult”; but “the task we’ve been given and part of the cross we carry.” He said he hoped the standing committee of the Primates’ Meeting, whose role was discussed in Dublin, could also be part of the process to help “re-establish local and regional relationships”.

Asked if he and the Primates would take any disciplinary action against the US Episcopal Church if it continued to ordain gay bishops, he said did not know: “he did not have a crystal ball about the future,” and that he had “no idea” if the boycotting Primates would attend the next Primates’ Meeting.

ENS Primates outline their roles, commit to ‘journeying together in honest conversation’

ENI via Christian Century Anglican archbishops end meeting on a quiet note

Christian Post Anglican Head: Nobody Denies Division

Christian Today Re-establishing relationships in the Anglican Communion will be a ‘long task’, says Archbishop


  • It is just so disappointing that the ABC, after leading the other Primates to condemn the culture of homophobia, should feel it necessary to defend one of it’s most active proponents in the Anglican Communion – Ugandan Archbishop Orombi.

    This failure to address the real problems of misogyny and homophobia within certain Provinces of the Communion signifies the fact that – it may not really matter what the Western Church says or does about the dignity of LGB and T persons, let them ‘behave’ according to the heterosexual *norm* (where child-slavery, rape, and sexual molestation is rife in certain third-world countries), and all will be well – all manner of things will be well! Well, they won’t be!

    Jesus once wept. He is probably still weeping.

  • Pat O'Neill says:

    “Defending Bishop Orombi, Archbishop Williams, head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, emphasised that, as with other relevant Anglican primates, Bishop Orombi’s position concerned “exclusion from ministry on grounds of behaviour, not orientation”.

    In the words of my 20-something sons, “I’m calling BS on that one.”

  • Counterlight says:

    It appears that the Archbishop is back to his usual form after that temporary attack of conscience.

  • badman says:

    “exclusion from ministry on grounds of behaviour, not orientation”.

    Actions speak louder than words – and the forced withdrawal of celibate homosexual Jeffrey John from the bishopric to which he had already been appointed shows that this is not true.

    But, in any event, the distinction between behaviour and orientation fundamentally fails to respect human rights, as the UK Supreme Court has recently decided in the HJ and HT case [2010] UKSC 31.

    As Lord Hope put it in that case: “To pretend that… the behaviour by which it [i.e. sexuality or sexual orientation] manifests itself can be suppressed, is to deny the members of this group their fundamental right to be what they are.”

  • Richard Ashby says:

    ‘Dr Williams rejected a suggestion that the Church of Uganda’s position on homosexuality could have fuelled homophobic actions’.

    I am sorry but I just can’t believe that this is true. The Church of Uganda has been active in supporting the parliamentary bill which proposes the death penalty for a variety of homosexual activity and makes the non reporting of homosexual activity a criminal offence. It is in such a climate, egged on by an irresponsible popular press (like our own over the past 30 years) that lives are seen a cheap and that religion is the excuse or the cause of murder.

  • Rod Gillis says:

    Positive comments from participating Primates notwithstanding, Anglicans should remain very concerned about, and critical of, the evolution and development of this body and the role it is taking on for itself without much consultation from laity and clergy in the Communion. We must keep the Primates meetings on our “hierarchy watch list.”

  • Cynthia Gilliatt says:

    The ABC’s defence of Orombi is disingenuous, at best. He must have used up all his courage in condeming David Kato’s murder and the disgracful scene at his burial.

  • Archbishop Henry Orombi, Primate of Uganda has been identified by Anglican MP David ¨Kill All the Gays¨ Bahati as his ¨spiritual advisor¨– Jeff Sharlet (author of The Family/¨C¨ Street Brotherhood), who has a ongoing professional relationsip with MP Bahati, communicates with him regularly by telephone.

    Sadly Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, refuses to face reality and continues to live/work/minister in his very own world of ¨sensibile¨ defensive pretend. How I wish he´d not make me wonder if his six months spent in Georgetown/Washington D.C. didn´t include briefings by the ¨C¨ Street Family.

  • peterpi - Peter Gross says:

    Yeah, we get it, Abp Williams and Primate Orombi, love the “sin”ner, hate the “sin”.
    We all know that’s a load of 100% pure Ministry of Agriculture-approved tripe.
    In speaking at Mr. Kato’s funeral, the CofU reader may have been superficially condemning “sin”, but in reality was condeming Mr. Kato. In introducing the “No Homos in Uganda” bill, the authorities in Uganda, with the blessing of former primate Akinola and other CofU officials (their concern was with the severity of the penalties, not the concept of the bill itself), were condemning “sin”ners, not the “sin”.
    So, Archbishop Williams, your desire to keep the Communion together is understandable, but not at the expense of sanitizing and censing the CofU’s actions, not with weary, self-pious formulae designed to encourage sanctimony among the faithful who believe it, and not at the expense of our GLBT brothers in sisters in God, seeking the mercy of God’s church.

  • Erika Baker says:

    “exclusion from ministry on grounds of behaviour, not orientation” (Rowan Williams)

    “I am sorry but I just can’t believe that this is true. The Church of Uganda has been active in supporting the parliamentary bill which proposes the death penalty for a variety of homosexual activity and makes the non reporting of homosexual activity a criminal offence.” (Richard Ashby)

    That probably happened to stop all those gay people from wanting to become priests.

  • Richard Ashby: “The Church of Uganda has been active in supporting the parliamentary bill which proposes the death penalty for a variety of homosexual activity and makes the non reporting of homosexual activity a criminal offence.”

    As odious as I agree the Primate of Uganda is, I think we have an obligation to be accurate here. The Church of Uganda, while supportive of the presumed intent of the bill, has specifically opposed both the death penalty and the non-reporting penalties.

  • Savi Hensman says:

    Richard Ashby, the Church of Uganda does not fully support the Anti Homosexuality Bill, and peterpi, former Nigerian primate Peter Akinola is more extreme than Henry Orombi. But the Church of Uganda is against human rights for LGBT people and those seeking greater equality. To quote:

    ‘The Church of Uganda associates itself with the concerns expressed in the Anti Homosexuality Bill 2009. However, instead of a completely new Bill, the Church recommends a Bill that amends the Penal Code Act (Cap.120) addressing loopholes, in particular… ensuring that sexual orientation is excluded as a protected human right…

    ‘We particularly appreciate the objectives of the Bill which seek to… prohibit the licensing of organizations which promote homosexuality…

    ‘the ideal situation would be one where necessary amendment is made to existing legislation to also enumerate other sexual offences such as lesbianism and bestiality.’

  • Phil Andrews says:

    It becomes clear from a serious study Anglican populations that the official figures usually given for the provinces that are the heartland of theological liberalism are grossly exaggerated. This applies not just to England and the USA, but also to provinces in countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, increasingly South Africa, and even Brazil. Of course, the exaggeration arises by virtue of including millions of non-practising Anglicans in the count.

    This is not to suggest that Anglican churches don’t have a special kind of ministry to “the nominals” . . . it’s just that because the figures from “Global South” provinces relate to “active participants” in church life, for the sake of a proper and unskewed comparison of who represents whom – and how many – when the primates gather, only “active participants” in the life of the Church from the provinces mentioned above should be included in the count.

    For example, the 2006 Australian census indicated that in Australia there were just under 4 million Anglicans. But the Australian National Church Life Survey put attendees on any given Sunday at less than 180,000. Even that figure gives an artificial impression when the disproportionate chunk of Sydney Diocese is taken into account.

    So, subtract from the much-quoted 80 million:

    24 million (Eng)

    3.8 million (Aust)

    3.2 million (very conservative estimate of the non-practising Anglicans included in
    the official figures for New Zealand, the USA, Canada, South Africa, Brazil etc)

    (i.e. subtract a total of 31 million)

    and you get 49 million “active” or “practising” Anglicans. Of these, 39 to 40 million are the Global South.


    Active Anglicans in liberal provinces = 9 to 10 million (and shrinking). In other words, the lowest estimate of the proportion of Anglicans in the Global South is: 39 million out of 49 million (and growing), i.e. 79.6%.

    Some regard this to be an over-generous estimate, and think that the starting figure should actually be closer to 76 million rather than 80 million, in which case we are looking at only around 4 million active Anglicans in liberal provinces, bringing the highest estimate of the proportion of Anglicans in the Global South to 39 million out of 44 million, i.e. 87%.

    Clearly, the proportion of “active Anglicans” represented by the Global South primates is somewhere between 79.6% and 87%.

    What, then, is the meaning or relevance of the Dublin Primates’ Meeting?

  • “Defending Bishop Orombi, Archbishop Williams, head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, emphasised that…Bishop Orombi’s position concerned “exclusion from ministry on grounds of behaviour, not orientation”.

    Just when we would like to give +Rowan Williams a little credit, he exposes his capacity to lie in the service of his project to prevent schism in the Communion. One cannot lie before the whole world! +Rowan has read the statement of the Church of Uganda regarding proposed legislation to imprison and execute LGBTI persons in Uganda. In that statement, the Church of Uganda commits to working to defeat the belief that LGBTI persons have human rights; the Church advocates that Uganda withdraw from any international agreement that recognizes the human rights of LGBTI persons; and the Church takes the position that any literature or meeting to discuss the possibility of human rights for LGBTI persons be prohibited. +Rowan has blatantly lied to the LGBTI community everywhere in the world. As if many are listening to him anymore. Clearly, the only audience that +Rowan is concerned with here is that of dissenting Primates.

    “Such diplomatic endeavours” constitute a task, ““the task we’ve been given and part of the cross we carry.” I cannot imagine a more morally insensitive and intellectually narcissistic statement than this one. In the context of the murder of David Kato, +Rowan Williams thinks that he is carrying the cross!!! David Kato is dead. Millions of LGBTI persons, most living in the “two-thirds world”, spend another day in a living nightmare of the fear of losing everything that matters to them, including their lives. But, for +Rowan, he is the one carrying the cross. If only LGBTI persons would just not “behave” according to their identities, we could get on with mending the fragmented Communion.

    It is stunning to know that +Rowan’s ecclesiology is so bankrupt on this critical moral issue that he imagines that his anxiety over schism is properly referred to as “his cross” while the Anglican Church that he defends made a homophobic circus out of David Kato’s funeral and stood with those who refused to bury his battered remains.

    LGBTI persons are all too familiar with +Rowan’s sort of grandiosity and narcissism. Morally bankrupt ecclesiology is at the heart of the real suffering of LGBTI persons, as well as women and children, for about two millenia now. The chief persecutor and purveyor of hate against LGBTI persons is, and has been, the Church. There is nothing new about the Church forging its unity on the backs of scapegoats. Actually, such a culture led directly to the death of Our Lord.

    I cannot read his latest remarks without feeling sick.

  • David Shepherd says:

    Father Ron Smith:
    ‘let them ‘behave’ according to the heterosexual *norm* (where child-slavery, rape, and sexual molestation is rife in certain third-world countries)’

    Your remark is rather flattering to the ‘enlightened’ first and second world countries that escape your contempt. Also, it omits the true origin of these social ills (that lies beyond heterosexual or homosexual orientation).

    Most of this behaviour was happily ignored during the rape and pillage era of the Imperial expansion. No wonder the global South is further alienated when the sinister self-serving demonisation begins to surface.

    But then, Africans just need new masters to colonise their minds with the latest theological imperatives and save us from savage selves. Any offers?

  • Laurence Roberts says:

    What karen macqueen said.

  • Pat O'Neill says:

    Phil Andrews:

    How do we know the numbers reported by the Global South provinces are any more accurate than those reported by the “liberal” provinces? Has any third-party organization–a polling company on the order of Gallop, a government census–asked about church affiliation and attendance in those countries?

  • Fr Mark says:

    Karen MacQueen: quite right, well said.

    Phil Andrews: so what if some Global South provinces have a lot of churchgoers? They are at a different stage of ecclesiastical and social development from us in Europe, I suppose. (They don’t all have large numbers, though, do they – how many practising Anglicans does the ohso vocal Province of the Southern Cone contain, for example?)

    More to the point, the standard Con Evo line is that we should challenge prevailing social norms and dare to be unpopular (in the West). How about doing the same in the Global South and radically sticking up for the basic human rights of all God’s created people, gay as well as straight? Or would that be too much of a challenge to the prevailing social norms there?

  • Merseymike says:

    I agree Karen, and that is why I am no longer part of the Church and no longer see Christianity as the path for me to follow

  • Counterlight says:

    I agree with Karen’s comments too.

    … and I’m staying. It’s God’s Church, it’s yours, and it’s mine.

    Full dignity for all of the baptized.

  • JPM says:

    Looks like Rowan’s sudden attack of courage passed quickly.

  • peterpi - Peter Gross says:

    Bravo, +Karen MacQueen! Elegantly put!
    David Shepherd, TEC is not asking the Global South to ordain and consecrate women and gay priests and bishops. TEC is asking that TEC be able to do so without the issue tearing apart the Communion, and without the Global South’s interference in TEC’s province.
    I can’t recall a single TEC presiding bishop or other bishop refusing to sit at communion with a Global South primate or bishop. Of course, given the Global South’s behavior, I guess PB Jefferts-Schori hasn’t been given the opportunity.
    How many Global South provinces or dioceses have TEC bishops poached? Oh, I’m so sorry, extra-territorially imposed themselves on?

  • One might be moved to observe that “figures lie and liars figure,” but that would be uncharitab;le.

    Mr. Andrews does speak to a real issue – that the statistical data from across the Communion is not consistent in its meaning and that comparisons are fraught with problems.

    From that point, he goes badly astray.

    For example, he claims that the membership data for the Provinces he despises includes all the “nominals.” This is simply false. Doubtless it will include some number of “nominals” who have never been purged from parish rolls, but in Canada the census number for Anglicans has always been significantly higher than the membeship data which is extracted from those parish rolls. I understand the same in the case in the US.

    Now, the membership data in the Global South is largely unconfirmable, and the claims of theses Provinces are largely taken at face value. In addition, there have been questions raised in several Provinces about the number of people who are being counted in multiple denominations.

    The upshot is that the membership data from virtually every Province is problematical and any sort of comparative analysis is best undertaken by either fools or hacks.

  • JCF says:

    If Orombi or Akinola or Okoh truly represented their churches, Phil A, then at most you’d have an impressive count of *spiritual corpses* there.

    But, thank God, I don’t believe the Purple Power-Over Pirates DO represent their people! It is the spiritual children of David Kato that are the future of Anglicanism in Uganda, not the mob indoctrinated by the Orombi.

  • JCF says:

    I would like to add, however (for clarification), that through the mercy of Christ, “spiritual corpses” may yet live! [I, too, need resurrection]

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