Comments: Archbishops write to all Primates & to presidents of Nigeria, Uganda

Thank you, Archbishops. This is a hugely appreciated communique.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 29 January 2014 at 6:05pm GMT

Probably the best we can expect, and it's not bad.

Thank you Archbishops.

Posted by FD Blanchard at Wednesday, 29 January 2014 at 6:21pm GMT

We have discussed this Dromantine Anathema and its place in the development of an Anglican polity several times here on TA.

It would be churlish not to welcome this letter. But let us be frank, it is hardly brimming with the deep sense of contrition one would expect from penitents who have so recently confessed to their failures.

Perhaps it's brevity will make it more powerful..........

The responses (if any) will be fascinating. I can imagine the likes of Martyn Minns will be sharpening their pencil and calling Canterbury to account for the failure to discipline TEC ..... This anathema was only signed up to by the likes of Akinola who thought us worse than pigs and dogs as a quid pro quo for nailing TEC to the floor.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Wednesday, 29 January 2014 at 6:34pm GMT

Cripes, what a carefully worded almost-an-admonition! The archbishops cannot manage a single syllable of actual censure. It is worded so carefully that one might get the impression that people of same-sex orientation are to be offered NO MORE than 'pastoral care and friendship.'

Posted by stephen Morgan at Wednesday, 29 January 2014 at 7:36pm GMT

It's not remotely commensurate with the scale of the injustice and oppressiveness of the legislation. Still, it is an indication that our weak, spineless 'leaders' whom it is quite impossible to respect do respond to pressure.

Posted by John at Wednesday, 29 January 2014 at 8:11pm GMT

Well thank goodness for that!

Posted by Flora Alexander at Wednesday, 29 January 2014 at 8:37pm GMT

Thank you, at last.

Posted by Lorenzo at Wednesday, 29 January 2014 at 9:25pm GMT

Too little, too late. Jesus wept.

Posted by JCF at Wednesday, 29 January 2014 at 9:46pm GMT

I can feel a chorus of "We have a Gospel to proclaim" coming on.

At last, the putative Leader of our beloved Anglican Communion Primates, the Archbishop of Canterbury - together with his fellow Primate, the Archbishop of York - has spoken out; against the institutional homophobia of the GAFCON enclave. In doing this, the Archbishops have clearly enunciated their common opposition to the nasty goings on in the GAFCON Provinces of the Communion that have given Anglicans a bad name.

This will no doubt set the cat among the pigeons in Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda (and a few other assorted anti-gay covens within the Communion). However, the re-iteration of the acceptance of LGBT people by the Dromantine Bishops needed to be declared in no uncertain terms. Deo gratias!

We now await, without fear, the expected response of Archbishop Okoh, Head of the GAFCONites. His reaction to the Letter from the archbishops may be crucial to the hopes of unity in the Communion.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 29 January 2014 at 10:16pm GMT

I am profoundly glad and relieved of this statement. The silence was very distressing and disturbing.

Posted by Craig Nelson at Wednesday, 29 January 2014 at 10:41pm GMT

... at last, something from Canterbury and York. It is of course mealy and heavily nuanced but it's a start.

Now, where is something similar from 'Archbishop' Robert Duncan of the ACNA.

Posted by Concerned Anglican at Wednesday, 29 January 2014 at 11:03pm GMT

About time, better than nothing I suppose, but by not much.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Wednesday, 29 January 2014 at 11:12pm GMT

It sure as hell isn't my language, and it probably won't make any difference in Nigeria and Uganda, but it might be exactly what's needed to stop the idea that it's a good thing for Anglican Bishops to sponsor anti-gay legislation from spreading further. Won't be enough to make the phrase 'Church of England' being synonymous with homophobic bigotry in this country, though.

I think it would be very useful for Jefferts Schori to speak, but not to African bishops where as a smart white woman she was already a DefCon 1 threat to masculine security even before David Virtue and ACNA decided to paint her as a fully paid up Agent of Satan Out to Destroy the Church.

She should instead speak publicly to the ACNA bishops and ask them to use their influence to lobby against the passage of the Bill in Uganda and some amelioration of the witch hunt in Nigeria. In her best "these boots are made for walking" combative mode. They won't do any such thing of course, any more than they did at GafCon Nairobi. But that needs to be made very clear to everyone, including people who maybe have just drifted into worshipping in their parishes without knowing the whole history.

Posted by The Rev'd Mervyn Noote at Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 12:55am GMT

As Stephen Morgan says, not a syllable of actual censure. Welby and Sentamu can't even bring themselves to say "LGBT" or "gay people," preferring the evangelical code-speak, "same sex attraction."

This mealymouthed tokenism is worse than saying nothing. Sad to say, it's exactly what I expected and predicted.

But, easy as it is to condemn them and their empty words, these pathetic men accurately represent what the Church of England has become. They're just a symptom.

Posted by James Byron at Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 1:07am GMT

" I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not." BUT the archbishops courageously stood up and firmly said that we should all be nice to each other, even LGBT's.

Posted by Nathaniel Brown at Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 2:23am GMT

I'd call it weak tea, but that'd be excessive praise.

Posted by John Wirenius at Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 3:55am GMT

Tepid. Still, tepid water can save skin from frostbite. Maybe - despite their intentions, I'm sure - it will actually help some gay folks, somewhere.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 5:28am GMT

Come on grumpy guts, it's a good start, and the archbishop is in Africa as this is published. I say God shine a light on him.

Posted by Lorenzo Fernandez-Vicente at Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 8:05am GMT

No, Lorenzo, I can't agree.

It's a late start, a far-too-delayed start.

A start is about all I can give it. It's not a good start. It's about five years too late to be a good start.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 10:03am GMT

I am grateful that the Archbishops have spoken out and given reassurance to gay people in Nigeria that the way they are being treated is against Christian principles. We must now continue our fight for a repeal of the law by lobbying our MPs and the government.

Posted by Davis Mac-Iyalla at Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 10:51am GMT

There is a painful sense in which this letter talks about gay ("SSA") people as if they were alcoholics or drug addicts, who cannot be affirmed in their harmful lifestyle but only supported and respected in their efforts to change.

GAFCON bishops believe they *are* being friendly, supportive and loving towards gay people by making their intimate relationships illegal. After all, we do not love the drug-abuser by making their drugs legal and respectable. Instead we offer support to those trying to kick their habit. GAFCON clearly see homosexuality in the same light. I doubt they would see themselves as 'victimising' gay people but rather as trying to save them. So this letter will unfortunately be water off a duck's back.

The root of the problem is the literalist interpretation of scripture on this issue. Somehow the church has managed to surmount OT (and then NT) literalism on the issues of food laws, circumcision, slavery, headcoverings, divorce, and the ordination of women, but gay people and their supporters are not a large enough group to force sufficient theological reflection just yet. I do believe it will come, at least in this country. In the meantime though the pain of being disrespectfully and patronisingly treated as a harmful problem goes on.

Posted by Tess at Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 11:50am GMT

The statement may be weak tea, but it is more than former Archbishop Williams ever did.
Within the overcautious diplomatic language, the message and its intended target are clear to anyone who has paid attention to this issue and to events in Nigeria.

Posted by FD Blanchard at Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 2:58pm GMT

The problem, as I see it, with the reference to the Dromantine communiqué is the context in which it was written - a time of intense focus on one minister's personal life and 'recommendations on the future life of the Anglican Communion in the light of developments in Anglican life in North America.'

Just prior to the part of the communiqué cited by the archbishops is the following statement:

'Many primates have been deeply alarmed that the standard of Christian teaching on matters of human sexuality expressed in the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10, which should command respect as the position overwhelmingly adopted by the bishops of the Anglican Communion, has been seriously undermined by the recent developments in North America.'

Nowhere does the communiqué condemn the criminalisation of gay people, which was already the reality in the majority of the countries represented, or consider this in relation to any other standard of Christian teaching. So the regurgitation now of the passage which appears to be favourable to gay people should be seen in the context of general episcopal hostility to gay people in the life of the Communion.

It remains unclear whether the archbishops are making reference to the new legislation, which would be a re-interpretation of Dromantine, it seems, or to the general level of rhetoric which has followed the passing of the new laws, or to suggestions as to how to treat those convicted of new offences.

Posted by Andrew at Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 5:24pm GMT

Exactly, Tess, it's so vague it can be read any which way. That is, I believe, the point.

This isn't a "start," it's a continuance, and it's hollow. It has all the moral and rhetorical force of going up to a white power march and saying, "Careful now."

Posted by James Byron at Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 5:44pm GMT

I think the intention is reasonably clear. To quote a headline from the Monitor in Uganda, 'Canterbury and York Archbishops criticise Uganda anti-gay laws' ( and other journalists have understood the statement in similar ways.

Posted by Savi Hensman at Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 11:54pm GMT

FD Blanchard: I have no time for Rowan Williams, the Neville Chamberlain of Anglicanism, but in the interests of fairness, I have to say that he did condemn the Uganda bill in 2009, in terms a lot stronger than this:-

"Overall, the proposed legislation is of shocking severity and I can't see how it could be supported by any Anglican who is committed to what the Communion has said in recent decades. Apart from invoking the death penalty, it makes pastoral care impossible -- it seeks to turn pastors into informers."

Posted by James Byron at Friday, 31 January 2014 at 12:22am GMT

Until our leaders are willing to *celebrate* gay and lesbian sexual relationships, and not just tolerate them, I will listen to Jefferts Schori.

I'm pleased *something* has been said, but the context in which it's been spoken is still all kinds of wrong.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Friday, 31 January 2014 at 1:44am GMT

You know, a person could almost get the impression that these gentlemen disapprove of something.

Posted by JPM at Friday, 31 January 2014 at 7:07pm GMT

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has described the recent signing of the Anti-Gay Bill into law by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as a right step in the right direction for the protection of the dignity of the human person and commended the president for the courageous act, in spite of pressures from some international communities.

The conference made this remark in a letter of congratulations sent to the president on behalf of the Bishops and all Catholic faithful in the country by the President of the Conference, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos.

Archbishop Kaigama noted that the action of the Nigerian Government is in consonance with the moral and ethical values of the Nigerian and African cultures which uphold the sanctity of the institution of marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Note no mention of polygamy and clerical concubinage!

Posted by robert ian Wiliams at Monday, 3 February 2014 at 5:08pm GMT
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