Saturday, 13 September 2008

Bishop Venables: Canadian Primate’s Proposal a ‘Publicity Stunt’

Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables, primate of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone, expressed dismay and suspicion after Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of Canada, went public with his request for Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to convene a meeting to discuss cross-border incursions.

In an interview published Sept. 10 by the Anglican Journal of Canada, Archbishop Hiltz said he had requested that Archbishop Williams convene a meeting with Bishop Venables, himself, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, and Archbishop Mauricio de Andrade, primate of Brazil.

“I talked to Fred about this at Lambeth, but it never occurred to me that a private discussion would become public without us both agreeing first,” Bishop Venables told The Living Church. “It looks more like a publicity stunt than a serious desire for dialogue.

“What more is there to discuss? I told him why I was doing this and he told me how he felt about it,” Bishop Venables said. “Boundary crossing is not the primary issue. It is a secondary issue resulting from the communion-splitting action of blessing sexual sin by the U.S. and Canadian churches.”

The Canadian diocese of New Westminster has permitted individual congregations to conduct same-sex blessings since 2002 and Bishop Michael Ingham of New Westminster has repeatedly rejected calls for him to withdraw his consent. Archbishop Hiltz said the Windsor Continuation Group’s renewed call at Lambeth for a moratorium on same-sex blessings also represents “a huge pastoral challenge” for the bishops of four other Canadian dioceses where the diocesan synod has asked the bishop for permission to conduct such blessings. Read more
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