The Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, has called for restraint and a period of reflection from Anglicans following the decision of the Canadian diocese of New Westminster to approve a rite for the blessing of same-sex unions.
Writing to fellow Anglican primates, Archbishop Carey said that the decision had major implications for the whole of the Anglican Communion and urged that individual dioceses should not “go it alone” in respect of such matters.
“Precisely because there are strong views on all sides of this issue, I believe that departure from the main thrust of Anglican moral tradition is sufficiently significant for individual dioceses not to act alone in relation to it.”
Archbishop Carey has also written to the diocesan bishop, Michael Ingham, seeking clarification on five points:
- The precise status of the decision, the consent and ratification required and the process which now ensues;
- The extent and limitation of the pastoral oversight delegated to any episcopal visitor scheme;
- Safeguards for clergy and others dissenting from the move;
- The contribution so far and possible future role of the Canadian house of bishops; and
- The extent to which wider factors, including the implications for the Province and the Anglican Communion were a part of the debate.
The archbishop called on his fellow primates to resist invitations to intervene in the matter and thereby avoid aggravating an already volatile situation. He has also asked for their prayers and for support for the dialogue he has initiated with the diocese of New Westminster and the church of Canada.
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