London Times reports plans to give Archbishop of Canterbury much more authority
One of the major issues involved in the Anglican Communion's debate over a gay bishop in the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) is the church's long-standing polity that leaders of one church body don't interfere with another. Last week's statement from the Anglican primates (leaders of national Anglican churches) put it this way: "bishops must respect the autonomy and territorial integrity of dioceses and provinces other than their own."

That includes the Archbishop of Canterbury, who, while spiritual head of the church, has no authority to punish ECUSA or to forbid its consecration of a gay bishop.

That's about to change, according to a report in today's London Times (not available for free to those outside the U.K., but being quoted at length on Anglican sites). "The Archbishop of Canterbury will be granted sweeping new powers under secret proposals to force rebel Anglican churches into line," the paper reports. "The planned changes in church law would give Dr Rowan Williams the power to intervene in the affairs of churches outside England for the first time since the Church was established by Henry VIII. The proposals, which would have to be agreed by the Church's separate provinces, have already aroused suspicions that they will turn the Archbishop into an Anglican version of the Pope."

The Times says this was a written proposal discussed during the primates' meeting, not something created since then in response to their call for a commission to study the Archbishop of Canterbury's role in maintaining communion.

So far, it's just one report, but it will certainly cause a stir in Anglican circles.

Also causing a stir: News from Canada that "an Anglican priest has had his pay cut off and his church has been recommended for 'termination' after his parishioners voted to defy their bishop by refusing to support blessings for same-sex unions."

More on Anglican woes:

  • Split imminent in the Anglican Church | Biblically, when you are a Christian, you are no longer expected to live as you please. The Bible becomes the final authority on any matter. That is why liberalism should only be an attitude advanced in the sense of tolerance, but when it comes to issues of the gospel, it cannot be tolerated (Francis Ayieko, The Nation, Kenya)

  • Just talk? Or is it time to walk? |Traditionalist Episcopalians, fresh from an angry exchange with liberal leaders, are watching what happens next week, when an openly gay bishop is slated to take power in the United States (World)

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Gene Robinson speaks:

Opinion on Anglicanism:

More articles

Lt. Gen. Boykin (news):

  • Secretary denies any pressure to fire Boykin | Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday that he is under no pressure from the White House to fire Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, despite President Bush's public distancing of himself from the general's remarks about Islam (The Washington Times)

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  • Religion playing a role in war on terror | The subject of religion has taken a prominent spot right where President Bush didn't want it — front-and-center in the war against terrorism (Associated Press)

Lt. Gen. Boykin (opinion—pro):

  • Who is William Arkin? | A look at the Greenpeace activist cum L.A. Times military affairs columnist who's taking after Gen. Jerry Boykin (Hugh Hewitt, The Weekly Standard)

  • A Christian warrior under fire | Boykin seems to be exactly the kind of warrior America needs to lead us in battle against the kind of fanatics we face (Patrick J. Buchanan, The Washington Times)

  • Support urged for Lt. Gen. Boykin! | Anyone who dares to live out his faith in public will be cut down (James Dobson, Focus on the Family, audio)

Lt. Gen. Boykin (opinion—con):


  • Group: Chinese church activist charged | Xiao Biguang's arrest in Henan province last month was "probably related to his writing of articles" dealing with "Christian charters" (Associated Press)

  • Church leaders back China policy | "There are no underground churches in China," say officials from the China Christian Council and the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (Religion News Service)

  • Churches cry foul over compensation | Churches affected by a violent protest against the secret removal from Malawi of five Muslim foreign nationals suspected of being al Qaeda agents on Thursday cried foul and accused government of not caring to compensate them months after handing over their assessments (The Nation, Malawi)

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Life ethics:


Church life:

Mel Gibson's The Passion of Christ:

  • Jesus actor struck by lightning | The lightning bolt hit Caviezel and the film's assistant director Jan Michelini while they were filming in a remote location a few hours from Rome (BBC)

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  • Gibson's 'Passion' to debut Ash Wednesday | Newmarket specializes in publicizing and securing theaters for such art-house films as "Memento," "Real Women Have Curves" and "Whale Rider." (Associated Press)

  • Distributor and opening are set for Mel Gibson's film on Jesus | William Tyrer, a partner in and a founder of Newmarket Capital Group, said it "was uniquely qualified to carefully handle this artistic achievement and honored to have the opportunity. We wouldn't be supporting it if it was anti-Semitic." (The New York Times)

  • Gibson's film all about his own agenda | The less obvious but more dangerous problem is that the movie about the death of Jesus is probably not Christian (Steve Gushee, Palm Beach Post)



  • When 2 is less than 1 | Solo efforts by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins aren't doing as well as hoped (New York Daily News, second item)

  • Religious women fill pews but not the history books | Perturbed by the absence of female voices, University of Chicago historian Catherine Brekus organized the first national conference on women in American religion (Chicago Tribune)

Judaism and Christianity:

  • They argue, we die | Jews need to stop arguing and start working together (Ira Rifkin, Jewsweek)

  • Messianic, yes; but it isn't Judaism | With the Jews for Jesus gathering like a dark cloud of locusts, it is no wonder that Jews across the county flipped out when The Post used a picture of a Messianic congregation celebrating "Tashlich," the ceremony of casting one's sins upon the waters (William Gralnick, Palm Beach Post)

Spirituality surveys:

  • Next stop, the pearly gates | Nearly two-thirds think they're going to heaven, while few believe they're hell-bound, poll finds (Los Angeles Times)

  • Just call us 'ORENONE' | 'No religion' is most common response in church membership surveys (The Register-Guard, Eugene, Ore.)

Politics and law:

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  • Election boils down to a culture war | Abortion issue is first skirmish in the battle for White House (Howard Fineman, Newsweek)

  • Amish here won't shun triangles | The familiar orange triangles marking the back of Amish buggies aren't likely to disappear from Lancaster County's landscape, even though a Pennsylvania appeals court ruled Tuesday that a conservative Amish sect in Cambria County is exempt from using them (Intelligencer Journal, Lancaster, Pa.)

  • Navy blues | Are evangelical chaplains who refuse "to preach pluralism among religions" too "narrow" for the Navy? (World)

Pledge of Allegiance:

Roy Moore and the Ten Commandments:

  • Alabama chief justice fights to keep job | Alabama's suspended chief justice has asked that five of the nine members of the Court of the Judiciary be disqualified from hearing the ethics case that could lead to his removal from office (Associated Press)

  • Woman says sign, monument the same | Why can a Ten Commandments roadsign be in full public view without controversy and Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore's Ten Commandments monument can't? (Montgomery Advertiser, Ala.)

  • Moore wants Pryor off case | Moore's attorneys contend that Pryor and his office have had a history of defending Moore and his stand on the Ten Commandments (Montgomery Advertiser, Ala.)

  • Court remands fee request in Moore case | A federal appeals court gave the state another chance Friday to oppose a request for nearly $78,000 in fees and expenses for a lawyer who sued to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building rotunda (The Birmingham News, Ala.)

  • Ten Commandments bill introduced | A copy of the Ten Commandments would be displayed in the U.S. Capitol under a bill introduced Tuesday in Congress by members from Alabama and Florida (The Birmingham News, Ala.)

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  • Moore efforts to remove Pryor renewed | Lawyers for suspended Chief Justice Roy Moore on Thursday renewed efforts to disqualify Attorney General Bill Pryor from prosecuting Moore on ethics charges (The Birmingham News, Ala.)

Sexual ethics:


  • Ex-mentor at L.I. church is charged with sodomy | A former youth minister at a Long Island Roman Catholic parish was arraigned on Thursday on a felony charge that he sodomized a teenager he had met through the church, police said (The New York Times)

  • Accusers of one priest reject church deal | Hope to prove that Paul Shanley abused them while church leaders ignored their allegations and tried to cover up the scandal (Associated Press)

Other stories of interest:

  • Shoe box charity in religious row | Operation Christmas Child withdrawn after claims the charity was sending evangelizing literature in the gift boxes (BBC)

  • The mystery of the missing links | It is becoming fashionable to question Darwinism, but few people understand either the arguments for evolution or the arguments against it (Mary Wakefield, The Spectator, U.K.)

  • Religion news in brief | Church of Scotland's first woman leader, Ecumenical Patriarch urges EU to refer to Christian heritage in new constitution, and other stories (Associated Press)

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