Archbishop of Canterbury predicts "new alignments"—but do orthodox believers want an alternative, or something wholly new?
Much play is being given to a new article by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual head of the Anglican Communion worldwide. In what's being called his "bleakest assessment yet," Williams wrote in an article for the conservative publication New Directions that he doesn't expect "the next few years to be anything other than messy." Especially notable is this paragraph:

I suspect that those who speak of new alignments and new patterns, of the weakening of territorial jurisdiction and the like, are seeing the situation pretty accurately. But what then becomes the danger to avoid is an entirely modern or post-modern map of church identity in which non-communicating and competing entities simply eradicate the very idea of a 'communion' of churches.

Various British newspapers try to discern his meaning. Says The Telegraph, "He hints that he is prepared to see the creation of a Church-within-a-Church to allow liberals and traditionalists to co-exist. Previously this has been ruled out as too radical."

The Guardian sees the situation as much more dire, titling its article "Archbishop dares to speak its name: the breakup of the Anglican church." The paper complains of Williams' "customary opacity," and says its interpretation is varied:

The journal, published by a group which a decade ago opposed the ordination of women but ultimately did not leave the church, may have been chosen as a means of preaching to would-be splitters. Or, as some at Lambeth believe, it may have just been an opportunity that presented itself to the unworldly archbishop. He is understood not to have consulted staff before writing the article shortly before last month's U.S. decision.

A source close to Williams tries to help The Guardian out. "There has been a lot of loose language on both sides about excommunication, but the article represents a recognition by the archbishop that this is not a bluff and people ought to consider that," the unnamed source said.

But it's The Times of London that provides some important insight (the article isn't available at the Times site for nonpaying American readers. Fortunately, Classical Anglican Net News has posted it):

Dr. Williams' article and his reference to 'new alignments' indicate that the solution for which he might argue when the primates meet in London is a new province that crosses national boundaries that would act as a haven for traditionalists and evangelicals who oppose Western liberal developments such as the election of non-celibate gay bishops. However, most evangelicals are unlikely to support this solution as they do not want to be officially sidelined into a sectarian wing within the wider Church, and would prefer to work on transforming structures from within.
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That's right. All this talk of "alternative oversight" and "flying bishops" and whatnot is probably beside the point now. Yes, the liberals had the votes to approve the openly gay Gene Robinson as bishop. But orthodox Christians make up the majority of the Anglican Primates (leaders of the international Anglican provinces, such as the Church of Nigeria, the Episcopal Church USA, etc.). And they'd rather see the Episcopal Church USA declared non-Anglican and start afresh with an orthodox church than to let the Episcopal Church USA's Robinson decision stand and merely set up an alternative church for those opposed to gay bishops and marriages.

"A senior Anglican source in London confirmed [Southern Cone Archbishop Gregory] Venables's assessment that at least 22 of the [38] primates would demand the breach with America," says The Times. (Archbishop Drexel Gomez, the Primate of the West Indies, only counted 14-20 in an interview with The Telegraph.)

The Times story ends with a harrowing side-note: "The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement is asking David Blunkett, the home secretary, to bar [Archbishop of Nigeria Peter] Akinola from entering Britain in October on the grounds that he might incite hatred of gay people." Um, isn't it Akinola who has more to fear from the visit?

NYT: Many homosexuals don't believe in marriage
Canadian homosexuals haven't rushed to the altar largely because many of them don't believe in marriage, The New York Times reported Sunday. "I'd be for marriage if I thought gay people would challenge and change the institution and not buy into the traditional meaning of 'till death do us part' and monogamy forever," said Mitchel Raphael, editor of the Toronto gay magazine Fab. "We should be Oscar Wildes and not like everyone else watching the play."

David Andrew agrees. "Personally, I saw marriage as a dumbing down of gay relationships," he said. "My dread is that soon you will have a complacent bloc of gay and lesbian soccer moms."

At issue, isn't really marriage, it's monogamy. "I can already hear folks saying things like: 'Why are bathhouses needed? Straights don't have them,'" University of Toronto sociologist Rinaldo Walcott wrote in Fab. "Will queers now have to live with the heterosexual forms of guilt associated with something called cheating?"

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"First of all, it's not 'something called cheating,' it's cheating, pure and simple." responds National Review Online's Jonah Goldberg. "What such cutely ironic post-modern quips reveal is that many in the gay community don't really mean it when they say they want access to the institution of marriage. … If the activists think marriage can still be something called marriage, after the folks at Fab magazine rewrite all the rules, then they are the ones who just don't get it."

More articles

More on the Anglican Church breakup:

Other churches and sexual ethics:

  • African discusses issue of gay clergy | The issue of homosexual clergy must be handled carefully so it does not divide Christian churches in Africa already facing enormous challenges, the new head of the All Africa Conference of Churches said (Associated Press)

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More on gay marriage:

  • It was a surprisingly quick engagement | Acceptance of gays is now widespread—but same-sex marriage could be the biggest battle (Los Angeles Times)

  • Netherlands answer Vatican with gay marriage manual | The guide offers advice on campaigning for same sex-marriages and explains how the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize such unions (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

  • Republicans to force issue of gay 'marriage' | Senate Republicans plan to use a hearing this week to force Democrats to take firm positions on same-sex "marriages," a prospect that could prove particularly dicey for some presidential candidates (The Washington Times)

  • Anti same-sex coalition plans to target MPs | The coalition has launched a campaign to defend the current definition of marriage and it's urging people to attend prayer vigils outside the offices of all 301 MPs this Sunday (CBC, Canada)

Sexual ethics:

  • Chastity begins at home | Despite a sexualized society, some Scots choose to put off sex until marriage (Sunday Herald, Glasgow, Scotland)

  • Christian protester issued summons for battery at gay festival | Police said Grant Storms scuffled with a security worker at a French Quarter bar (Associated Press)

  • Also: Eye of the storm | The Rev. Grant Storms has grabbed national publicity by denouncing this weekend's Southern Decadence gay-pride festival in the French Quarter. But his career as a preacher has had its own controversy: virulent attacks on Catholicism and a "moral failing" that cost him the pulpit at one of his churches (The Times-Picayune, New Orleans)

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  • Domestic partners to get county benefits | The County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to make Durham the first county in the state to provide health insurance benefits to same-sex domestic partners of county employees (The Herald Sun, Durham, N.C.)

Sexual abuse:

Politics and law:

Public religion:

  • Grand Canyon a praiseworthy natural setting in God debate | The fight for the right to post biblical passages in public places has spread to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, where three plaques quoting verses from the book of Psalms were removed from scenic overlooks (The Washington Times)

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  • Staying true to God and country | How does your faith view patriotism and following the law of the land? (Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Calif.)

  • Ventura cross is a legal hot potato | Some say the city's decision to auction the hilltop icon is the best way to handle what has become a fiery conflict over church and state (Los Angeles Times)

  • Defying the dependent deity | I do not mean to be either cavalier or sacrilegious, but it occurs to me that the God so often discussed nowadays seems as dependent on the government as a welfare mother (Richard Cohen, The Washington Post)

'Christian' Europe:

  • Churches to clarify—not glorify the EU | The World Council of Churches has called for the European constitution to note the role Christianity and other religions have played in shaping Europe (EU Observer)

  • Schröder backs Turkey's EU bid | The EU is not a "Christian club," but rather a "political community of values," says Turkey's PM (Deutsche Welle, Gemany)

Religion and politics in Australia:

  • Sorry, Mr Downer, we do need our meddlesome priests | Clerics have had a political voice for more than 3000 years—and long may it continue (Barney Zwartz, The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

  • Downer comments were a wake-up call | The Church has every right to be heard, but it also has a duty to keep its principles prominent (Jim Wallace, The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • The sermon and the soapbox | It's no surprise Alexander Downer copped clerical flak for a speech he gave in Adelaide accusing church leaders of "overtly partisan politicking" (Miranda Devine, The Sydney Morning Herald)


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  • Sex ed or porn 101? | Indecent lesson plans (Robert Rector, National Review Online)

  • Scandal just tip of Baylor iceberg | Beneath the turmoil from the still-unfolding basketball murder saga—which has led to the resignations of the school's basketball coach and athletic director—is internal strife over where the 158-year-old institution is headed (San Antonio Express-News, Tex.)

  • Universities should honestly promote tolerance of views | What if conservative Christians tried to rush a gay-rights group and elect new leaders? (Terry Mattingly, Scripps Howard News Service)

Church life:

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Aging and ministry:

Pop culture:

Christian comedians:

Gibson's The Passion:

  • Caution greets Gibson's Jesus film | Mel Gibson is expected to show some major studios a version of his controversial movie about the crucifixion of Jesus by mid-September in the hope of finding a distributor, Hollywood executives said (The New York Times)

  • What would Jesus speak? | Many of the critics and scholars who have seen it screened in advance have accused it of both antisemitism and historical ignorance—an ignorance all the more appalling in light of its pretensions to be cinema verité (Forward)

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  • New look at Pius XII's views of Nazis | Diplomatic documents recently brought to light by a Jesuit historian indicate that while serving as a Vatican diplomat, the future pope expressed strong antipathy to the Nazi regime in private communication with American officials (The New York Times)

  • Heavenly pilgrimage | Catholics and non-Catholics alike find the Vatican art collection in Fort Lauderdale divine (, Fla.)

  • Bishops should be front-line warriors against the loss of belief | Catholic social teaching is invaluable to the West. It must be the church's priority (Angela Shanahan, The Age, Australia)

  • A fortified church, at too high a price | Two overseas contacts with connections deep inside the Vatican have confirmed that the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, is almost certain to be made a cardinal soon. But both poured cold water on a rumour that Pell will also replace Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as head of the church's doctrinal watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (Chris McGillion, The Sydney Morning Herald)


  • Medicine's new faith connection | Doctors and hospitals are increasingly turning to the power of religion to promote healing and wellness. But the partnership has some observers feeling a little queasy (The Buffalo News, N.Y.)

  • Q & A with David Wilkinson: 'Science is exploring what God has done' | The ordained Methodist minister holds a doctorate in theoretical astrophysics and has received a number of scientific honors including the Chalmers Prize for Theoretical Physics and the Reidel Research Prize (The Dallas Morning News)

Other articles of interest:

  • The weather is divine | Long Island's beaches and state parks stir the spirits of followers and, sometimes, passers-by (The New York Times)

  • Shaker sampler | In New England, discovering the religious sect's simple gifts to American culture (Los Angeles Times)

  • Sacred mysteries: The Lindisfarne Gospels | For the monks who made the Lindisfarne Gospels, followers of the spirituality of St Cuthbert, the book of the Gospel was like the Ark of the Covenant in which God was present to the people of Israel (Christopher Howse, The Daily Telegraph, London)

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  • Africa missionary Donal Lamont dies at 92 | Roman Catholic missionary fought efforts to create an apartheid state in the former British colony of Southern Rhodesia—now Zimbabwe—after it declared its independence from Britain in 1965 (The New York Times)

  • The advent of Christian feminism | Zealots who patrol the ideological walls of established feminism will not welcome the new arrivals at their gate (Wendy McElroy, Fox News)

  • Minister, family flee war-torn Liberia | The Rev. Danny Buegar hopes peace paves way for return home (The Times, northwest Indiana)

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