Archbishop of Canterbury wants Church to accept homosexuality, biography reveals

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The Independent Online

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, privately believes that the Church of England should accept homosexuality in the same way it accepts remarrying divorcees, a new biography reveals.

The biography, written by a former pupil of the Archbishop at Oxford, Rupert Shortt, says Dr Williams privately believes that an adjustment of Church teaching on sexuality is appropriate.

The book, Rowan Williams: An Introduction, states: "His private view remains that an adjustment of teaching on sexuality would not be different from the kind of flexibility now being shown to divorcees who wish to remarry, or the softening in the 16th century of the Church's once total opposition to borrowing with interest, or the 19th and 20th-century shifts on view on subjects like slavery and eternal hellfire."

A spokesman for the Archbishop said: "These are known to be his private views, I don't really think there's anything to add to that."

Dr Williams sparked controversy last December when he told a BBC2 documentary that the Bible condemned casual sex, not faithful relationships, and he could see a case for "acknowledging faithful same-sex relationships".

At the time, Dr Williams said: "If the Bible is very clear - as I think it is - that a heterosexual indulging in homosexual activity for the sake of variety and gratification is not following the will of God - does that automatically say that that is the only sort of homosexual activity there could ever be?

"My own personal conclusion is that I can see a case for acknowledging faithful same-sex relationships."

Dr Williams has approved the text of the biography, an extract of which was published in The Times. After his appointment was announced last summer, he wrote to fellow primates in the Church promising to abide by the 1998 Lambeth Conference resolution upholding traditional Biblical norms on homosexuality.

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