Priest seeks to indict archbishops for treason

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A PARISH priest in west London is attempting to have the Archbishops of Canterbury and York convicted of treason, which can carry the death penalty, as his way of trying to stop the ordination of women.

The Rev Paul Williamson, priest in charge of St George's Hanworth, claims that the ordination of women is nowhere permitted by the Bible, and, therefore, is prohibited to the Church of England.

He has laid a complaint at Feltham Magistrates' Court that 'the accused archbishops have entered into a course of conduct precisely aimed at destroying the constitution of the Church of England, which establishment is part of the constitution of the United Kingdom, and have published and promoted the same to the detriment of church and state. Therefore, the said Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of All England and the Archbishop of York, Primate of England, are by overt acts guilty of treason.'

Mr Williamson said yesterday: 'I consider that both archbishops have broken their consecration oaths and their oaths of allegiance, and that is perjury.'

However, consitutional lawyers pointed out that very similar arguments were brought in the High Court by the Church Society, a conservative evangelical group, in an attempt to prevent Parliament approving the ordination of women last autumn. The court rejected their arguments, and held that the General Synod was quite competent to decide what was the doctrine of the Church of England.