Church wants gay bishop apology

Those supporting the consecration of openly gay clergy must accept a worldwide Anglican Communion consensus on homosexuality or risk tearing the church in two, a report warned today.

Bishops involved in the controversial ordination of Canon Gene Robinson in the US were urged to apologise for the consequences of their actions, which caused "deep offence" among the Anglican community.

Fifty American bishops attended the consecration of Canon Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire last year, causing outrage among the traditional sections of the church.

Today's Windsor Report also called on the Episcopal church in the US - which oversaw Canon Robinson's ordination - to "effect a moratorium" on the consecration of any more gay candidates until the fiercely debated issue has been resolved.

Failure to do so could lead to an irrevocable split in the church, according to the study carried out by the Lambeth Commission and set up by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.

It warned: "There remains a very real danger that we will not choose to walk together.

"Should the call to halt and find ways of continuing in our present communion not be heeded, then we shall have to begin to learn to walk apart."

The 121-page report said that those bishops who apologised should also consider whether they should withdraw from representative roles within the Anglican church.

The study referred specifically to the Episcopalian church in the US and the new Westminster diocese in Canada which permitted same-sex blessings.

Refusing to be drawn on the issue of homosexuality one way or another, the report focused on the rift the issue had caused.

It demanded an explanation from the Episcopal church in the US as to "how a person living in a same gender union may be considered eligible to lead the flock of Christ".

It asked that this explanation be backed up by passages from the scriptures.

But the Windsor Report also went on to criticise the "demonising" of homosexuality".

"Any demonising of homosexual persons, or their ill-treatment, is totally against Christian charity and basic principles of pastoral care," it said.

The report, chaired by Archbishop Robin Eames, urged all Anglican provinces around the world to support the Lambeth resolution, which called for the reassessment of the churches "care for and attitude towards persons of homosexual orientation".

Dr Eames, Archbishop of Armagh, said: "Since the 1970s, controversies over issues of human sexuality have become increasingly divisive and destructive throughout Christendom."

He described the election of Canon Robinson to Bishop and the blessing of same-sex unions in Canada as uncovering "major divisions throughout the Anglican Communion".

He went on: "There has been talk of crisis, schism and realignment. Voices and declarations have portrayed a communion in crisis."

Dr Eames said the depth of feeling on all sides had led to "a degree of harshness and a lack of charity which is new to Anglicanism".

He insisted today's report was not a judgment but part of an ongoing process.

He said: "It is part of a pilgrimage towards healing and reconciliation."

The Rev Martin Reynolds, spokesman for the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, said they were pleased with the overall tone of the report.

He said: "Whilst we are very saddened by the suggestion that bishops who have been supportive of Gene and supported same–sex blessings should withdraw from the councils of the church, we are very happy with the general tone of the report which is aimed at healing and reconciliation."

He added they were buoyed by the section of the report which said the debate over homosexuality had not ended.

Mr Reynolds said the fact that the report suggested the communion established structures for ongoing discussion meant that the "voice of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement could be heard".

He went on: "That makes a change from being strangled as some people are literally in many places around the world."

Mr Reynolds said the report's demand for an explanation as to why a homosexual could be a religious leader was an excellent opportunity to open dialogue with the church.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower