Canterbury archbishop-designate describes views on sexuality

Posted: Friday, August 16, 2002

LONDON (AP) -- The newly nominated archbishop of Canterbury, in his first letter to colleagues in the Anglican Communion, sought to calm traditionalists upset about his views on homosexuality.

Rowan Williams, currently archbishop of Wales, has ordained a sexually active gay man during his career. But in his letter, he said he would not impose his views on his church.

''An archbishop is not someone elected to fulfill a program or manifesto of his own devising, but to serve the whole communion,'' he wrote.

The letter was written July 23, the day he was appointed to succeed the Most Rev. George Carey, who is retiring Oct. 31. The text has just been released to the public.

Williams affirmed the Anglican ban on same-sex marriages and ordaining non-celibate gays, adding that ''my ideas have no authority beyond that of an individual theologian.''

He said he hoped to maintain a respectful climate for reflection on the issue, which has contributed to the deep rifts between traditionalists and liberals among the world's 70 million Anglicans. The Anglican Communion includes the Episcopal Church in the United States.


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