Differing views on sexuality may affect primates’ meeting, warns Hiltz

Published October 26, 2010

Archbishop Fred Hiltz flanked by ELCIC national bishop Susan Johnson and Paul Feheley, principal secretary to the primate. Photo: Harvey Shepherd


The strain caused by differences of opinion about matters of sexuality appears to be evident among primates of the world’s Anglican churches. This could affect a primates’ meeting planned for January, says the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.

“There is a lot of tension within the group,” Archbishop Fred Hiltz said last Sunday in his address to the Oct. 22-25 joint meeting of the Anglican House of Bishops and the Lutheran Conference of Bishops in Montreal. Some primates seem “unwilling to come to the table with everyone present,” he said. This suggests that some primates strongly opposed to same-sex marriages would not be willing to attend with primates of more favourable or nuanced views.

Archbishop Hiltz said the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams may try to deal with this problem by arranging prior meetings of smaller groups of like-minded primates.

The pastoral statement on sexuality that came out of the General Synod 2010 last June in Halifax confirmed that Canadian Anglicans differ on the issue but are still willing to walk together. Copies of the statement were sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury as well as to all primates across the Anglican Communion. Few primates commented, but those who did were quite favourable to the views expressed, noted Archbishop Hiltz.

Speaking in a broader context, the primate said his recent visits to Canadian dioceses have encouraged him. “This is a time of buoyancy in the life of the church.”


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