Moratoria may pose ‘difficulties’

Published October 1, 2008

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams attempts to bridge both sides of the issue.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has acknowledged that, while “a strong majority” of bishops present at the Lambeth Conference agreed on the need for moratoria on same-sex blessings and on cross-border interventions, they were aware of the “conscientious difficulties this posed for some.”

Archbishop Williams said “there needs to be a greater clarity about the exact expectations and what can be realistically implemented.” Many Canadian bishops have expressed concern about the lack of clarity regarding the moratoria (please see related story, page 1.)

In a letter sent to bishops of the Anglican Communion on Aug. 26, Archbishop Williams said that many bishops, especially the newer ones, said that “they had been surprised by the amount of convergence they had seen.” He added: “And there can be no doubt that practically all who were present sincerely wanted the Communion to stay together.”

Archbishop Williams said that, while it “remains to be seen” how the sense of belonging together “will help mutual restraint” when dealing with the divisive issue of sexuality, “it can be said that few of those who attended left without feeling they had in some respects moved and changed.”

The final document released by bishops at the Lambeth Conference, held July 16 to Aug. 3, was also “an attempt to present an honest account” of what was discussed and expressed in so-called indaba groups, said Archbishop Williams. He said that, while the document, called Reflections, was not a formal report, it nonetheless identified what bishops considered to be priorities in the Anglican Communion.

“There was an overwhelming unity around the need for the church to play its full part in the worldwide struggle against poverty, ignorance and disease,” he said. “The Millennium Development Goals were repeatedly stressed, and there was universal agreement that both governmental and non-governmental development agencies needed to create more effective partnerships with the churches.”


  • Marites N. Sison

    Marites (Tess) Sison was editor of the Anglican Journal from August 2014 to July 2018, and senior staff writer from December 2003 to July 2014. An award-winning journalist, she has more that three decades of professional journalism experience in Canada and overseas. She has contributed to The Toronto Star and CBC Radio, and worked as a stringer for The New York Times.

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