Nigerian archbishop warns of break with mother church

Nigeria’s Anglican archbishop said on Thursday that Nigerian churches might cut ties with the Church of England if it did not revise its stance on homosexuality, which accepts gay priests in same-sex partnerships.

“As of now, we have not yet reached the point of schism, but there’s a broken relationship,” Archbishop Peter Akinola told reporters in the capital, Abuja.

Akinola had already spoken out against a July 25 announcement from England’s bishops that said gay priests who register same-sex partnerships under a new civil law will remain in good standing so long as they promise to remain celibate.

Akinola said on Thursday that there was still hope to recover church unity if churches that have adopted liberal lines on homosexuality showed “repentance”.

With 17,5-million Anglicans, Nigeria has a strong voice in the 77-million-member worldwide Anglican Communion. The Nigerian Anglican Church has taken a lead role in opposing any church acceptance of homosexuality, through the Global South grouping of churches in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The Nigerian and Ugandan churches led by outspoken traditionalists broke ties with the United States Episcopal Church over its 2003 consecration of a gay bishop living with a partner. It has also broken ties with Canada’s Anglican church over its blessing of same-sex marriages.

The dispute over homosexuality in the United Kingdom has deepened divisions.

Since Nigeria has already cut ties with the Anglican church in the US over homosexuality, “why should England be spared?” said Akinola.
“What’s good for the geese is good for the gander.”

Despite his warnings on Thursday, Akinola said he still considered the Church of England the mother church of Anglicanism. - Sapa-AP

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