Archbishop of Canterbury backs Anglican 'Holy Office'
An Anglican version of the Holy Office—the Vatican body responsible for endorsing doctrine and suppressing heresy—was proposed on Friday in an attempt to resolve the ongoing rows over homosexuality and bring the church back from the brink of schism.
The initiative, revealed on Friday in Canterbury as the town hosts the Lambeth Conference, would tackle divisive issues such the ordination of gay clergy and the blessing of same-sex relationships.
The Vatican body is formally known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Setting up an Anglican “Faith and Order Commission” could bring guidance on “issues raised by our current crisis”, according to a document released by the Windsor Continuation Group, which analyses tensions within the communion.
The document criticised warring factions and highlighted the impact of their dispute. “We denigrate the discipleship of others,” it said. “This has led to the fragmentation as well as to confusion among our ecumenical partners.”
The archbishop of Canterbury indicated his support for such a commission, telling a press conference: “It is a flag raised to see who salutes it. There is a strong feeling we need another structure that would be a clearing house for some of these issues. There’s quite a head of steam behind that. I’m actually quite enthusiastic about that. We’ll see how that flies.”
He also said he wanted the 670 delegates attending Lambeth, the once-a-decade gathering of the world’s Anglican bishops, to show solidarity during the second half of the conference. “What I hope will have emerged is that it is worth working and staying together, that relationships will have made people see that unity and cooperation of the communion is not a small thing and its loss is not to be taken lightly,” he added.
Williams’s call for unity came hours before a keynote address from Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, the most senior figure in the Roman Catholic church in England and Wales.
O’Connor said: “Our church takes no pleasure at all to see the current strains in your communion. We have committed ourselves to a journey towards unity, so new tensions only slow the progress.” - guardian.co.uk