He was speaking after a draft motion for the Lambeth Conference in Kent caused a rift among the 650 of Anglican bishops from the global Anglican communion; The motion was to consider reaffirming Lambeth’s 1998 resolution that “upholds marriage as between a man and a woman”.
However after strong protests and several revisions the motion was amended to acknowledge deep divisions. Anglicans in Scotland, Wales and the US take a liberal position while Anglicans in Africa and Asia are conservative.
In 1998 the Lambeth Conference adopted resolution that “legitimizing or blessing of same sex unions” cannot be advised. However in a letter to bishops on Tuesday, the Archbishop acknowledged clearly emerging global division.
He said: “I write therefore to affirm that the validity of the resolution passed at the Lambeth Conference 1998, 1.10, is not in doubt and that whole resolution is still in existence.”
He said that the motion before the conference states that “many Provinces — and I think we need to acknowledge it is the majority — continue to affirm that same-gender marriage is not permissible”.
“The Call [motion] also states that other Provinces have blessed and welcomed same sex union/marriage, after careful theological reflection and a process of reception. In that way, the Call states the reality of life in the Communion today. There is no mention of sanctions, or exclusion, in 1.10 1998. There is much mention of pastoral care. We have a plurality of views.
“As Lambeth 1.10 also states: ‘All baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation are full members of the Body of Christ’ and to be welcomed, cared for and treated with respect (1.10, 1998)’.”
He later added: “I neither have, nor do I seek, the authority to discipline or exclude a church of the Anglican Communion. I will not do so.”
Former Church of Ireland Gazette Editor Canon Ian Ellis said the division was “deeply disturbing” and that he “does not see any change of circumstances or in prayerful and scholarly research to warrant abandoning the considered view”. But Changing Attitude Ireland, an Anglican LGBT advocacy group, “lamented” the 1998 resolution being raised again “especially in light of the hurt and division it caused the first time”.