Archbishop of Canterbury says he won't press gay priest issue

BY Advocate.com Editors

December 27 2002 1:00 AM ET

The archbishop of Canterbury said in an interview broadcast Sunday that he did not intend to push the church into discussing the issue of gay priests.

The Most Reverend Rowan Williams, who became leader of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion earlier this month, has said recently he can "see a case" for acknowledging same-sex relationships and has admitted ordaining a priest he knew was living in a gay partnership. But when asked Sunday by the British Broadcasting Corp. whether gay rights should be acknowledged by the Church of England, he answered: "It's certainly no part of my program to change this or even to push it as a matter of discussion. But there it is on the table: We have to think about it. My hope is simply that we think about it without too much rancor, too much prejudice, or too much fear."

The issue was prominent at the 1998 Lambeth Conference, a gathering of Anglican bishops from around the world. As archbishop of Canterbury, Williams has said he would enforce a Lambeth resolution condemning gay relationships as "incompatible with Scripture" and opposing the blessing of same-sex unions and sex outside of marriage.

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