Anglican archbishops demand expulsion of Canadian branch
June 08 2004 12:00 AM ET
Archbishops representing more than half of the world's Anglicans have called for the Canadian church to be expelled from the denomination because of its stand on gays. In a statement Sunday on behalf of 22 Global South Primates--representing 50 million of the 77 million-member Anglican Communion--Archbishop Gregory Venables called the Anglican Church of Canada's recent decision to affirm the "integrity and sanctity" of same-sex relationships was "rewriting the Christian faith."
"The use of the word sanctity means that the whole issue has already been decided, and that is devastating," Venables, who leads the Anglican Church in six South American nations, told London's Daily Telegraph.
Last Thursday the Canadian branch of the church approved a measure to "affirm the integrity and sanctity of committed adult same-sex relationships." The decision stopped short of authorizing blessing ceremonies for gay couples but still provoked outrage among the Anglican Communion, a global association of churches that includes the U.S. Episcopal Church. The Canadian church also decided last week to delay any national go-ahead on blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples until at least 2007.
"We would like to see them expelled. This is going against Christian teaching, and they should either repent or shut the door behind themselves," Venables said. Some Canadian Anglicans said they weren't surprised by the reaction and said they were confident that the church would not split over the issue.