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Archbishop of Canterbury appears to chide U.S. Episcopalians

Archbishop of Canterbury appears to chide U.S. Episcopalians

The archbishop of Canterbury has criticized the attitude of those who have provoked the Anglican Communion's crisis over gay bishops, implicitly taking the U.S. Episcopal Church to task for a lack of repentance. "An apology may amount only to someone saying, 'I'm sorry you feel like that'; and that doesn't go deep enough," Archbishop Rowan Williams said in a letter to leaders of national churches within the Anglican Communion. His office released the text on Sunday. Williams had expressed his dismay last year when the Episcopal Church proceeded with the consecration of an openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. The dispute outraged Anglican conservatives and threatens to split both the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion of 38 national churches. The so-called Windsor Report, released by an Anglican commission in October, was sharply critical of the Episcopal Church, saying it had failed to consult with other Anglican churches before taking the divisive step. When that report was released, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Frank T. Griswold, said, "We regret how difficult and painful actions of our church have been in many provinces of our communion, and the negative repercussions that have been felt by brother and sister Anglicans." But Griswold expressed no regret for the elevation of Robinson, saying his church was seeking to live the Gospel "in a society where homosexuality is openly discussed and increasingly acknowledged." Though Williams once knowingly ordained a gay man as a priest--and at first backed the appointment of a celibate gay man as a bishop in England--his letter spoke of the need for repentance. "So if it is true that an action by one part of the communion genuinely causes offense, causes others to stumble, there is need to ask, 'How has what we have done got in the way of God making himself heard and seen among us?"' Williams wrote. "Have we acted in such a way as to suggest that we do not believe we are under the authority of Scripture--that the Church is not the creation of the Word? Have we bound on other churches burdens too heavy for them to bear, reproaches for which they may suffer? Have we been eager to dismiss others before we have listened?" Williams added that the Windsor Report "rightly warns us against an idea of 'autonomy' that simply takes it for granted that every local church does what it thinks is right." Williams's office released the text of the letter on Sunday, following a London Sunday Times report that highlighted his reprimand of those who have made derogatory comments about homosexuals.

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