The Archbishop of Canterbury’s latest proposal to mediate a gay rights dispute splitting the worldwide Anglican Communion seems to be falling on deaf ears in the opposing camps he is trying to discipline. Archbishop Rowan Williams, spiritual head of the world’s 80 million Anglicans, suggested last week that member churches approving gay bishops and same-sex unions and those actively opposing them be sidelined from official doctrinal committees.
The initiative was sparked by the consecration of an openly lesbian bishop in California last month. Williams also said conservative churches — mostly in Africa — that appoint bishops to serve in other countries would also be sidelined.
The proposal, if accepted in the Communion, would be the first time such sanctions would be imposed on dissident national churches. Unlike Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism is a federation of churches whose head has no direct power over all members.
A group campaigning for homosexual rights in the Communion said the threatened discipline caused it little worry because the committees the dissenters could not work on were “trivial.”
“These are delaying tactics, sops to the conservatives, which in reality gives them nothing,” Colin Coward, director of Changing Attitude, UK, told Reuters.