English Survey Intensifies Anglican Debate Over Gay Ordinations
Nineteen of England's Anglican bishops have knowingly ordained practicing homosexuals, a Christian gay rights group announced on July 13. The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement surveyed 1,000 gay clergy in the Church of England, asking them to identify bishops who ordained, licensed, or employed them in full knowledge of their sexual relationships. The Church of England's bishops decided in 1991 that practicing homosexuals could not be ordained.
Several Anglican bishops condemned the survey, saying that its methods of gathering information were flawed. The survey, which does not name the nineteen bishops, was released on the eve of a debate on homosexuality by the General Synod, the church's governing body. On July 14, the leader of the Church of England, the archbishop of Canterbury, offered to set up an international commission on the issue of ordaining practicing homosexuals. Archbishop George Carey, who opposes homosexual ordination, said that he would raise the matter at a 1998 meeting of the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Communion is composed of the Church of England and 34 national churches descended from it, including the Episcopal Church in the United States.
©1997 Heather Elizabeth Peterson