The Anglican Church has slapped sanctions on its liberal U.S. branch for supporting same-sex marriage, a move that averted a formal schism in the world’s third-largest Christian denomination but left deep divisions unresolved.
The Anglican communion, which counts some 85 million members in 165 countries, has been in crisis since 2003 because of arguments over sexuality and gender between liberal churches in the West and their conservative counterparts, mostly in Africa.
Following four days of closed-door talks, the heads of the world’s 38 Anglican provinces said the liberal U.S. Episcopal Church would be barred for three years from taking part in decision-making on doctrine or governance.
Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry told his peers at the talks that he remained “committed to ‘walking together’ with you as fellow primates in the Anglican family”, but lamented their decision.
“For fellow disciples of Jesus in our church who are gay and lesbian, this will bring more pain,” he told the gathering in remarks reported by an Episcopal news website.
The sanctions also prevent the U.S. church from speaking on behalf of Anglicans on interfaith or ecumenical bodies and bar it from certain committees for three years.
There were widespread fears of a schism ahead of the talks, which were convened by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the spiritual leader of Anglicans.
One of the most outspoken conservatives, Archbishop of Uganda Stanley Ntagali, proposed at the talks that the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, which is considering also approving same-sex marriage, should withdraw from communion activities until they repent.
The proposal was rejected, and Ntagali left the meeting early, although he stopped short of quitting the communion.
The slap on the wrist for the Episcopals appeared to satisfy no one, with gay and lesbian Anglicans expressing outrage while conservatives said the sanctions did not go far enough.
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Source:: PM Newspaper