By Andrew Brown, The Guardian.
Justin Welby has summoned all of the 38 leaders of the national churches of the Anglican communion to a meeting in Canterbury next January, where he will propose that the communion be reorganized as a group of churches that are all linked to Canterbury but no longer necessarily to each other.
He believes that the communion – notionally the third largest Christian body in the world with 80 million members, after the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox – has become impossible to hold together due to arguments over power and sexuality and has for the last 20 years been completely dysfunctional.
A Lambeth Palace source said on Wednesday the archbishop felt he could not leave his eventual successor in the same position of “spending vast amounts of time trying to keep people in the boat and never actually rowing it anywhere”.
Welby believes that his proposal would allow him to maintain relations both with the liberal churches of North America, which recognize and encourage gay marriage, and the African churches, led by Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria, who are agitating for the recriminalization of all homosexual activity in their countries.
Both will be able to call themselves “Anglican” but there will no longer be any pretense that this involves a common discipline or doctrine.
Asked whether this represented, if not a divorce, a legal separation, a Lambeth source said: “It’s more like sleeping in separate bedrooms.”
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