Archbishop of Wales attacks fundamentalists for damaging Anglican unity

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A senior Anglican leader has lamented the loss of “a generosity of spirit and diversity” in the worldwide church.

The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said that fundamentalists are damaging Anglican unity and there should be a backlash against them.

His comments come at a delicate time for the Communion.

Later this week the Lambeth Conference of Anglican leaders from across the world begins in Canterbury.

Held once every ten years, the conference has been hit by boycotts and exclusions.

The only openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, has not been invited, while around 300 fundamentalist bishops have declined invitations because they are unhappy with the Church’s stance on gay issues.

Dr Morgan said that if the bishops of Wales voted to consecrate a gay man as a priest he would back them.

“It would be my job to say ‘you have to vote according to your conscience, but I’m duty bound to tell you that it will have repercussions as far as the wider Anglican communion is concerned,'” he told The Sunday Telegraph.

“If they said they want to do that well so be it. If a priest had a partner and someone nominated them that wouldn’t be a bar to them becoming a bishop.”

Dr Morgan, who succeeded Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, as the leader of the Anglicans in Wales, had strong words for those in the Church who take a hardline stance against acceptance of gay people.

“There used to be a generosity of spirit and diversity in the Anglican communion,” he said.

“There should be a backlash against this fundamentalism that has been thrust upon us.

“It is contrary to the ministry of Jesus and damaging that in the Church, we’re still fighting battles that have already been won in society.”

300 bishops gathered at the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) last month.

They approved the formation of a new global network to fight against the preaching of “false gospels” of homosexuality and other “immoral” sexual behaviour.

The group claims to represent 35 million of the 77 million Anglicans worldwide and rejects the acceptance of gay relationships and the ordination of gay clergy and formed the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FOCA).

Critics have called the new group a “church within a church.”

Though the majority of dissenting clergy are from the developing world, some traditionalist English, Australian and American Anglicans have joined the fellowship.

The ongoing row over homosexuality within the Church began in earnest with the ordination of Gene Robinson in New Hampshire in 2003.