Thursday, 4:30 PM
Episcopal leader pushes for a compromise on gay rights
(AP Photo/Judi Bottoni)
Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican spiritual leader, spoke to reporters today in New Orleans.
By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff
NEW ORLEANS -- Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said today that the breakup of the Anglican Communion would mark an unacceptable "failure" and that he believes compromise is possible between opposing factions over gay rights.
After a tense morning of meetings, at which an Egyptian bishop said some Anglicans now view the Episcopal Church as "a different religion," Williams acknowledged that "temperatures are very high" in the 77-million member global Anglican Communion. But he sought to tamp down talk of an imminent schism, saying that "despite what has been claimed, there is no ultimatum" facing the Episcopal Church.
Williams also urged unhappy conservative Episcopalians to try to stay in the church and said that the recent trend of African Anglican leaders consecrating American priests as African bishops constitutes "foreign incursions" in the United States and "make it more difficult to find solutions.''
Williams spoke to the media after a day and a half of talks with about 159 Episcopal bishops who have gathered here for their semi-annual meeting. After the press conference and a lunch, Williams departed for Armenia; he said that next week, after the Episcopal bishops wrap up their meeting, he would review what actions they take in response to criticism from conservatives before deciding how to proceed.