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The future of the Anglican Church

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 Contents - Sep 2003AD2000 September 2003 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: The future of the Anglican Church - Peter Westmore
New auxiliary bishops appointed to the Sydney Archdiocese - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church Around the World - AD2000
Dissident US group establishing a foothold in Australian parishes - Mary-Ruth Monsour
Catholic summer conferences in the United States: signs of hope - Richard Egan
Culture: Second 'Carnivale Christi' Catholic arts festival scheduled for Melbourne - Michael Gilchrist
Events: Hearts On Fire Vocations Congress for Melbourne Archdiocese - Joanne Grainger
Understanding the Catholic Liturgy since Vatican II - Dom Alcuin Reid OSB
Pope John Paul II calls for greater use of Latin - Denis Murphy
Homosexual conduct: how Gospel teaching can be distorted - Bill Muehlenberg
Letters: Not closing ranks (letter) - Alan Gill
Letters: Hidden agenda (letter) - Dr Arthur Hartwig
Letters: Liturgical choices (letter) - Marguerite Fennell
Letters: New Mass (letter) - Philip Robinson
Letters: Converts (letter) - Kevin Tighe
Letters: Selfhood (letter) - Robert Prinzen-Wood
Letters: Prophetic words (letter) - Errol Duke
Letters: Freedom to be born (letter) - George F. Simpson
Abridged Papal encyclicals available - Fr M. Durham
Letters: Correction - Chris Hilder
Books: OLD THUNDER: A Life of Hilaire Belloc, by Joseph Pearce - Scott J. Bloch (reviewer)
Books: Some Fell On Rock, by Fr John O'Neill - Fr Peter Joseph (reviewer)
Books: The Practical Preacher: Handy Hints for hesitant homilists, by Paul Edwards SJ - Anthony Cappello (reviewer)
Books: Great books at the best prices!
Reflection: A Christian response to bereavement: Jesus' ministry to the sick and dying - Fr Dennis Byrnes

The worldwide Anglican communion faces a very real prospect of disintegration, as a result of growing divisions over the ordination of homosexual bishops, recognition of same sex marriages, and adoption of Being Human, a new document by the Doctrine Commission of the Church of England, which critics have said equates unmarried relationships with marriage, and suggests that a "good" divorce is better than a "bad" marriage.

Last June, Archbishop Peter Akinola from Nigeria said he would sever ties with the Diocese of Oxford if Canon Jeffrey John, a gay but celibate priest, was appointed Bishop of Reading. The gravity of the issue arises from the fact that there are more practising Anglicans in Nigeria than in the United Kingdom.

The divisions were averted when Canon John, at the request of Archbishop Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, declined the post. But the issue will not go away.

Since then, the Convention of the Episcopal Church of the USA, a member of the Anglican communion, has voted overwhelmingly to appoint an openly gay priest, Gene Robinson, as Bishop of New Hampshire, and is considering a move to recognise same-sex marriages.

As the Anglican Church has defined itself as being faithful to the Scriptures and Tradition, these differences are becoming increasingly difficult to paper over, and represent perhaps the greatest threat to its continued existence since Henry VIII's separation from Rome in 1534.

Although these developments would appear to make the ecumenical endeavour almost impossible, they actually confirm the common ground which continues to exist between the majority of Anglicans (in the developing world), Catholics and the Orthodox. This will be the Church's growth point in the 21st Century.

Peter Westmore is Publisher of AD2000.

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 16 No 8 (September 2003), p. 2

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