Friday July 9, 2010

Anglican Conservatives Foil Attempt to Appoint Gay Bishop in England

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

BRITAIN, July 9, 2010 ( – An attempt to name an openly homosexual priest as Anglican Bishop of Southwark in England has been foiled by conservatives following the premature revelation of his candidacy, according to reports in the British media.

Dr. Jeffrey John, who lives in a civil union with a man, while claiming to live a chaste life, was rejected after a leak to the media that he was under consideration, provoking a strongly negative response from more conservative Anglicans. It is the second time his candidacy has been rejected. The first rejection, in 2003, happened under similar circumstances.

Dr. Rowan Williams, the Anglican Communion’s leading bishop, was reportedly infuriated by the leak and has launched an investigation to determine who was responsible for it.

The conflict over the abortive appointment of John comes as the Anglican leadership prepares to meet Saturday in a General Synod to discuss another issue of contention in the Anglican Communion: the appointment of female bishops. Female priests are already a cause of bitter division among Anglicans, and for many, female bishops are sufficient reason to terminate their relationship with the Communion.

Anglican conservatives in Britain, the United States, and other countries have broken communion with their local bishops in recent years over such issues, and in some cases have initiated the process to enter into communion with the Catholic Church.

An openly homosexual bishop, Gene Robinson, was appointed as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003, and only two months ago an open lesbian, Mary Glasspool, was named suffragan bishop in the diocese of Los Angeles. Both live with their gay lovers. Their appointments have accelerated the process of disintegration in the Anglican Communion.