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Catholic leaders cautious about Anglican report on church divisions

Catholic leaders have reacted cautiously to a major Anglican Communion report that establishes guidelines for tackling controversial issues such as blessing same-sex unions and ordaining gay bishops.

"We can't speak in one voice on this document until it's been fully debated," said Auxiliary Bishop Philip Pargeter of Birmingham in the UK, who is head of the Committee for Christian Unity of the Bishops of England and Wales.

"In the meantime, Catholic-Anglican relations are ongoing. Any moves to keep the church's traditional teaching would obviously be a good thing," he said.

In the United States, Archbishop Alex J. Brunett of Seattle, Catholic co-chairman of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, said although he had not yet read the full report, from what he had seen it would not resolve the issues that had stalled the international dialogue.

"I don't think the study, from what I've seen, has resolved the issue because ... there isn't any format or structure yet present in the Anglican Church by which they can resolve these issues," he said.

The two prelates were reacting to the Monday's release of The Windsor Report, commissioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, spiritual head of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Dr Williams commissioned the report a year ago after the ordination of an actively gay bishop in the United States and the blessing of same-sex unions in Canada's New Westminster Diocese. The actions threaten to split the Anglican Communion, which represents about 77 million Anglicans around the world.

Among its recommendations, The Windsor Report called for a moratorium on consecrations of gay bishops and on blessings of same-sex unions until the Anglican Communion's 38 self-governing provinces reach a consensus.

Bishop Pargeter said he expects The Windsor Report to be discussed at a November session of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.

Pictured: The Most Revd Robin Eames, the Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland, and Chairman of the Lambeth Commission, presents the Windsor Report 2004 to journalists in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral on Monday (Anglican Communion website)

Catholic leaders cautious about Anglican report on church divisions (Catholic News Service 20/10/04)

The Windsor Report website (Anglican Communion)
Catholic Church in England and Wales | Committee for Christian Unity

22 Oct 2004