Issue No. 13Wednesday 5 August 1998
The Official Newspaper of the
Lambeth Conference

Web highlights provided by Anglicans Online from the official edition.

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Sexuality resolution: back to original text
by David Skidmore

The human-sexuality resolution originally published in the Conference's blue `Proposed Resolutions' booklet is the text to come before bishops in this afternoon's plenary. Confusion about which resolution to bring to the plenary sparked protests during the closing moments of the Conference's first business plenary yesterday afternoon.

The chair of the subsection on human sexuality, Bishop Duncan Buchanan (Johannesburg, South Africa) had presented a revised version of the resolution at the morning press conference. But after hearing Bishop Michael Nuttall, chair of the Resolutions Committee, announce at the plenary that the original form of the resolution released on Monday would be considered instead, several bishops demanded that the revised version take its place.

The revised version takes a harder line on homosexuality by opposing ``the legitimising or blessing or ordaining'' of persons in same-sex unions, and substitutes the word ``chastity'' for ``celibacy'' as the only appropriate choice for single people. At the same time it states that homosexuals are ``full members of the body of Christ'' and deserving of the Church's pastoral ministry. The bishops argued that the resolution appearing in the booklet was never reviewed and approved by the subsection, much less voted on by the whole section. Because of the pressure to produce the final section report on sexuality, the group never got around to drafting a resolution, Bishop Harry Goodhews (Sydney, Australia) said. Bishop Buchanan, he said, took it upon himself to draft a resolution and submit it on behalf of the section.

``In terms of procedure it was more appropriate to have the resolution the group agreed on,'' Bishop Goodhews said, earning a round of applause from the bishops. Bishop Richard Harries (Oxford, England) expressed ``great disappointment'' with the Steering Committee's decision. The revised resolution, he said, is a ``very finely balanced'' approach resulting from two weeks of agonising work. Bishop Nuttall said the Conference Steering Committee had made the decision to use the original version as the lead resolution. The revised version could be submitted as an amendment. The Steering Committee, he said, took into account that the original version had not been discussed or voted on by the full section.

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