The Scottish Mail on Sunday
Archbishop hits back over ‘anti-gay’ plot
THE Archbishop of Canterbury has criticised traditionalists who are planting a ‘missionary’ bishop in the UK after last week’s historic vote by Scottish Anglicans to approve gay marriage.
The rebuke from Justin Welby is his latest bid to avert a damaging split in the worldwide Anglican Communion over homosexuality.
As reports revealed earlier this year, conservative archbishops, led by the Archbishop of Nigeria, Nicholas Okoh, are to consecrate Canon Andy Lines in the US this month after warning Western churches are abandoning biblical teaching on the issue.
These archbishops say he would support disaffected Anglicans who quit in protest at the Scottish Episcopal Church’s decision last week to become the first Anglican body in the UK to allow same-sex marriage in its churches.
But Canon Lines, a former British Army tank commander and father of three from Surrey, will also minister to traditionalist parishes that break away from the Church of England.
Now, in a confidential letter to fellow Anglican leaders, seen by The Mail on Sunday, Archbishop Welby has warned the African archbishops against creating ‘disturbance and discords’ by intervening in Britain.
Canon Lines’s presence in the UK without Welby’s approval could be seen as provocative. But his backers complain that the Archbishop failed to rebuke the Scottish Episcopalians for permitting gay marriage, even though it is out of step with Church of England official policy.
The former Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali, a prominent traditionalist, said: ‘The Scottish Episcopal Church has done something that will cause many people to exercise their right of conscience and not remain in it.
‘Who is going to look after them?’