Anglican bishops arriving for the Lambeth Conference yesterday were told to stop their backstabbing and in-fighting if they were not to “weaken the body of Christ”.
A background paper distributed to 650 bishops and archbishops attending the ten-yearly conference in Canterbury told them to remember that their relationships with each other were “fragile and tainted by sin”.
Anglican rows over ordaining gay priests and women bishops were damaging for “all the baptised”, it said. But the most stinging criticism was for conservative bishops, of whom 230, mainly from Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda, are boycotting Lambeth.
The paper, commissioned by Dr Williams, made clear that bishops who had transgressed diocesan and provincial boundaries in search of “orthodox” primacy were considered guilty of undermining collegiality. An even worse sin, it suggested, was boycotting the conference.
The warning was published in the Lambeth Reader, a document intended only for delegates but seen by The Times. “Given the present state of the Anglican Communion it is the special collegial responsibility of the bishop to be at prayer for and with fellow colleagues,” the paper said.
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