The Archbishop of Wales has admitted openly that he has ordained a man whom he knew had a homosexual partner. Archbishop Rowan Williams made the revelation in an interview with Anglican Media Sydney during a visit to Australia in the last week of May.
He explained: “I was aware that there was a long-term friendship. But I don’t see my task as going around the bedroom with a magnifying glass doing surveillance. I do see my job as making sure that someone who is going to be a priest in the Church is taking full responsibility for all that means.” He said that his pastoral principle in ordination is to ensure that the would-be priest will conform their lives and that of their household to Christ. But he acknowledged that ‘conforming your life… to Christ’ doesn’t necessarily mean giving up a homosexual lifestyle. “This is where I recognise I am in the minority, so I am cautious of making this a great campaigning issue. I am not convinced that a homosexual has to be celibate in every imaginable circumstance.”
In the past, his tacit support of homosexuals has been known, but until now he has not been so open in not following the policy outlined in Issues in Human Sexuality, which concluded that the Anglican Church should not ordain practising homosexuals.
Only days before his interview, in a visit to Uganda, Archbishop Williams said that his views on homosexuality were in a minority in the Anglican Communion. In response to questions after a lecture he gave at the Uganda Christian University, Archbishop Williams drew a distinction between conclusions he came to as a theological professor and what the Church officially says. “And I hope there may still be the possibility of thinking through these issues and saying: ‘Well, we don’t know all the answers yet, and not assuming straight away that this is the one issue that must divide us as Christians’. “That I know, is a controversial point of view. I wish I could say more wholeheartedly that I accept ever aspect of the traditional teaching and that I accept personally every aspect of what the majority of people in my Church believe. I can’t say that in conscience… So my hope is not to impose a view from America or Britain or anywhere else on any other province, but to see if we can go on talking prayerfully with each other, reading the Bible together with each other, to see what we can learn.”