Archbishop believes church must change on homosexuality
The Archbishop of Canterbury believes that the Church of England should change its mind on homosexuality in the same way that it has already altered its teaching on slavery, hellfire, usury and marriage after divorce reports the Times.
According to a new biography, Dr Williams believes that faithful gay partnerships should be accepted by all Christians who endorse contraception.
After the Archbishopís appointment was announced last summer, he wrote to his fellow primates in the Anglican Church worldwide, promising to abide by the 1998 Lambeth Conference resolution upholding traditional teaching on the issue.
But according to the book, Rowan Williams: An Introduction, by Rupert Shortt, a former pupil of Dr Williamsí at Oxford and currently the Religion Editor of The Times Literary Supplement, the Archbishopís private view remains at odds with this.
Mr Shortt, who had five face-to-face sessions with Dr Williams and three telephone interviews, and who allowed him copy approval of the text, writes: ìHis private view remains that an adjustment of teaching on sexuality would not be different from the kind of flexibility now being shown to divorcees who wish to remarry, or the softening in the 16th century of the Churchís once total opposition to borrowing with interest, or the 19th and 20th-century shifts of view on subjects like slavery and eternal hellfire.î
Bishops were recently accused of endorsing double standards by advocating in the report Issues in Human Sexuality that gay clergy should remain celibate while accepting the possibility of gay relationships among the laity.
Before his appointment to Canterbury, Dr Williamsís refusal to endorse this report when asked by Dr George Carey, his predecessor, is understood to have cost him the Diocese of Southwark.
His subsequent pledge, however, to line up behind the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution, even though he abstained from signing it at the time, has won him the support of all but the most hardline evangelicals.
He is likely to have a difficult time from the conservative wing when he addresses a national evangelical conference at Blackpool this year.