The head of Australia's largest Anglican diocese has suggested that Anglicans, including himself, could seek alternative spiritual leadership, reported Catholic News Service Nov. 24.
Archbishop of Sydney Peter Jensen’s comment was motivated by his disagreement with the recent consecration of openly gay clergyman Gene Robinson as bishop in the Episcopal Church of the U.S., and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s response to the controversy.
Jensen said the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams disfavors Robinson’s consecration because of the disunity that has been caused in the Anglican church. But Jenson would have hoped the Anglican spiritual leader “would speak against it because it's wrong in itself," he said, reported CNS.
In the past, Jensen has said that two distinct "Anglicanisms" could develop as a result of the disagreement regarding homosexuality in the church. However, this time he proposed that “it was conceivable that a diocese like Sydney, finding more in common with the global south churches than those in the West, could look for alternative leadership to that provides by Canterbury,” said CNS.
The strongest opposition to Robinson’s consecration comes from developing nations in Africa, Asia and Latin America, where the Anglican church is experiencing the greatest growth.
Jensen named Nigeria, which is home to almost 20 million Anglicans, as an alternative leadership. The Nigerian church decided last week to sever ties with the U.S. Episcopal Church.
However, Jensen hasn’t committed to alternative leadership yet. According to CNS, he said the move depends on "what Canterbury does" in the time ahead.
Australia’s liberal Anglican primate, Archbishop Peter Carnley of Perth, has played down the possibility of a split, and has not ruled out the possibility of homosexual ordination in Australia.