- (Photo: AP Images / Sang Tan)
CANTERBURY, England – The head of the Anglican church in Sudan said on Tuesday that unity could be restored to the troubled Anglican Communion only when the openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson resigns or confesses he has "made a mistake" in embracing homosexuality.
The Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng Bul told reporters at the Lambeth Conference, the once-a-decade gathering of Anglican bishops, that Robinson “should resign for the sake of the Church.”
“We consider him as a human being. We are not throwing him away. But he is supposed to resign to allow the Church to be united,” he said. “The norms of the Anglican Communion have been violated.”
He added that those involved with Robinson's consecration also had to confess.
"We as Christians always forgive one another and confess whenever we make mistakes. If they could do that that would help the Anglican world."
Just under a quarter of Communion's bishops have boycotted the Conference in protest of the attendance of pro-gay clergy. The absent bishops, largely conservative church leaders from the Global South, held an alternative summit in Jerusalem last month, the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON).
“I think there is already a breakdown of the Anglican Communion,” the Sudanese archbishop said. “Three hundred bishops have stayed away from this conference because of Gene Robinson. Shouldn’t Gene Robinson resign to allow the 300 bishops to come back to the house?”
In an official statement issued earlier on Tuesday, the Episcopal Church of Sudan said that it could not accept church leaders who practice contrary to the biblical teaching on sexuality.
The Archbishop reaffirmed that position to reporters, saying: "God is not making a mistake creating Adam and Eve. He would have created two Adams if he wanted. But we are saying now God is wrong in creating the different sex. That is a concern.”
Conservative leaders had called for a "heartfelt repentance" and "genuine change" from the U.S. Epsicopal Church in the years following the 2003 consecration of Robinson. Last September, The Episcopal Church offered to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of openly gay candidates, while still committing to the rights of gays and lesbians and their full inclusion. Many conservatives were disappointed and saw no change in the U.S. church's position.
Still, the Sudanese Archbishop stressed that he and other conservative leaders in the Global South wanted the Anglican Communion to remain united.
“I am here to say let the Anglican world be united. That is my position. I am calling even GAFCON to come back to the Anglican world.”
He also warned that the ordination of homosexual clergy and blessing of same-sex couples in the U.S. Episcopal Church had damaged the standing of the Bible and Christians in majority-Muslim countries.
“We are called infidels by the Islamic world … It will give them an upper hand even to kill our people,” he said.
More than 600 bishops have gathered at the University of Kent in Canterbury for the Lambeth Conference. The meeting will run until August 3 and cover a range of issues, including social justice, the environment, human sexuality and the draft Anglican Covenant.