New Hampshire’s gay Bishop Gene Robinson might’ve announced he’s leaving the Anglican Church before his mandatory retirement, but he’s not letting the winding down of his career keep him in the way of the spotlight: He’s just launched an attack on Canterbury’s Archbishop Rowan Williams.
Though Williams — head of the Anglican Church — is a wonderful person, Robinson says Williams’ dealing with gay clergy was an absolute fail. “I pray for him every day,” says Williams. “‘I have clergy friends who literally studied at Archbishop Williams’ feet and who have said to me it is almost as if aliens have come and taken Rowan away from us. They have left something that looks like him but we don’t recognise him any more.”
Williams has been both celebrated and faulted for making compromises about gay and female clergy in order to keep the Anglican community from further splintering, a problem it continues to face in light of Pope Benedict XVI’s call for conservative Anglicans to join the Catholic Church. Already bishops are taking the pope up on his offer.
Depending on which camp you’re in, the archbishop’s decision to welcome gay clergy so long as they’re celibate has been seen as both a pussying out (by caving to conservatives) or a pussying out (for caving to liberals). “I’m not at all sure that his attempts to hold us together as a communion at all costs is the kind of leadership that this time calls for,” says Robinson.