THE “validity” of Resolution 1.10 from the 1998 Lambeth Conference — which affirmed that marriage was “between a man and a woman”, and that same-sex relationships were unscriptural — is “not in doubt”, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.
Archbishop Welby wrote a letter to bishops of the Anglican Communion on Tuesday afternoon, shortly before the session at the Lambeth Conference debating Human Dignity. “I wanted to write this letter to you now so that I can clarify two matters for all of us. Given the deep differences that exist within the Communion over same-sex marriage and human sexuality, I thought it important to set down what is the case.
“I write therefore to affirm that the validity of the resolution passed at the Lambeth Conference 1998, 1.10, is not in doubt and that whole resolution is still in existence. Indeed the Call on Human Dignity made clear this is the case, as the resolution is quoted from three times in the paragraph 2.3 of the Call on Human Dignity.”
“The Call states that many Provinces — and I think we need to acknowledge it is the majority — continue to affirm that same-gender marriage is not permissible. The Call also states that other Provinces have blessed and welcomed same sex union/marriage, after careful theological reflection and a process of reception.
“In that way, the Call states the reality of life in the Communion today. There is no mention of sanctions, or exclusion, in 1.10 1998. There is much mention of pastoral care. We have a plurality of views. As Lambeth 1.10 also states: ‘all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation are full members of the Body of Christ’ and to be welcomed, cared for, and treated with respect (1.10, 1998).”
The Archbishop goes on to acknowledge that Lambeth 1.10 “continues to be a source of pain, anxiety and contention among us”, and that this has been “very clear” during the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury. “That is also part of the current reality of our Communion. To be reconciled to one another across such divides is not something we can achieve by ourselves. That is why, as we continue to reflect on 1 Peter, I pray that we turn our gaze towards Christ who alone has the power to reconcile us to God and to one another.”
A reference to the Resolution 1.10 first appeared in a draft “call” on 18 July (News, 22 July). (In place of resolutions, the bishops are invited to assent to “calls” that would then be debated in their own Provinces.)
In response to widespread disquiet, the call was redrafted (News, 26 July), but the organisation that represents 275 bishops in the global South — the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA) — said that it would revive the idea of a vote on the resolution (News, 29 July).
On Tuesday afternoon, the GSFA presented its resolution, and asked bishops to vote on it in an anonymous online process (read story here).