Lukewarm response to Archbishops' statement on care for homosexuals

Archbishop Justin Welby and Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, on the eve of the GAFCON conference, 20 October 2013(Photographer: Andrew Gross, ACNA)

Conservative Anglicans have responded with caution to a statement from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York on pastoral care for homosexuals.

The Archbishops sent the statement last week to Primates in the Anglican Communion, as well as the Presidents of Nigeria and Uganda.

In it, they called for "pastoral care and friendship to all, regardless of sexual orientation".

The letter came after the Primate of All Nigeria, the Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, commended Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan for signing a new anti-gay bill into law.

The Archbishops quoted the Dromantine Communiqué of 2005 ruling out any victimisation or diminishment of people on the grounds of their sexual orientation.

"We assure homosexual people that they are children of God, loved and valued by Him and deserving the best we can give - pastoral care and friendship," the letter reiterated.

In response, the Chairman of the GAFCON movement of conservative Anglicans, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, said the intervention of the Archbishops had served to "encourage those who want to normalise homosexual lifestyles in Africa and has fuelled prejudice against African Anglicans".

"Christians should always show particular care for those who are vulnerable, but this cannot be separated from the whole fabric of biblical moral teaching in which the nature of marriage and family occupy a central place," he said.

Archbishop Wabukala added: "The good advice of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York would carry much more weight if they were able to affirm that they hold, personally, as well as in virtue of their office, to the collegial mind of the Anglican Communion. At the moment I fear that we cannot be sure."