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Friday, August 7, 1998 Published at 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK


Anglicans must listen to gays - Carey

Up to 800 bishops attended the conference

The Archbishop of Canterbury has called for a greater understanding of the experiences of homosexuals and lesbians.

Dr George Carey: We must continue to listen to each other
Dr George Carey was speaking in the closing stages of the Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops which has upheld the ban on the ordination of gay priests.

It has also declared homosexual relationships incompatible with the teachings of the Bible.

He said: "We mustn't polarise on this matter.

"It is not simply a cultural matter, of the west versus Africa or the first world versus the third world.

"On this one issue the rifts move through all the churches.

"What we must do is to continue to listen to each other and the experience of homosexuals, while they must continue to listen to us."

[ image: A controversial debate on homosexuality was lost by liberals]
A controversial debate on homosexuality was lost by liberals
The Lambeth Conference concludes this weekend after three weeks of controversial debate.

Around 800 bishops from more than 360 countries were in Canterbury, Kent, for the conference which is held every 10 years.

When the delegates arrived three weeks ago they all had their own priorities, ranging from poverty and war to international debt.

At the last Lambeth Conference the issue of women priests was the main talking point, but this year attention was focused on homosexuality.

In the debate earlier this week, the liberals were defeated by a conservative alliance of Africans and Asians including evangelicals from the west.

[ image: The conference takes place every 10 years]
The conference takes place every 10 years
But even some liberals feel the Church has made progress over the past three weeks.

Right Reverend Jack Spong, Bishop of Newark, New Jersey, said: "My experience is that when prejudice is brought into the open debate it is doomed, it will disappear."

The Anglican Church is growing fast in developing nations so it is their agenda and their values that are growing increasingly influential in a church that has always been run by liberals.

The divide has made managing the conference more difficult.

But none of the resolutions are binding so many will simply be ignored.

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