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EDITIONS
 Sunday, 22 December, 2002, 14:39 GMT
Gay priests not on Archbishop's agenda
Dr Rowan Williams
The archbishop has ordained a homosexual priest
The Archbishop of Canterbury has told the BBC the issue of having gay priests in the church is not on his agenda.

Dr Rowan Williams, who has publicly backed homosexuals in the church and has admitted ordaining a practising homosexual to the Anglican priesthood, seemed to be distancing himself from his previous liberal views.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, he was asked by presenter Sue Lawley if gay rights should be acknowledged by the Church of England.

It's not for many people primarily about sex, it's about what you think of the authority of the Bible

Archbishop of Canterbury
Dr Williams, 52, said: "It's certainly no part of my programme to change this or even to push it as a matter of discussion but there it is on the table, we have to think about it.

"My hope is simply that we think about it without too much rancour, too much prejudice or too much fear."

Hedgehog Song

Dr Williams said for many people their opposition to homosexuals was more to do with their belief in the Bible than the gay lifestyle.

"It comes to be an issue about the significance of the Bible and the authority of the Bible. And it's not for many people primarily about sex, it's about what you think of the authority of the Bible," the Archbishop said.

Dr Williams' choices of records to take on a desert island included work by Bach and Mozart, the Welsh hymn Calon Lan and Vaughan Williams Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus, which will be played at his investiture in February.

ARCHBISHOP'S DESERT ISLAND DISCS
Vaughan Williams Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus
Calon Lan
Bach and Mozart
Hedgehog Song
His only choice of pop music was The Incredible String Band's Hedgehog Song, which he was given as a 21st birthday present.

He asked for the obligatory Bible to be an authorised version to go with the complete works of Shakespeare. His choice of literature would be "a tough book" of poetry.

His luxury item would be a piano.

Dr Williams also reiterated his stance against war in Iraq on the programme, but said he was not an "absolute pacifist".


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05 Aug 02 | Wales
13 Jul 02 | Politics
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