Page last updated at 16:15 GMT, Thursday, 3 July 2008 17:15 UK

Bishop attacks anti-gay movement

Dr Tom Wright
Dr Wright says most traditionalist bishops do not support Gafcon

The Bishop of Durham has attacked the Anglican traditionalists behind a new movement against what they consider liberal views on homosexuality.

Dr Tom Wright, a traditionalist himself, said Gafcon's plans to let parishes break from liberal bishops were ridiculous and "deeply offensive".

"The idea they have a monopoly on Biblical truth won't do," he said.

It comes as the Church of England's ruling body, the General Synod, gathers for a five-day meeting.

The meeting, being held at the University of York, is set to be dominated by the issue of women bishops

'Global sledge hammer'

The Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) attracted about 300 bishops to a gathering held last month in Jerusalem.

It called for the creation of a council of primates and said the Archbishop of Canterbury's authority over the Communion should end.

Many of the 300 attendees plan to boycott this month's Lambeth Conference - a meeting of the Anglican Communion held every 10 years.

Speaking to the BBC's World at One programme the Bishop of Durham said Gafcon was "taking a global sledge hammer to crack the American nut".

"There's a lot of bits that's going to fly around the room if you do that, especially here in England where we do not have the same problems that they have in America," he added.

"The coalition of Gafcon is a very odd combination of hard-line evangelicals, who would never use incense in a communion service, who would never wear Eucharistic vestments, along with Anglo-Catholics from America for whom those things are absolutely de rigeur.

"You've also got people who are totally and passionately opposed to the ordination of women, and others who are not only happy with it, but promoting it. That's not a coalition that's going to last very long, to be honest.

The idea that they have a monopoly on Biblical truth simply won't do and we must stand up to this, it's a kind of bullying
Bishop of Durham

"For me this is particularly frustrating. I spend 90 to 100 hours a week doing the work of the gospel and the kingdom of God in my diocese and around the place.

"And to be told that I now need to be authorised or validated by a group of primates somewhere else who come in and tell me which doctrines I should sign up to is not only ridiculous it's deeply offensive.

"The idea that they have a monopoly on Biblical truth simply won't do and we must stand up to this, it's a kind of bullying. 'We're the true gospel people, therefore you must listen to us'."

He said most traditionalist bishops in England did not support Gafcon and were "deeply worried about it".

"When one finds people coming high-handedly, who don't actually know what's going on, and say, 'We've now drawn up this list of 14 points and you've got to sign up to them and then we'll authorise you and you can be part of our club, and if you don't then we're going to sweep you aside'... anyone has a right to feel angry when faced with that kind of thing."

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