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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 26 February, 2003, 13:13 GMT
Enthronement set for protests over homosexuality
Dr Rowan Williams
The new archbishop's views have angered traditionalists
The enthronement of the new Archbishop of Canterbury is set to be hit by protests over his views on homosexuality.

Dr Rowan Williams is to be enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral on Thursday afternoon in a ceremony attended by Christian leaders from all over the world.

But church traditionalists have said they will protest outside the cathedral wearing black armbands in anger at his views.

Among the protesters will be practising Church of England ministers unhappy at Dr Williams' views.

There have already been warnings of protests over comments the new archbishop made on asylum seekers.

Canterbury Cathedral
Protesters will head for Canterbury

In an article for the Sunday Times, he suggested it would be right for asylum seekers to be kept in secure accommodation, although he has since distanced himself from the idea, saying he was misrepresented.

But the protests over his views on homosexuality are to come from within the church.

Keen to express concern

He has angered traditionalists by saying he could "see a case" for acknowledging faithful same-sex relationships and has admitted ordaining a practising gay man in the past.

The Rev Tim Chapman, a vicar in Little Shelford, near Cambridge, said he was organising a group of protesters, some of whom would be outside the cathedral wearing black armbands.

He said: "We need to be visible but we do not want to wave banners or placards - none of us have done this before - we are just ordinary Anglican ministers keen to express concern about Rowan Williams' appointment."

The Rev Andrew Price, a vicar in Wimbledon, London, who left the Church of England over the ordination women priests, said: "His views on such things as sexual ethics are diametrically opposed to what the word of God says.

"We think he is a schismatic who should not be in the position that he will be occupying after tomorrow."

Lambeth Palace said it would not comment.

The enthronement takes place at Canterbury Cathedral in Kent at 1500 GMT on Thursday.



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