On their final day together, attendees to the Primates’ Meeting in Dublin issued a number of statements – including one pertaining to the death of gay Ugandan activist David Kato – and wrapped up their remaining business.
On the final day of the Primates’ Meeting in Dublin, Primates discussed the content of final documents that had been prepared over the week. They began with reviewing the first draft of a working document on the proposed purpose and scope of the Primates’ Meeting. They then reviewed other documents—letters and statements—covering a range of international issues.
Documents agreed included a statement on climate change, one on the murder of Ugandan David Kato, an open letter to the President Robert Mugabe on the persecution of Anglicans in Zimbabwe, and a statement on the church’s response to violence against women and girls. These were made public at the afternoon’s press conference and via the Anglican Communion website.
Private letters that the Primates all agreed to send included one to Pakistan’s leaders on the blasphemy laws, a letter of support for Archbishop of Sudan the Most Revd Daniel Deng Bul, a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding the Bishop of Jerusalem the Rt Revd Suheil Dawani, a letter to the heads of the six-nation talks on the situation in Korea, and a letter of support to both Archbishop Mouneer Anis and Pope Shenouda III.
In the afternoon session, the Primates nominated and elected their five members and five alternate members for the Primates’ Standing Committee. When all the Primates of the Anglican Communion have been informed who the new members are, the names will be posted on the Anglican Communion website. Documents on the scope and purpose of the Primates’ Meeting and of the Primates’ Standing Committee were also agreed.
Immediately following the press conference, the Primates attended a final Eucharist, presided over by the Primate of All Ireland Archbishop Alan Harper. The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams gave the homily. This service marked the end of the meeting.
The text of the statement concerning Kato (which seeks to show a pattern of previous condemnation of violence upon the homosexual community) follows.
A statement on the murder of David Kato by the Primates of the Anglican Communion following their Primates’ Meeting in Dublin, Ireland, between 24th and 30th January, 2011.
We would like to express our support for the statement of The Archbishop of Canterbury in response to the horrific murder of David Kato in Mukono, Uganda.
We join him in saying that no one should have to live in fear because of the bigotry of others.
We reiterate that ‘the victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections
happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us’ (Primates Meeting 2005).
We reaffirm that ‘any demonising of homosexual persons, or their ill treatment, is totally against Christian charity and basic principles of pastoral care’ (The Windsor Report).
We call on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and condemn irrational fear of gay people (1998 Lambeth Conference).
Other statements issued covered these topics as referenced above:
- Climate change
- Persecution of Anglicans in Zimbabwe (open letter to President Mugabe)
- Violence against women and girls
The working document concerning the purpose and scope of the Primates’ Meeting stresses that the Primates together “seek continuity and coherence in faith, order, and ethics” and “provide guidance for the Communion” as “a focal point of unity.” The sparse document on the Standing Committee notes that as a consultative group to the Archbishop of Canterbury, it may “speak on behalf of the Primates Meeting.”
UPDATE: In a meeting with press, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said that with respect to Kato’s murder, consequences inevitably flow from hate-filled speech.
This murder illustrates the fact that words have results. You can’t go around sharing information about the identity of supposed lesbian and gay persons and urging people to ostracize them or, worse, “hang them” in the Ugandan headline of one newspaper. You can’t do that without taking responsibility for consequences.
(Note when watching the video that the person referred to by voiceover as causing uproar among the congregation is not the person pictured; the person pictured is Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, who spoke out after a lay reader sent to officiate disrupted the service with anti-gay rhetoric.)