New Directions interviewed the Archbishop of Wales at a recent Press Conference.
New DIRECTIONS: The Welsh Church seems to be changing direction under your leadership, Archbishop. You have discontinued the role of PAB, or Provincial Assistant Bishop, and said that you would have no personal problem in ordaining to the episcopate someone in a same-sex relationship. These are radical steps for a small province.
Archbishop: I don’t know about that! Yes, Wales is a small province — about the size of the Diocese of Oxford as a matter of fact. But it is a full constituent province of the Anglican Communion with all the powers that accrue. I — we — do not intend to carry on as the poor relation of the Church of England. What is the point of having autonomy if you don’t use it?
ND: The provision of the PAB was brokered by the present Archbishop of Canterbury. Would you care to comment on that?
ABW: Rowan is his own man and so am I. Yes, I suppose it is one in the eye for him. But we have to do things not out of respect for someone else, but the interests of the Church in Wales. I suppose Credo Cymru will now appeal the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Panel of Reference. And, yes, that will put Rowan on the spot even further.
ND: You have said that you would have no difficulty in ordaining to the episcopate a man with a same-sex partner. Is Wales really ready for that?
ABW: It isn’t a matter of what Wales is ready for but of what is right and just. The inclusive agenda must be pushed forward, and one way of doing so, throughout the Anglican Communion, is to put this dithering Archbishop of Canterbury under a bit of pressure. We won’t break the moratorium, of course (which means that there is no chance of Bangor, but then there never was). But someone in North America will do it. Then we can go ahead with a clear conscience. Expect a gay friend of Rowan (and there is more than one, remember) in a Welsh See before you can call say iechyd da.
ND: Thank you, Archbishop. You have put things very clearly indeed.