- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 3, 2002

LONDON (Agence France-Presse) Theologian Rowan Williams, who had stated his acceptance of homosexual priests and female bishops, was confirmed formally yesterday as the archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual leader of the world's 70 million Anglicans.
Officially chosen by Queen Elizabeth II in July, the soft-spoken archbishop of Wales and "honorary druid" will be enthroned at the end of February.
Archbishop Williams, 52, uttered a simple blessing after the confirmation ceremony at St. Paul's Cathedral in central London.
"May the Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you and give you peace," he prayed.
In a statement issued after the ceremony from Anglican headquarters at Lambeth Palace, he called it a "humbling" experience.
Even before starting his tricky task as religious head of the Church of England, Archbishop Williams has angered conservatives in his flock by being openly tolerant of homosexual clergy and long-term homosexual relationships and by promoting women as bishops.
"It seems to me rather sad, and rather revealing, that when it comes to sex we suddenly become much less intelligent about our reading of the Bible," he said in a British Broadcasting Corp. profile on Sunday.
"If the Bible is very clear as I think it is that a heterosexual indulging in homosexual activity for the sake of variety and gratification is not following the will of God does that automatically say that that is the only sort of homosexual activity there could ever be?
"My own personal conclusion is that I can see a case for acknowledging faithful same-sex relationships," he added.
The gray-bearded, bespectacled intellectual from the valleys of South Wales has not been shy about criticizing the government on its increasingly warlike stance toward Iraq and has questioned the traditional link between church and state.
In an interview with the Church Times weekly days before officially taking up his new job, the archbishop proved that the prospect of his new responsibilities left him undaunted.


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