Church distracted from more pressing issues, bishop says – World – Njongonkulu Ndungane

Church distracted from more pressing issues, bishop says – World – Njongonkulu Ndungane – Brief Article

Dennis Coday

SOUTH AFRICA — The Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of South Africa said the Anglican Communion has become so obsessed with sexuality that it has ignored the more pressing issues of poverty, AIDS and spreading the gospel.

He said it is irresponsible for conservative church leaders–including other African bishops–to criticize Anglicans in Vancouver for allowing same sex unions, or Episcopalians in the United States for electing an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire.

Ndungane said he agreed with the leader of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, “that we dare not become preoccupied with the sexuality issue. We must focus on mission. We are faced with matters of life and death.”

Several Third World bishops, led by Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, recently severed ties with the Vancouver diocese and threatened to do the same with New Hampshire. Ndungane downplayed threats of schism from conservatives who are upset with the Western church’s more liberal stands on homosexuality.

(Read more about this issue at NCRonline.org in The Word from Rome column of July 3 by NCR Rome correspondent John L. Allen Jr.)

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