Central Africa clarifies provincial position on homosexuality



George Conger in CofE Newspaper

Homosexual relations are a sin, the Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Central Africa said last week, releasing a statement clarifying the province’s stand on the issue dividing the Anglican Communion.

Archbishop Albert Chama also said that his church’s continued interaction with those portions of the Anglican Communion that have sought to normalize same-sex relations should not be construed to mean the Central African church had endorsed the innovation.

Homosexuality has been a divisive political and ecclesial issue in Central Africa. The former bishop of Harare, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga has charged the province with being ‘soft’ on homosexuality, and has used the controversies within the Anglican Communion to his advantage in the property disputes with the province. In neighboring Zambia and Malawi, western NGO’s and overseas governments have also pressed for the reform of sodomy laws criminalizing “unnatural vice.”

However, the pressure to reform Central African criminal and civil codes to bring it in lie with modern European sensibilities has been heavy handed at times, and has caused a backlash by church and government leaders resentful of the encroachment upon their national sovereignties.

Central Africa has also come under pressure from other Anglican African provinces for its decision to keep open its links to the American Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada, and for an explanation of the unofficial statement released by one bishop on behalf of the entire province after the All-Africa bishops meeting in Entebbe that chastised the wider African church for its break with the Episcopal Church.

In his June 4 statement, Archbishop Chama stated he wanted to make the province’s stance on homosexual conduct clear, and that the province did not condone homosexuality.

Central Africa had also “made it very clear even to churches around the world that we interact with, that if there are any members or priests that practice homosexuality, they should keep them away from us,” he said.

There would be no change in church teaching on this issue, the archbishop said, according to the Lusaka Times.

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