Noel Debien: The Archbishop here in Sydney has suggested that the authority of Lambeth has been undermined because North America has moved ahead, even though Lambeth said not to move ahead. Has Lambeth been impaired?
Drexel Gomez: To a certain extent, but all the North Americans have said they have taken a legalistic approach. The Lambeth Conference is a consultation of the various bishops. Each province is supposed to receive the resolutions of Lambeth to discuss them and to decide whether or not they’re willing to accept them. But despite the legality, I believe that the Lambeth Conference – the way it has developed over this century- has attained a certain moral standing in the communion. So when the bishops as leaders of the communion, speak on an issue, I think they have a moral authority, and in this particular resolution the Lambeth 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth conference was passed by an overwhelming majority of the bishops present. And what they did was not to take any step, what they did was simply to reaffirm the church’s traditional teaching on sexuality. And in that reaffirmation the churches in North America have had some difficulty in joining in because they’re seeking a new direction. And they claim that they’re doing so as a Gospel imperative, that we are guided by the Holy Spirit to effect changes in the way the church has approached matters related to sexuality and Biblical authority. I don’t agree with them, neither does Archbishop Jensen, but that disagreement – I think- must not prevent us from at least trying to talk to them and trying to see if we cannot restore the traditional teaching of the church across the communion.
Noel Debien: Even though they’ve shown that they won’t back down on autonomy, the US Episcopalians (who you’ve actually criticised previously as ‘aggressive, revisionist theologians’) but they seem to have put the brakes on, yet the global south see4ms also to want a showdown still.
Drexel Gomez: The leaders of the global south feel that North America in particular, some other parts of the communion have not taken them seriously, and are not listening to the protests that they are giving, because they say the issues as fundamental not only to the unity but the integrity of the Gospel.