...In some of the Episcopal Church-related blogs you were quoted last week as singling out six Americans for having "detrimentally influenced" church proceedings. What did you say?An excerpt from the interview last year;
What I said was that there were notices put on the tables in Ireland describing "acts of oppression" within the Episcopal church that were highly inaccurate and I got up and said, "This kind of information is untrue. It’s taking facts and slanting things from a particular perspective. And I said, 'In scripture Jesus tells us the devil is the father of lies, and lying is his nature.'" Therefore this kind of material is really evil. And I said my sense is—and I didn’t assign it to any particular people—I feel that there is evil pressing on this meeting. And I said that any one of us can be caught in patterns of evil. Any one of us can misrepresent things to our own advantage.
I repeated it last week in Texas to the House of Bishops when I described my participation in the primates meeting. And I said there were several Americans in the hotel in Newry, including [Pittsburgh Bishop Robert William] Duncan--but I made no connection between those people and the piece of paper I was describing, and the misrepresentations on it.
Last year you talked obliquely about right-wing foundations funding the conservative cause in the church. A year later, what effect has that money had on the dispute?
The effect has been to take an internal battle in the Episcopal Church and project it onto the entire Anglican Communion. And one thing a number of the primates said to me from the global south was that they profoundly disagree with what we’ve done in the Episcopal Church, but that it is not their primary concern. Their primary concern is about life and death. Their primary concerns are AIDS, safe drinking water, civil war, hunger and disease. They say to me, "These are our issues, but sexuality in your country has taken over everything."
And, of course, the reason in part is because of various groups related to the Episcopal church--well-funded to be sure--who have engaged the disapproval of the primates around homosexuality in order to portray the Episcopal Church as grossly unfaithful and unbiblical, and in every way reprehensible...
...You’re probably read about the charge that the protesting church members are being funded by conservative foundations. What do you make of that charge?J.
Yes, it’s a political movement, not just a [church] movement. And I think the important thing is to be upfront about it. I think the money has been there for a long time—but I think the dynamic has just become clearer. Over time, certain things are simply ready to become public. The more energy that goes into these causes, the more is known about what is actually at their heart in terms of financial support...
...What is your reaction to the letter leaked this week that details the secret plans of the American Anglican Council?
First of all I say, no matter what, these are limbs of the Body of Christ. And, second, I say a lot of the reaction comes from deep pain. I mean, I have visions of the church, and I can imagine myself feeling disconsolate if something were changed that destroyed my vision of what I feel the church is...