I’m going with the “72-hour rule” on this one. I’ll believe this when I see it:
Dr Rowan Williams has held confidential talks with senior American bishops and theologians who oppose the pro-gay policies of their liberal leaders.
A handful of hardline American dioceses are already defecting from the Episcopal Church, the American branch of Anglicanism, and transferring their loyalties to a conservative archbishop in South America.
Dr Williams is desperate to minimise further damage in the run up to the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference this summer which could be boycotted by more than a fifth of the world’s bishops.
His recent comments backing aspects of sharia law have heightened tensions by further alienating Africans who are struggling with militant Islam in their dioceses.
According to insiders, Dr Williams has given his blessing to the plans to create an enclave for up to 20 conservative American bishops that would insulate them from their liberal colleagues.
The scheme would allow them to remain technically within the Episcopal Church but under the care of like-minded archbishops from abroad.
The Primate of the West Indies, Archbishop Drexel Gomez, a moderate conservative, has agreed to participate, and other primates could be recruited.
However, the initiative is likely to infuriate liberal leaders of the Episcopal Church, who will see it as an attempt to undermine their authority and interfere in their affairs.