By now, you have surely heard of *that* gay wedding in London. (Yes, yes. The rector in question insists it wasn’t really a gay wedding, which, given how much the liturgy and spectacle was made to look like a wedding, is a bit specious.) So I won’t go over the details.
It’s being portrayed as something of a train wreck for the Church of England. And it may be if not handled right. If there is no real discipline, if there is no more than “concern” and studied avoidance of actually doing something about this, then, yes, it will further divisions in the Anglican Communion. The Church of England will be exposed as little better than the Episcopal Church, making communion with Canterbury even less of a priority for many orthodox.
However, I see this as an opportunity for ++Rowan Williams. Here, he has a golden opportunity to at least appear to come down hard against same-sex blessings. And this “wedding” was so blatant and is so publicized that the officiant Dr. Martin Dudley might as well have worn a “KICK ME” sign on his chasuble. His presumption begs for discipline.
Should the Archbishop of Canterbury so act (or, again, appear to do so), he would give those orthodox wanting to stay in communion with him more grounds to do so. He would also undercut (justified) suspicions that he is enabling the apostates and stringing along the orthodox. And that right before GAFCON and Lambeth.
Now, yes, there are procedures to be followed in the Church of England and all that. But ++Rowan still has an opportunity to appear to get on the right side of this – which he must do if this is not to become a train wreck.
But so far, he hasn’t said a word. If he doesn’t want the Anglican Communion to fragment further, he had better say something and soon.
Opportunity or disaster – your choice, Dr. Williams.