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Anglican church facing disintegration

Sept. 1, 2003 at 4:16 PM

LONDON, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams admitted Monday the Anglican Church faces a "messy" future and is in danger of disintegration.

In his darkest assessment yet, Williams told the London Telegraph fissures are widening on a range of issues from women priests to homosexuality and predicted "new alignments" are likely.

The comments come six weeks before an emergency summit of Anglican primates Williams convened to avert a profound schism.

The crisis was sparked by the decision of the Episcopal Church, the U.S. equivalent of the Church of England, to appoint Canon Gene Robinson as Anglicanism's first openly homosexual bishop.

Conservative evangelicals in Asia and Africa, who warned the appointment would "shatter" the Communion, plan to force Williams to expel the U.S. church from the Anglican fold.

In an article for New Directions, a magazine for traditionalist clergy, Williams hinted he is prepared for the creation of a "church-within-a-church" to accommodate liberals and traditionalists.

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