In addressing the Lambeth Conference, Cardinal Edward Cassidy, head of the Vatican office for Christian unity, cited deviations in theological practice among local Anglican churches as a grave obstacle to unity.
Cassidy didn't cite the ordination of women and made only a general reference to human sexuality controversies, but many understood those to be among the obstacles.
"The commitment to unity is relativized if diversity and differences that cannot be reconciled with the gospel are at the same time being embraced and exalted," he said.
Cassidy insisted, "The theological practice of the local church must be compatible with the theological practice of the universal church. ... Is not some form of universal authority necessary even while Christians are on the way to universal union?"
Divisions within Christianity are a detriment to evangelism, he added.
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