London – Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams announced Friday that he would step down at year’s end after a decade of leading the worldwide Anglican Communion at a time of continued controversy over the role of women and gays and lesbians in the church.
Williams, 61, said it had been a privilege to serve as head of a communion that includes the Episcopal Church in the United States. But he had decided to take up a position as master of Magdalene College at Cambridge University, a return to the world of academia in which many say the bookish cleric has always felt most at home.
His decision comes as the Anglican Communion wrestles with thorny issues that have bedeviled many Christian denominations. In July, for example, the Church of England is to decide whether women can serve as bishops. Some traditionalist priests and parishes have threatened to leave the church if the change goes through as expected. (Women already serve as bishops in the Episcopal Church.)
Chavez home after cancer surgery
Caracas, Venezuela – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez returned home Friday nearly three weeks after undergoing cancer surgery in Cuba, saying he is praying for life and is confident he will survive and triumph in his re-election bid.
After stepping off the plane, Chavez smiled and waved but also spoke soberly about the path ahead in his struggle against cancer.
“I lift up a prayer… in this battle for life,” Chavez said in a televised speech on the tarmac. “We will live and we will win.”
Chavez came home as many Venezuelans are wondering about his long-term prospects and about how his health will evolve ahead of the country’s Oct. 7 presidential election. Chavez has kept secret some details of his illness, such as the type of cancer.