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THE PRIMATES SPEAK

If this whole sorry story were about winners and losers, the “Windsor compliant” bishops would seem to have won the first round. They did so, I would suggest, because their attitude and mode of operation sounded Anglican. They didn’t sound like politicians or go for the headlines. Nor did they seem to be engaged in an opportunistic grasp for power. Their reticence must have appealed to +Rowan Cantuar and the primates who still prefer to use the language in an understated manner.

In that our own primate signed the final statement there may be hope that a similarly moderate liberal response will be forthcoming. Certainly the appearance of unity -if a less than total expression thereof- may enable TEC to care for all our parishioners and parishes rather than merely those who agreed with majority votes in General Convention. It will be interesting to see in what manner General Convention will function in a two room house. One welcomes the moratorium on law suits. I’ve written before on the scandal these law suits present to the watching world. In that 815 has encouraged legal proceedings, the ability of our Primate to be a shepherd to all, rather than the leader of a party has been greatly damaged. Ecclesiastical parties come and go. It is to be hoped that the primates have enabled moderates in TEC to have the courage of their convictions.

On the other hand, TEC may be prepared to walk away from the Communion in September, arguing that we must all wait for the next General Convention. That would be an utter tragedy. The draft Covenant defines accurately classical Anglicanism. Mention of the 1662 BCP
and the Articles of Religion as authoritative documents may need some further drafting. Perhaps the Historical Documents section of our Prayer Book provide sources and language which speak to who we are and whom we serve.

The House of Bishops and the Executive Council are being given perhaps the most difficult and most important decision in the history of Anglicanism in America. At least the Canadians have now ample warning to prepare themselves to respond to the WWAC.

Surely if it is in God’s will that gays and lesbians may marry, or bishops in same sex relationships are the thing of the future, we can all wait to see if this revelation becomes apparent more widely across the world before we break ranks with our family and tradition?

In the meantime perhaps those on the right can practice good manners and the language of Anglican diplomacy. We are not living in the reign of Edward VI or George III. Evangelicalism is an important aspect of Anglicanism, but, except for a few years in Edwardian and Elizabethan reigns, the sort of evangelicalism we’ve heard from recently has never defined our tradition. It is for this reason that the Windsor bishops have been heard. They represent different traditions within our church and lack the shrillness one reads in certain blogs!

Certainly TEC has been taken to the Principal’s study. I think that to be a thoroughly good thing. We’ve all been much too arrogant to the point that some of us think that our financial gifts abroad should have bought us support. Americans constantly moan that nations we have supported show little gratitude. Gifts with strings are no gifts at all. Claims that General Convention has a direct and unique link to the Holy Spirit sound remarkably like the claims made by Mormons and Christian Scientists.

Perhaps the proposed Covenant will bring us back to reality?

5 Responses

  1. Fr Tony

    Thank you so much for sharing this reflection with us.

    Chris

  2. This is just the sort of unacceptable compromise which sums up why I have no time for institutional religion.

    The Communion is a thoroughly evil institution – homophobic to the core. It is unreformable and no-one with any genuine belief in gay and lesbian equality should remain part of it.

    I can only hope TEC will show some courage. Leave the Communion, begin something new.

  3. I have to agree with Mike that the Anglican Communion is corrupt through and through. It allows the Church of Nigeria to vocally support the creation of anti-gay legislation in Nigeria (a law that would jail gay people for merely speaking) – yet tries to hamstring TEC for encouraging commitment in gay partnerships. It doesn’t censure the Anglican Bishop of Harare for his actions, yet punishes TEC for the consecration of a priest who’s served the church faithfully for 30+ years.

    Looking at those facts objectively, one comes to the conclusion that the Anglican Communion is really not an organization anybody ought to be proud of belonging to; it gives tacit approval to the most revolting of actions. I can say for sure that I certainly don’t want it calling the shots in my national church.

    The only issue is whether or not it can be reformed – and perhaps Mike is correct about that as well, I’m not sure yet.01

  4. Fr. Clavier,

    You wrote: “Surely if it is in God’s will that gays and lesbians may marry, or bishops in same sex relationships are the thing of the future, we can all wait to see if this revelation becomes apparent more widely across the world before we break ranks with our family and tradition?”

    If it is indeed God’s will, why make anyone wait at all? If TEC’s prophetic voice is true, then it should be acted out, should it not? If, as a hypothetical, you were told that yes, indeed, you’re right and your relationship should be blessed, but it won’t happen in your lifetime, then where is the Gospel imperative in that?

  5. Fr. Tony,
    Thanks as always for your insight on this so called proposed coventant.I do believe that for the time being we are where we should be. All will come to fruition in the Lord’s time.
    Fr. Frank+

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