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Gracious me, being an “ex-bishop” is fast losing its cache. While there are three of us in TEC at the moment, consecrations like grace abound. Anglicans in America managed well for two hundred years without bishops, and then, those seeking ordination risked long and dangerous voyages to England and back in sailing ships, often disease-containers, scurvey ridden and in danger of shipwreck or piracy. Now one may wing to Africa is hours in almost complete security. So why on earth does the USA need eleven bishops to care for perhaps 120 new congregations? Why are these congregations allied to different Provinces of the Communion? Did someone come up with the idea that if a number of Provinces violate historic Western polity it would be impossible for the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Primates to discipline them? There seems to be a “political” ingredient in all this that could only have been dreamed up in America!

None of these men have been elected by their followers. I was four times and each time by large syodical majorities. The four elections, or at least three of them, were the result of mergers. These new bishops have been appointed by African Provinces. I suppose that is the right of such churches. That they have been apointed to serve in the United States is extraordinary. True bishops of the Philippine Independent National Catholic Church, which is in communion with TEC, have appointed bishops to serve Filipinos in America. That is slightly different as the PINCC is a different “rite” than an Anglican Church. The Mar Thoma Church of South India may also have a bishop here, I’m not sure. But in each case agreements have been forged between TEC and the jurisdiction at hand. I believe the Church of South India at least used to have congregations in the US.

Orthodoxy has overlapping jurisdictions outside its own historical territory, but that is justified on rather dubious ethic grounds as is the presence of Uniate jurisdictions in the US within the Roman Catholic Church

What makes this hard to take is that Global South jurisdictions, in response to TEC’s unilateralism and utter failure to enforce its own doctrine, discipline and worship, now adopts unilateralism itself. Two wrongs do not make a right, except in politics and one fears that this is all politics. Cries of Scriptural, traditional, canonical orthodoxy are drowned out by activities which find no support in scripture, tradition, ecclesiology or the doctrine, discipline and worship shared by Anglicans.

All this “in your face” politics is surely copied from American secular politics. It certainly has no Christian foundation. Rather than turning the other cheek, forgiving until seventy times seven, refusing to judge, we now seek ways to respond in kind, to force our opponent onto the ropes, and to deliver the knock out punch. So much mirror imaging may be found if one compares a good deal to be found on the Stand Firm and Fr. Jake blog sites. It’s fascinating. The same excuse is trotted out. The church has to be defended, Those who subvert the church must be exposed. A pure church must emerge. “Those who take the sword shall perish by the sword.”

It would take the wisdom of a Solomon to sort out this dreadful mess. One can only hope that the Archbishop of Canterbury will be given special grace and patience. He seems to have two choices. The first would be to send TEC and the Global South people into exile for a time certain, to lament their sins. The second would be to invite almost everyone to Lambeth and let them sort it out among themselves. Those who refuse to attend should be formally censured for committing an Anglican deadly sin. Bad Manners.