A spokesperson for Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has responded to the Common Cause Partnership's December 3 release of a provisional constitution and canons that outline the formation of what they are calling a new Anglican province in North America.Some people are reading that the ABC has outright rejected the schismatic cause. Although I hope this is the case, that is not what the spokesperson said.
"There are clear guidelines set out in the Anglican Consultative Council Reports, notably ACC 10 in 1996 (resolution 12), detailing the steps necessary for the amendments of existing provincial constitutions and the creation of new provinces," the spokesperson said. "Once begun, any of these processes will take years to complete. In relation to the recent announcement from the meeting of the Common Cause Partnership in Chicago, the process has not yet begun."
What the press release says is, there are ways and means to apply for provincial status. That takes time and they haven't even started the process.
The facts show that except for recognition from GAFCON, it's too early to recognize Duncan's group. They have not formalized themselves or their canons and constitutions. That will not come until sometime next summer.
The ABC is not thick enough to recognize, at this time, a group that 1) is still wet behind the ears with 2) canons and constitutions still wet from the printer and 3) no one knows if it will be around in two months or if it will be in splinters. ++Williams just isn't the type to give a knee-jerk reaction, as we know too well.
Although the Lambeth Palace announcement could be taken as a dismissal, (or as ice water thrown in their face) let's wait and see what happens in the next couple of months.
At any rate, it really doesn't matter. Jim Naughton puts it this way
The likelihood of this proposed province will receive any official recognition from the Communion suddenly seems rather dim, primarily because it seems unlikely the conservatives will submit to this process.I agree. They will never humble themselves to seek permission/recognition/sanction from anyone. They are a law unto themselves -- that's the only thing that matters.
So, how do I see the the statement? It's a CYA statement: something had to be said. So, they issued a staement that says nothing and was intended to say nothing.
Here is the text of the resolution in question:
Resolution 12: Creation of new Provinces
Resolved that this Council
- affirms its commitment to assisting in the creation of new Provinces, where conditions indicate that such a development is appropriate in the Anglican Communion;
- urges those involved in promoting the creation of new Provinces to consult the Council through its Secretary General and other officers from the earliest stages in their discussions;
- affirms the guidelines set out in previous Council resolutions;
- adopts the additional guidelines as set out in the appended Schedule;
- requests the Secretary General to publish as a separate document a summary of the Council's views for circulation to Primates, Provincial Secretaries and all others concerned with promoting the creation of a new Province; and
- requests the Secretary General to keep these matters under review and to report to the next meeting.
Schedule (Additional Guidelines)
- For the Primate, or any other Council or body having metropolitical authority for the relevant dioceses, to make contact with the ACC as soon as a proposal for formation of a new Province is under serious consideration.
- This referral might (and ideally would normally) be accompanied by an invitation to the ACC for a visit by the Secretary General, or by someone nominated by the Secretary General, to the dioceses or region, if possible to coincide with some other activity of the Anglican Communion requiring the Secretary General's presence in the area. The purpose of the visit would be to discuss the application of the ACC's guidelines to the specific situation in the local area.
- Once initial consultation had taken place, and it was agreed in principle that it would be expedient to form a new Province in the region, the promoters would appoint a drafting committee, to consider the outline draft constitution set out by the ACC. They would address any issues arising from it that had not yet been considered by the promoters, and set up clear lines of communication and a timetable for consultation with the dioceses concerned, with their metropolitical authority, and with the ACC.
- The drafting process in itself is likely to take some considerable time, but the ACC can provide significant assistance in advising both on the content of constitutions (by comparison with those used elsewhere in the Communion), and on the arrangements that may need to be made for that stage of the discussion.
- On receipt of the first (and any subsequent) draft constitution by the ACC, the Secretary General may, in consultation with the Standing Committee as appropriate, appoint a committee, or call upon individual consultants, to make observations on its behalf for further consideration by the promoters and their advisors.
- Having agreed on the form of the new constitution, the proposers are asked to submit their application for revision of the scheduled list to the ACC not less than 15 months ahead of the next meeting of the full Council.
- The Secretary General in accordance with Article 3(a) will then consult with the Primates, either at their next scheduled meeting or individually, to seek the two-thirds majority approval required by its constitution.
- The proposal of revision of the schedule (to add the new Province to the scheduled list) will be put on the agenda for approval at the next full meeting, subject to any outstanding consents of Primates.
- The Secretary General will be charged with informing the Archbishop of Canterbury at every stage as to the ACC's view on the eligibility of the applicant body for recognition as an autonomous Province of the Anglican Communion.