19 January 2009

Rosanne Rosannadanna's father and the Schismatics

We are probably all old enough to remember the original cast of Saturday Night Life. Hands down, my favourite cast member was Guilda Radner. What a tragedy that she died so young of ovarian cancer. One of her characters was a wonderful Italian American reporter, Rosanne Rodannadana. (There really is a connection here, folks!)

A communication was issued today by the Communion Partners. The release begins
On behalf of the Advisory Committee of the Communion Partner Rectors, and on behalf of our Bishops and Primatial colleagues, we wish to acknowledge the remarks recently published from Bishop Iker and Bishop Duncan at the Charleston conference hosted by ‘Mere Anglicanism.’ They speak of wanting the Communion Partners and Common Cause to support one another.
The Communion partners wasted no time in making their views known as the conference was this past weekend (as in, last Friday - Sunday). The information about the conference is here.

Leading participants were Mr. Mark Lawrence, Mr. Robert Duncan, The Rt. Rev'd Michael Nazir Ali, Mr. Jack Iker, The Most Rev'd Valentino Mokiwa, and The Most Rev'd Benjamin Kwashi. That's a pretty impressive cohort of schismatics.

Also, of note, was Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His talk was entitled: Global Anglicanism: Ecclesiological Renewal. That certainly gives the schismatics away - they really want to be Southern Baptists playing high church. (See Cany's post on Mohler, here.)

At this point the press release gets interesting:
For our part we will continue to pray for solid progress at the level of Covenant Design Committee work and for the Instruments of Communion, especially the Primates Meeting shortly to commence. We cannot know how the efforts associated with Common Cause will turn out, including the idea of building a ‘new province,’ but we note with interest that recent news indicates the Archbishop of Canterbury has suggested ways for this endeavor to move forward in relationship to the Instruments of Communion. Together with ACI, we have been concerned that failure to attend to the integrity of Dioceses which see women’s ordination a matter still in reception, is creating unnecessary stress and strain. We ask that the wider Anglican Communion offer guidance here, as a variegated polity elsewhere appears to be both possible and charitably negotiated.
They seem to read a tacit (at least) approval of their schism by The Most Rev'd and Right Hounourable Rowan Williams, Primate of All England and Archbishop of Canterbury by his remarks that there is a procedure to become a province of the Anglican Communion. Certainly the Archbishop did not overtly encourage the schismatics.

But notice that emphasized bit. Apparently, the whole schismatic organization has a major crack in its veneer. Women's ordination s going to be the first leak in the ship of Calvinists. Could this really be an iceberg?

But, that crack just keeps getting larger:
We do not know how the proposal for a new province will be received nor are we entirely clear what its proponents are proposing; that is probably unavoidable given the hardships all around. We understand that many see the situation as demanding this option. For our part, we accept the promise of those associated with this movement that they will honor our own commitments. Communion Partners will pray for the Common Cause proponents and will assume that promise of cooperation entails a charitable acceptance that another way forward is to be honored and that we can move forward on parallel tracks and not ‘recruit’ from each others’ daily purpose, honoring the jurisdictional integrities of respective bishops. God will be in charge of the next season, as He has always been.
This points out one of the major problems of the schismatic movement: Secrecy. The leaders of this new organization wish the support of everyone (and even go so far as to fabricate the amount of support they have), but they wish to keep the underlings in ignorance as to what is really going on. Why?

Well, there are two obvious reasons:

First, ++Williams has pledged the group complete support but asked them to keep it quite until all the ducks are in a row. That's possible but not bloody likely.

The second reason is that the leaders know their situation is virtually hopeless and that if the hopefulness is known, the schismatics will flee Duncanland in droves. That would seem to me to be the most logical conclusion. We know what happened when the Titanic went down and Duncan cannot abide that - his ego is too great and narcissistic people must preserve the appearance of total control.

The secrecy is also one hallmark of a cult; and as Fred pointed out, this group has most of the overt symptoms of a classic cult.

If I were asked to be a member of such a group, before I singed on the dotted line, I would like to know what the plans are. Look at poor Mary Surratt who rented a room to John Wilkes Booth without knowing all the details.

The statement concludes:
When the Primates meet in February we anticipate that our separate ways of moving forward will be acknowledged and honored. We pledge our prayers for all involved and ask God’s blessing on all of us in a very difficult time. With gratitude for his grace and mercy, again this 2009 Epiphany we remain, yours in Christ, on behalf of Communion Partners.
I find it astounding that, in light of all the issues they have raised, this group is still following the schismatics like lemmings. They expect their concerns to be "honored." That's blind trust, if you ask me.

The press statement is signed by The Rt. Rev'd Bruce MacPherson, Russell Levenson and Christopher Seitz.

It is interesting that this bears both the nihil obstat and imprimatur of +MacPherson, a TEC bishop who has stated he will not lead Louisiana out of TEC.

When we examine the emerging organization: there is no organization. There is no unanimity. All there is is blind trust. Unfortunately, it will be the small players and innocent laity who crash and burn in this. The leaders are in excellent shape and believe me, they have contingency plans.

So what do Rosanne Rosannadanna and her father have to do with all of this? At the end of her news reports each week, she would conclude with these words:
It's just like my daddy would always say. Every night when he would tuck me into bed, he would say, "Rosanne Rosannadanna, if it's not one thing, it's another."
"And that's the truth," quoth Edith Ann, when one deals with the schismatics. The fissures will just get larger and new ones will appear.

My thanks to John Delmore for alerting me to this small, yet revealing press release.


In a related matter, the General Synod of the Church of England will meet in early February. In the press release concerning a variety of issues to be debated, we find this very interesting statement.
The Churches of the Anglican Communion were asked in March 2008 if they were able, in principle, to commit to the Covenant process and to say if there were any elements which in their view would need extensive change in order to make viable the process of adoption by their Synods. The General Synod will consider a take note motion, moved by the Bishop of Rochester on behalf of the House of Bishops, on a report from the House, to which is attached a draft Church of England response to these questions. The draft response welcomes the direction of travel of the Covenant while flagging up a number of points which still require attention.
This is interesting to me in light of Duncan's statement in December that there is no need for a covenant. He said the time for a covenant was past.