05 February 2009

Bad news for Duncan - indifferent news for North America

The Primates have released their statement. It appears that the status quo is upheld. There is nothing that we have not heard ten thousand times over the past six year. The whole document his here.

As I am still processing the death of my aunt, I'll probably have more on the communique later. I do wish to comment upon the WCG Report, though.

First and foremost, we need to keep in mind who wrote this document - bishops and a retired cathedral dean all of whom are heterocentric to the last chromosome of their DNA.

They are in favour of a strong central "Anglican Church" with a curia type government that has the ability to tell each province what it may or may not do. Make no mistake about this: What they seek to do is to remove autonomy and disenfranchise the laity in the whole communion. Isn't it a coincidence that those are the exact same goals of the GS primates.

Susan Russell, on Walking With Integrity with whom I don't always agree, states it succinctly:
. . . Calling a halt to actions that violate the polity and boundaries of the autonomous national churches that are constituent members of the Anglican Communion is preserving the historic unity of the church. Scapegoating a percentage of the baptized by excluding them from a percentage of the sacraments of the Body of Christ is participating in the appeasement of bigotry . . .
To expect this "team" to write a balanced document is like asking the KKK to write a document fair to minorities. It will be up to the Primates to enforce equity and "relationships" rather than punishment.

The problem with the WCG (and primates communique) is the wonderful use of British English to disguise the fact that, although hundreds or thousands of words have been written, not a single new thought of importance has been expressed.

The part that relates to us most is this:
Therefore, we request the Archbishop of Canterbury to initiate a professionally mediated conversation which engages all parties at the earliest opportunity. We commit ourselves to support these processes and to participate as appropriate. We earnestly desire reconciliation with these dear sisters and brothers for whom we understand membership of the Anglican Communion is profoundly important. We recognise that these processes cannot be rushed, but neither should they be postponed.
For years TEC has been trying to talk, but the Calvinists refuse to hear any words except "we submit, you are right, TEC is apostate; here are the deeds to all our property. May we sit in the back of the church if we promise to keep quite?"

But, this is an interesting bit.
It is not for individual groups to claim the terms on which they will relate to the Communion. The leadership of the Communion needs to stand together, and find an approach to which they are all committed.
This is not good news for Duncan or the Akinolites. The report says, "It is Canterbury that unites us, and only Canterbury can say who is in the communion. You cannot call yourselves Anglican without Canterbury." What is explicit is that there will be talk about the possibility of a new province, but it is going to take a very long time.

The first part of that statement can be taken (and "they" will spin it) as a warning to TEC and the CoC, in my opinion.

Unfortunately, I see the statement more a warning to TEC and CoC than to the Calvinists-- who are clearly favoured by the drafting committee.

But, in that confusing Best of Britain language, they sting Duncan:
Any scheme developed would rely on an undertaking from the present partners to ACNA that they would not seek to recruit and expand their membership by means of proselytisation. WCG believes that the advent of schemes such as the Communion Partners Fellowship and the Episcopal Visitors scheme instituted by the Presiding Bishop in the United States should be sufficient to provide for the care of those alienated within the Episcopal Church from recent developments.
The part that I have the biggest problem with is this
There are continuing deep differences especially over the issues of the election of bishops in same-gender unions, Rites of Blessing for same-sex unions, and on cross-border interventions. The moratoria, requested by the Windsor Report and reaffirmed by the majority of bishops at the Lambeth Conference, were much discussed. If a way forward is to be found and mutual trust to be re-established, it is imperative that further aggravation and acts which cause offence, misunderstanding or hostility cease. While we are aware of the depth of conscientious conviction involved, the position of the Communion defined by the Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10 in its entirety remains, and gracious restraint on all three fronts is urgently needed to open the way for transforming conversation.
They are acting as if 1.10 is law and that Lambeth 1998 talked about nothing except that one little section. It is not canon law in any province and the reality is that the whole resolution was railroaded though by a homophobic Archbishop of Canterbury. The 1998 Resolutions deal with a wide variety of issues of greater importance.

Yet, that section as Carey (who has a unhealthy obsession with other people's bedroom antics --see here--to the extent that he sees privacy laws wrong) intended, was grabbed like a life preserver as the weapon of choice to use against the western part of the Communion.

Lambeth 1998 exposed the danger that comes with an Anglican pontiff. Many of the current Anglican Communion problems are the direct result of his pontificating. Does the communion want a formal structure to give the ABC that same power, legally?

Reflecting Carey's legacy, and in full knowledge that 1.10 is not canon, the primates have asked for more gracious restraint from all sides to further deify Carey's folley. That is reprehensible in my opinion. But remember, most are trying to keep the Communion together and someone must be sacrificed to the god of Calvinism.

The report "welcomes" the Covenant process and the primates appear committed to seeing it though, but without "teeth."
We received a report on progress in the development of the Covenant. We believe the securing of the covenant to be a vital element in strengthening the life of the Communion. We welcome the Covenant Design Group's intention to produce a covenant text which has a relational basis and tone. It is about invitation and reconciliation in order to lead to the deepening of our koinonia in Christ, and which entails both freedom and robust accountability. We look forward to the development of a covenant text to be presented at ACC-14 which will commend itself to our Provinces because it speaks of the mutuality that should characterise the life of Christians and of Churches; of a relationship which exercises the self-limitation and gracious restraint born of true affection, and which should be marked by a spirit of humility and integrity.
But, again, there is a price tag. With or without a full set of teeth, the GLBT members of the Communion will be chewed up on the altar of appeasement.

It is vital to remember that not one person on the covenant writing team is an advocate for inclusion of GLBT in the the church unless those people enter sham marriages and have "same gender" relationships on the sly as do untold thousands of presbyters (including bishops and archbishops).

Whatever the "teeth" or lack thereof, the first step to becoming law is the primates' council.

The Presiding Bishop had this to say about pastoral visitors and the whole tone of the meeting.

The pastoral visitors are expected to be people who can listen and have strong skills in healing and reconciliation . . . The conversation has been gracious, sometimes challenging, but there is a growing recognition of the remarkably different contexts in which we function.

As for the new proposed province? They aren't going to wait fifteen years - they want power now. I expect the schismatics to "pull an Assembly of God" move: (also known as the Jimmy Swaggart/Ted Haggard move): "We respect the decision of the elders, but God has called us to do this and we have to do what God tells us."

That is my quick assessment. I may have more say later. In the meantime, make sure to read Jim Naughton's take on the Windsor Consultation Report. Also, Thinking Anglicans has several links to the reaction around the Anglican Communion.