Archbishop Andrew Hutchison Primate of Canada spoke in Toronto about the primates meeting in Dromantine. Below the fold is a first-hand account of the event held on Wednesday evening in Toronto, as sent by a local correspondent.
Also, Reuters apparently didn’t attend the meeting but did file this report after speaking to Hutchison by phone: Homosexuality Could Split Church-Canadian Anglican.
Report from Toronto
I was at a meeting tonight at which the Canadian Primate was the primary participant, along with a panel that included the Secretary of the Canadian RCC Conference of Bishops (a layman) and a cradle Anglican who is now an active layperson in MCC.
The meeting was held in St James Cathedral and had been organized on short notice by the Dean, The Very Reverend Douglas Stoute who acted as moderator. The crowd was large and diverse, so all voices were represented. The atmosphere was attentive, relaxed and civil.
The Primate described in some detail some of the activities of the most vocal, so-called, Global South Primates. About 14 of them absented themselves from Mass every day. At the conclusion of the morning’s programme they would receive by car from Newry a bundle of papers, and while the others went to Mass, they would gather to strategize. In Newry was a large group of the usual suspects from the USA, who amongst other things had supplied “their” Primates with cell phones.
One afternoon, as the meeting was to re-assemble, all 14 or so, and the ABC were absent. A secretary announced that the afternoon’s meeting had been delayed. No advance warning had been given to the others. In other words, the agenda had been hi-jacked.
When asked directly about the leadership role of the ABC, +Andrew praised him to the skies for his intellectual ability, his pastoral gifts and his role as a husband and father, but left us in no doubt that he was not so enthusiastic about his leadership skills.
+Andrew confessed to having been left angry by the way in which he had been treated.
He also noted that the conservatives had a press group, but that he and Griswold had decided in advance that they would not go that route. The result of course was that the conservatives were pumping their message out, including a skewed version of the communique that was leaked to Ruth Gledhill of The Times. She was of course embarrassed by reporting innacuracies.
The Primate said that it was by no means a foregone conclusion that we would not send our reps to ACC or that the ACC would itself would support the absence of the North Americans. Apparently a goodly number of the ACC types believe the Primates overstepped their authority in making such a request and wish to prevent the step from being seen as a precedent.
Incidentally, +Andrew noted that there is no curia in the Anglican Communion. The response of the Roman Catholic was to say that if we wanted one, he thought he knew where we could get a good deal on one. He made it clear that in his opinion, our ecumenical work with the RCC might be complicated but that it certainly wouldn’t be stopped, and that there was a good deal of admiration at high levels in the RCC for the honest and transparent way in which Anglicans are handling these issues. Obviously they are also occupying a good deal of attention amongst the Canadian RCC bishops.
The Primate credited Robin Eames with crafting the terms of the agreement in an all-nighter, when it appeared that the meeting was going to break up with schism an agreed fait accompli.
When asked if schism had just been delayed, +Andrew said that he cannot see an alternative but lives in hope. He refused to be drawn out when asked if he had a “game plan.” The “Global South” leadership appears to be intransigently intent on all or nothing at this time.
The Primate received a standing ovation at the end, which came an hour after the scheduled time (7:30-10:00 approx).