Thinking Anglicans

Recife: a clarification

A document has been issued by the Recife Diocesan Standing Committee. This is reproduced in full below the fold. It can also be found linked from the official diocesan site.

An alternative view is presented in a document which can be found on the American Anglican council blogsite, here.

In case you are wondering which body is the real Anglican Diocese of Recife, you can check here.

Update
The Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, Gregory Venables has intervened in Brazil, see
SOUTHERN CONE PRIMATE ACCEPTS REJECTED BISHOP AND CLERGY
Text of Abp Venables’ letter

These events are also reported by TLC in Southern Cone Primate Annexes Brazilian Diocese

SOME CLARIFICATION CONCERNING THE ANGLICAN DIOCESE OF RECIFE

Open Letter from the Diocesan Standing Committee of the Anglican Diocese of Recife, Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, 19th Province of the Anglican Communion, to the brothers and sisters of the Anglican Communion and other Christian churches.

Beloved brothers and sisters,

Greeting in Christ!

In the past few months a series of misleading, distorted, and in many cases untruthful, news and information about the Anglican Diocese of Recife have been circulating on the internet, and at some occasions being broadcast by the international religious press. It has, therefore, become necessary for us to publicly clarify the facts of the current situation in Recife and about what has really happened and is still happening in our diocese.

In the year 2004, the Anglican Diocese of Recife (DAR) went through a process of schism, and this for the third time in four years. This time, however, taking advantage of a period of an international crisis in the Anglican Communion and a certain homophobic feeling that still exists in many places, the then diocesan bishop Robinson Cavalcanti, who was already for some time clearly and publicly promoting hostility against the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil (IEAB), personally led the process of schism, advocating that the diocese should break any institutional ties with IEAB. At the same time, he started an aggressive campaign of persecution against clergy and laity simply because they did not agree with his position. All this can be easily observed by analysing the articles written and recorded public speeches given by Mr Robinson Cavalcanti in the weeks leading to the canonical process of disciplinary hearing against him.

The then diocesan bishop was taken to the ecclesiastical court, denounced by two clergy, two lay members of the diocese and two bishops. All the canonical proceedings were rigorously followed, having also as evidence the articles written by bishop Cavalcanti himself, and the evidence given by several witnesses during the investigation done by a special commission appointed by the Brazilian province. Bishop R Cavalcanti totally ignored the disciplinary hearing arguing that he had no respect for the leadership of IEAB. Thus, he did not care to present before the special commission his defence concerning the accusations which had been filled against him. He was, consequently, tried and condemned, and after all the right proceedings were fulfilled, he was deposed form Holy Orders from the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil. Mr Cavalcanti then tried to obtain a court injunction form the Civil Court in an attempt to suspend the decision by IEAB, but the court denied the injunction and attested the validity and legitimacy of IEAB’s decision to depose him. Mr Cavalcanti still went to the Supreme Court of the state of Pernambuco, and once more the Court confirmed the deposition of Mr Robinson Cavalcanti. More recently, the former bishop, omitting the fact that he had been deposed, tried to obtain a court injunction to prevent a diocesan synod organised with the help of the province from taking place. The injunction was denied by the court and in the process it became clear that Mr R Cavalcanti had acted in bad faith and ideological falsehood. The diocesan synod, under the ecclesiastical authority of the suffragan bishop Filadelfo Oliveira as well as the decisions and resolutions taken there were considered legitimate and valid by the court.

The former bishop Cavalcanti had indeed ended relations with the Anglican province of Brazil since the end of year 2004, taking with him two thirds of the clergy and parishes. Even before his deposition, Mr R Cavalcanti had belligerently taken away all the symbols and signs of identification with IEAB from all the institutions and diocesan bodies. This can also be observed by simply looking at his new homepage. Already during the year 2004 the then bishop Robinson did not acknowledge the authority of the Brazilian Anglican province. He surreptitiously took measures to change the statutes transferring property which belong to the province, depriving the province from its properties in Recife. Bye the end of last year during one of his pronouncements in a illegally held diocesan synod, Mr R Cavalcanti came to summon all to leave IEAB. However, and to the surprise of many, he has been trying to present to the public opinion that he has been unjustly persecuted and expelled by the Anglican province of Brazil!

In spite of all those facts here described, Mr R Cavalcanti insists in presenting himself as the bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Recife and as the representative of the Anglican Communion in the region. He also continues to issue accusations and aggressions against the Brazilian Anglican province and against those laity and clergy in Recife who decided to stay loyal to IEAB.

The Anglican Diocese of Recife is going through a sensitive and difficult process of reconstruction and rebirth, after the trauma that it has experienced. For that reason, we have, deliberately, refrained from answering or giving attention to the provocations and accusations promoted by the former bishop. We have already written a open letter in the past presenting our side of the story about what is happening in Recife. The sad and regrettable thing is that that letter was sent to the same very groups which have been publicising and broadcasting the accusations and defamations made by the former bishop, but in the case of our letter they refused to publicise it. We would, therefore, ask to all who receive this letter to careful analyse the facts, and that they may divulge it to others who might be interested to know about it.

We would also like to emphasise the following:

1.The Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil is not a “dead church”, made up of “revisionist liberals”, “heretics” and “apostates”, as it has been publicised. IEAB is part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. It is a church made up of men and women who acknowledge to be sinners, called by God to live in fidelity to the Gospel and so to grow day by day in the Grace of God and in the knowledge of the truth of which we do not presume to have the possession. IEAB is a living and active church that has sought to be a sign of God’s presence, through words and action, in an extremely adverse social context aggravated by a popular religiosity which is often pathological, marked by pharisaism and messianism;

2.The process of schism in the diocese of Recife is not due to a conflict between “orthodox evangelicals” and “revisionist liberals” within the IEAB, as it has been said by some on the side of Mr R Cavalcanti. Although it could be said that IEAB is hegemonically moderately liberal – if that sort of classification can say anything about it – there are many clergy and lay people who are of evangelical persuasion in all its dioceses. The group of clergy that refused to follow Robinson Cavalcanti in leaving IEAB and took the initiative to take R Cavalcanti to the Ecclesiastical Court correspond to a third of the diocese. The group is made up in its majority of Evangelical Anglicans, who have already made it public that they were against the decisions taken by the dioceses of New Westminster and New Hampshire. Most members of this group are well known and respected evangelical leaders who continue to be active on many levels of the Brazilian evangelical movement;

3.The Anglican Diocese of Recife, part of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, 19th Province of the Anglican Communion, is also alive and active despite the allegations to the contrary by the Mr R Cavalcanti. We are now 13 church communities and 22 clergy who are carrying on celebrating Christ’s resurrection and seeking to build a living, welcoming, healthy, mature, ecumenical, relevant and socially engaged church. This is our dream, our desire and our prayer. Our trust and hope are in God. We are not receiving any financial help either from international sources or from any sort of “liberal conspiracy” as it has been alleged. Most of our clergy are “tent makers” and have dedicated themselves voluntarily to the Christian service. Again, we should make it clear that Mr Robinson Cavalcanti is no longer bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Recife. Neither he nor his spokesmen represent at any level the Anglican Diocese of Recife, the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil or the Anglican Communion. His deposition was a final and non appealable decision taken legitimately by the Brazilian Anglican Province and attested by the civil courts;

Finally, we would like to express our deep disappointment and disillusionment with various international evangelical leaders within the Anglican Communion, who, it seems to us, have shown to be more interested in the manipulation, and political and instrumental utilisation of information about Recife, in an attempt of artificially creating a martyr than in a balanced and fair analysis of our reality. It is regrettable that part of the Anglican evangelical movement is rendering itself to that sort of game and manipulation. The crisis caused by the unilateral attitudes of the North American and Canadian churches seems to have paved the way for a state of emergency and the legitimising of unscrupulous, pragmatist, manichaeist and messianic mentality, incompatible with the best of our evangelical tradition.

May the Lord have mercy on us.

Recife, 21st September 2005
Feast of St Mathew, Apostle and Evangelist.

Members of the Diocesan Standing Committee of the Anglican Diocese of Recife:
Revmo. Dom Filadelfo Oliveira Neto* Bishop of DAR
Rev. Gustavo Gilson S. de Oliveira Chairman of the Diocesan Standing Committee
Rev. Fernando Antônio Gonçalves Secretary of the Diocesan Standing Committee
Rev. João C. Peixoto Filho Member
Rev. Josafá Batista dos Santos Member
Sr. João Batista Neto Member
Sr. Joelson Félix Member
Sra. Márcia Silva Member
Rev. Rodrigo Espiúca Executive Secretary of DAR

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Göran Koch-SwahneSimon SarmientoNeilAugustus MeriwetherDave Recent comment authors
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J. C. Fisher
Guest

Or, to clarify (for the Lambeth ’08 invitation list?)—

Rt.Rev. Robinson (Gene) of New Hampshire: rightful (and faithful) bishop in the Anglican Communion.

Mr. Robinson Cavalcanti, formerly of Recife: . . . Not So Much. :-/

Ian Montgomery
Guest
Ian Montgomery

I am amazed how the listing of the so called replacement bishop in the ACO can be shown as proof of who is bishop when that is precisely what is under appeal to the Communion Panel and the ABC. That simply is a clerical attempt at a fait accompli. The letter from the so called standing committee is simply a letter from a group that has been part of the majority in an Anglican Province which has, in its majority, opposed the clear teaching of the Anglican Communion. Such overbearing behavior is very familiar to us in North America. It… Read more »

Neil
Guest
Neil

“The real Anglican Diocese of Recife”. The same line seems to be recurring in a number of places about claim to what is and is not “Anglican”. Apart from anything it is a shocking travesty of justice that the Anglican Communion Office has prematurely made this change to its database. It’s far from clear legally and far from agreed around the Communion that the Bishop of Recife can act as he has, or that the ACO should recognise his schismatic action. As Greg Venables has pointed out: “the actions against the bishop and clergy were prosecuted by the Province of… Read more »

Mark Beaton
Guest
Mark Beaton

Well, if the website says so, that settles it.
It’s official.
Like Ian Paisley’s doctorate.

Tunde
Guest
Tunde

So it is ‘agree to go with us or get denounced.’ When are the stakes going to be reintroduced?

Luckily like AMIA, they are in through a back door.

Dave
Guest
Dave

“Amazing revelation, new leadership of diocese claims the previous lot were bad ‘uns”… Hardly surprising that the new “Bishop” and his merry men are saying nasty things about the others. I’d believe them a bit more if: 1. they had at least acknowledged that the “previous” lot were not all bad 2. the majority of the diocese’s clergy had not backed Bishop Calvati.. and had to be sacked to stop them supporting him in any synod meeting! To quote the TLC article: “The Primate of the Southern Cone, Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables, has annexed the bulk of the Brazilian Diocese… Read more »

Kendall Harmon
Guest

Simon has now revealed the real secret of the Anglican Communion; it is held together by a particular website.

It does help to laugh at ourselves in the midst of this tragic bifurcation and infighting.

Augustus Meriwether
Guest

“they had at least acknowledged that the “previous” lot were not all bad”. Now, I am DEFINITELY not implying that what I have to say pertains to the Recife situation at all, but I’m speaking of a general principle… Dave, I don’t know about you, but I have once had the misfortune to be involved in a church that had TWO complete sociopaths in charge. To most people they seemed thoroughly charming and were able to command quite a following, but, I was privy to affairs in a way that enabled me to see them for what they were. Even… Read more »

Neil
Guest
Neil

That’s why the Panel of Reference should presumably be getting involved Augustus?

But as everywhere, its silence is deafening. 🙁

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear Augustus, 90% of any diocese clergy being so bad they had to be sacked is extremely unlikely. In addition, Bishop Cavalti and Recife have several good links to the CofE in the UK via a mission organisation (SAMS) and CofE folk who are working with him in Brazil. He is also one of the main speakers at the Church of England Evangelical Councils forthcoming Meeting (CEEC is the main evengelical forum in the CofE). I think CEEC know enough about him to know whether he’s a “sociopath”, and would be unlikely to support him and invite him to speak… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

I am glad Kendall made his comment, but it seems the American Anglican Council does not have such a generous sense of humour, see http://tinyurl.com/dpmnr

Mark Beaton
Guest
Mark Beaton

That’s because it isn’t really a laughing matter, Simon. It’s a naked bid for power propagated by those who constantly recite the cant of ‘inclusivity’, even while they try to exclude most of the national Anglican church. How do you think this appears to most of the world’s Anglicans?

J. C. Fisher
Guest

. . . and a thousand years ago, it was the Bishop of Rome and the Ecumenical Patriarch “annexing” and “giving sanctuary to” yada-yada-yada.

Schism is schism.

It’s always ugly.

Lord have mercy.

Augustus Meriwether
Guest

You miss an important part of my point, Dave. The theoretical sociopath can often command quite a following, and can lead them even to their deaths (Manson for an extreme example, purely for illustration). It is standard for them to be charming and impress the right people, such as, purely by way of example, the CEEC or ‘90%’ of a diocese. It doesn’t take the full ‘90%’ of the sociopath’s following to be ‘bad’. They would probably be perfectly well intentioned. I am obliged to say that I used ‘lot’ in my previous post as a euphemism for Calvacati and… Read more »

Mark Beaton
Guest
Mark Beaton

Augustus Meriweather writes: ‘I emphasise: all the above is entirely to illustrate general points, I am not saying anything about the integrity (or sanity) of Calvacati;’ – (but of course I’ve just suggested he possesses neither) ‘…in fact I’m saying I have no idea whether he is a sociopath, a martyr or something in-between.’ – (now I’ve hinted he’s a sociopath – and gosh, did you see how I cunningly compared him to Hitler and Rasputin?!) ‘…The only way to stop the slander (because slander it is, one way or another) is for an impartial, in depth inquiry.’ Augustus, the… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

To be fair, Mark, the wrong spellings of his name started much earlier in this thread, and by those who might be supposed to be his supporters…

Dave
Guest
Dave

“the wrong spellings of his name started much earlier in this thread…” 🙁

Augustus Meriwether
Guest

Dear oh dear, Mark, I’m very sorry I mis-spelled Cavalcanti’s name. You see, I’m vulnerable to error – but that is to be expected because I hold to a different ideology to your own. If I held to the same ideology, maybe I would not make any mistakes… like Calvacanti. “but of course I’ve just suggested he possess neither)” That is exactly what I have NOT done. What I did do, as clearly as possible, was ‘suggested he MAY POSSIBLY possesses neither, as much as you or I or the next person, and if you are going to discuss someone… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Ian Montgomery wrote: I am amazed how the listing of the so called replacement bishop in the ACO can be shown as proof of who is bishop when that is precisely what is under appeal to the Communion Panel and the ABC. That simply is a clerical attempt at a fait accompli. Now, regardless of any possible future action of the Communion Panel, under the rules of the game (Canon Law), this is how things stand at present. I find it strange that the rules of the game are so often and so lightly dismissed not only in this conflict… Read more »

Neil
Guest
Neil

Göran Koch-Swahne: “under the XXXIX Articles, the Bible is not “supreme authority”. This is Calvinism not Anglicanism. Sect not Church.” Sorry to disappoint you: Article XIX Of the Church “……As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch have erred: so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of ceremonies, but also in matters of faith.” And Article XX XX. Of the Authority of the Church. “The Church hath power to decree rites or ceremonies and authority in controversies of faith; and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything contrary… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Neil, we’ve been here before. May I remind you of what Mr Hooker wrote:
http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/001181.html

Neil
Guest
Neil

Yes it’s funny that. I guess your comment is addressed to those to whom I was responding too?

Hooker may or may not have said or understood something. MY point is very very simple: the Anglican formularies and 39 Articles are one of the things that Anglican clergy swear to uphold at every appointment. And they most certainly assent supremacy to Scripture.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Dear Neil,

These Articles do not talk of “supremacy”. They say “not beyond what is written”.

“it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything contrary to God’s word written”.

They further say that church organizations may decide “in their living and manner of ceremonies”, but not against what is written.

And the following clause “neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another”, which is what Rome and Calvinism do when they make laws for their followers, that go “beyond what is written”.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

The article by Mike Russell is very clear. The XXXIX Articles cannot be read as giving “assent” (funny word in the circumstances) to the Calvinist idea of a “supremacy” of Scripture. They reject the idea. I want to add, that the continental/lutheran sola scriptura means the same thing as Dr Hooker. But of course, there also, people have tried to re-interpret this quatenus; conforming to a Calvinist mode ;=) But both Articles XIX and XX, and sola scriptura mean, that nothing may be required of anybody, that is not expressly stated in the Bible. The Bible contains “all things nescessary… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Clergy in the Church of England give assent to the 39 Articles only in the following terms:

I, A B, do so affirm, and accordingly declare my belief in the faith which is revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds and to which the historic formularies of the Church of England bear witness; and in public prayer and administration of the sacraments, I will use only the forms of service which are authorized or allowed by Canon

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Revealed, set forth, bear witness.

Neil
Guest
Neil

For the sake of full accuracy, the preface to the words Simon selectively quotes is: “The Church of England is part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, worshipping the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It professes the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds, which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation. Led by the Holy Spirit, it has borne witness to Christian truth in its historic formularies, the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, The Book of Common Prayer and the Ordering of Bishops,… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

I had intended to include the following link in my earlier comment:
http://cofe.anglican.org/worship/liturgy/commonworship/texts/books/mv/preface.html
but it got left out by mistake; shows you shouldn’t post before church on Sunday 🙂

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Dear Neil,

Splitting hairs is perhaps not what’s happening, but colouring them.

It seems to me that somehow you are reading “revealed, set forth, bear witness” of the Church as the “supreme authority” of Calvinism.

How?

And it further seems to me, that the next phrase: “neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another….” really is what is happening in this modern anti-modern social politics.

The Bible is being subordinated to anti-modern political claims.