Thinking Anglicans

Canada: Canterbury replies to letter

The Anglican Church of Canada has issued this press release: Archbishop of Canterbury responds to Primate’s letter.

This relates to the letter reported here.

January 21, 2008 — Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has written to Canadian Primate Archbishop Fred Hiltz to say that he “cannot support or sanction” foreign interventions in the affairs of the Canadian Church.
Archbishop Williams was responding to a letter Archbishop Hiltz wrote to all the Primates of the Anglican Communion earlier this year in which he explained where the Canadian Church was in its discussion of same-sex blessings.

In that letter, Archbishop Hiltz appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury “in his capacity as one of the Instruments of Communion and as chair of the Primates’ Meeting to address the very serious issues raised by this intervention and to make clear that such actions are not a valid expression of Anglicanism.”

The full text of Archbishop Williams’ letter follows:

“Thank you very much for your letter about the situation in the Canadian Church; I thought it very helpful, clear and eirenic, and I hope it will be well received.

“I noted also the reference to the appeal of the Canadian Church to myself about interventions and irregular ordinations: as you will understand, I have no canonical authority to prevent these things, but I would simply repeat what was said in my Advent Letter, to the effect that I cannot support or sanction such actions, in line with what successive Lambeth Resolutions and Primates’ Communiques have declared, as well as the statements of my predecessor about irregular ordinations and the clear directions of the Windsor Report.

“I apologise for not responding sooner to this, but had had to focus in December on the preparation of the Advent Letter, which was intended to set out a perspective within which all such irregularities should be viewed.”

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-frank
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-frank

Well, I don’t want to sound unkind but …the bad news is he didn’t say very much. The good news is he didn’t use very many words to say it. Maybe it’s typical british understatement.

Richard Lyon
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Richard Lyon

It sounds like Rowan has taken the first step in his own personal 12 step program. I am powerless to do anything. Perhaps he can go on from there to conquer his addiction to convoluted circumlocutions.

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest
Leonardo Ricardo

Oje, since the ABC “will simply repeat” I’m surprised it took him so LONG to say “I apologise for not responding sooner”..perhaps, regrouping from such exhaustive circular speaking/thinking and tweeking does take a few weeks until *one* can “note” the “reference to the appeal of the Canadian Church to myself about interventions and irregular ordinations.”

Which part of the REALLY IMPORTANT appeal didn’t +++Rowan sense was URGENT?

John Bassett
Guest
John Bassett

Well, although he may not directly have authority over the people who are intervening, he could show his displease by withdrawing their invitations to Lambeth. I mean, if we do not invite Gene Robinson because he caused division, surely we can drop Gregory Venables for the same reason.

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

“I apologise for not responding sooner to this, but had had to focus in December on the preparation of the Advent Letter”

Gosh. I wish I had a job where I could write a letter a month.

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

So much for the false and misleading information about “a sensible way forward.”Who was it , who said that ?

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

What a feeble letter. How far do the illiberal destroyers of the Anglican way have to go before Archbishop Rowan manages to say anything less equivocal? Runcie was famously castigated for nailing his colours to the fence, but Rowan excels him. There are times when failure to speak loudly and clearly against an injustice results in collusion with the injustice. “First they came for the Americans, and I said nothing because I was not an American. Then they came for the Canadians, and I said nothing because I was not a Canadian… Then they came for me, but there was… Read more »

Lister Tonge
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Lister Tonge

Looking at the above comments, it seems Rowan is damned if he utters and damned if he doesn’t. Do personal attacks on him aid any cause?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“Do personal attacks on him aid any cause?”

Probably not in the grand scheme of things, but it’s highly understandable that frustration gets the better of us at times. After all, the words may be a bit strong, the charge itself isn’t.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

What would people have him do? It’s not like he can punish anybody, “Disinvite” people to (?from?) Lambeth? What would that do?

Martin Reynolds
Guest

Yes, Lister, I know how you feel! Rowan has been playing a complex game. The invitation of TEC’s bishops to Lambeth was quite clearly the prize for BO33. Leaving just Gene out in the cold, rather than all those who assented to and assisted in his consecration, but with the promise that: We’ll try and do something to get him there later. Just what TEC would have had to do to get Gene to Lambeth? I can only guess that in all the horse trading that has been going on something on the scale from implementing the Dar es Salaam… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

As to the letter to Fred Hiltz, this is only the public response. We know that the Advent Letter was delayed and redrafted in the light of the Southern Cone adventures and that this is just another part of the strategy from several GS Churches who are ensuring that as many as possible are fully involved in the invasion so that no single partner can be picked off and isolated. It is interesting to see Rowan attacked for the same things by both sides in this debate. While we at LGCM have been appalled with his conniving at what Theo… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

I agree with Martin Reynolds that the ABC is “powerless”, but only up to a point. He has, or at least had, a huge personal authority when he took office. As a renowned and respected theologian and someone who was called a “holy man” even in the secular press, people were prepared to listen to him and hoped for some kind of leadership. I know the forces that conspired against him were unexpected and unexpectedly strong. And yet! Could a man known for complex theology not have argued more openly against the crude simplifications often applied even by bishops? Could… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Look what’s happening in Jerusalem. While homosexuality isn’t on their radar, I doubt they’d be all that open if it were. Their society is more conservative than ours, and their religious and political situaiton is more complex than Nigeria. So, I’d kind of think, all things being equal, +Akinola et al would expect some allies there. Yet, by their arrogance, the GS/GAFCON crowd are losing potential supporters. It’s like the situation with Don Harvey in this diocese. UnChristian behaviour will not win you support among those for whom obedience to the basic Gospel imperative to love one’s neighbour is actually… Read more »

Prior Aelred
Guest

Martin Reynolds (et. el.) — I agree that the +ABC is without canonical authority outside the C of E (& those extra-provincial dioceses & churches directly under his authority), but he does have the opportunity to speak clearly on the difference between right and wrong. Many people who disagree on the “presenting issue” feel strongly that he has failed to do so. Perhaps if you are an Oxford Don there is no such thing as “right” and “wrong” (but I had always hoped that Jane would set him straight). I also present overdue Kudos to Robert Ian Williams — in… Read more »

Jim Pratt
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Jim Pratt

Martin and Robert: Don Harvey is actually quite theologically compatible with John-David Schofield. Harvey sent several postulants to Nashotah House. He led our diocesan lenten clergy retreat in 2003, and spent the whole retreat in cassock (the rest of us were in jeans), and he was the only bishop wearing a zucchetto at Andrew Hutchison’s enthronement at GS ’03. Malcolm Harding, on the other hand, is an evangelical, and not at all compatible with Harvey or Schofield. As an aside, I have heard through the grapevine that the parish of one of Harvey’s boys is in a major turmoil. It… Read more »

Justin Lewis-Anthony
Guest

John Peel (of blessed memory) said that the first person to mention the Nazis in any argument lost. I think that’s what has happened to Fr Mark (Tuesday, 22 January 2008 at 8:20am GMT). To adapt Pastor Niemöller’s exhortation to the situation of the Anglican Communion is otiose. The effects of the neo-puritans’ policies and actions are unChristian enough, sufficiently against the building of the kingdom, without comparing them to genocidists.

drdanfee
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drdanfee

The immensely threatening risks of having VGR invited to Lambeth all involve media and public perceptions. Firstly, VGR coming without censure or punishment would leave certain con evo realignment leaders more livid than not. That puts a good match to the considerable kindle of their antigay feelings, backed up by all the familiar legacy negatives with which so many believers were raised. How many preachments of dirt, danger, disgust would we start hearing, yet again. In that event, we get to Two. VGR would respond to his critics, as their increasingly angry antigay remarks turned up the heat on every… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“(anyone notice raging against lesbians? Me neither).”

Maybe not many public rants, but the practical effect on us has been the same. My own church involvement has certainly been drastically curtailed since my partner and I have started to live together openly. And on this forum too, people have made no distinction. In that context the term Gay applies to male and female.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Jim, I don’t altogether agree with you about +Don Harvey. I think he’s a nose of wax. What I used to think was integrity on his part, I now think is more likely to be talking a good talk for whatever audience he has. I think, if he got a good position in the Southern Cone, he’d be quite happy moving as far down the candle as need be. I doubt he’ll get Primate, there’s Americans up for that job, the former bishop of ENandL doesn’t have much of a chance. The question is, for me, will he be satisfied… Read more »

bls
Guest

The reason nobody brings up lesbianism is that there’s no Scriptural prohibition against it. (The one possible mention, in an ambiguous proof-text from Romans 1, was read by early theologians, including Augustine and Clement of Alexandria, as referring to heterosexual women.) This makes it quite difficult to make a Scriptural case against “homosexuality” – it simply isn’t there – which is why nobody brings it up. Peter Akinola, the Biblical literalist Himself, had to amend Leviticus, in fact, creating a prohibition that doesn’t exist. All very funny, actually! And it leaves the so-called “orthodox” with only Tradition to help them.… Read more »

poppy tupper
Guest
poppy tupper

john peel was wrong. see Liddon’s Law, which states that whenever a fascist is losing an argument he will invoke Godwin’s Law (qv)

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Justin L-A: Thanks you for your comment, but I am not so wild or unhistorical as to have tried to compare the Archbishop to the Nazis. (I think there is doubt as to who actually was the originator of the lines you atribute to Niemoeller, anyway.) What I was trying, and evidently failing, to express was that there are important questions of justice and oppression at play here: it is not merely about what is expedient in terms of ecclesiastical politicking. I would hope we would as Christians want our yea to be yea and our nay to be nay,… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Justin Fr Mark is on the money. Try sitting in a few of these biblical orthodox sermons for a few months or years. If their desires for Jesus to come down from the clouds and murder all this planet’s occupants isn’t a mass genocidal fantasy, then I don’t know what is. Remember serial killers first fantasize about murdering victims before they actually begin to do so, they often practice on animals and “lesser” beings before they go for their true targets. Read up on pscyhology and sociology. Rose coloured glasses do not make for robust thinking. Erika, I’m with you,… Read more »

ruidh
Guest
ruidh

“Patience is a virtue.” That’s an old maxim. Someone who blogs under the title “The Anglican Centrist” called Rowan’s approach “dithering”. And there may be something positive in this characterization. Both sides are fuming that Williams refuses to take sides. Instead, he promotes lonstanding Anglican principles and reiterates them whenever anyone demands that he *do something*. In the end, the is is all a waiting game. Who will get impatient with the lack of resolution and take their marbles and go play somewhere else. Today, it looks like some of the hardliners on the Global South are the closest to… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

I have never claimed Bishop Harvey for evangelicalism!…However the Canadian Anglicans are not leaving in droves for Southern Cone.
They are more reserved about their religion than the Americans.

Prior Aelred
Guest

Erika Baker —

Sincere apologies — I did not mean to trivialize you pain, but I do think that the hysteria is really about the threat to patriarchy — there is something about the notion of a male allowing himself to be penetrated that drives certain people nuts.

Mind you, I speak as a straight white male celibate who has changed his mind about these issues some years after entering the monastery who relies only on the stories of the experiences of others.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“Isn’t it Gwendolen who says “When I see a spade, I call it a spade”, to which Cecily replies “I am glad to say, Miss Fairfax, that I have never seen a spade”?”

Just for the record, Fr. Mark, you’ve got it backwards. It is Cecily who calls a spade a spade, and Gwendolen who has never seen the instrument in question.

Martin Reynolds
Guest

Sorry Robert, confusing the bishops, my fault. My praise of your reminding us of these false alliances based solely on the hatred of Gays remains.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“A majority of Anglican bishops around the world appear to not recognize the legitimacy of his [+VGR’s] jurisdiction.”

This reminds me of what some people say about gays in general, and it’s part sloppy language and part sloppy thinking, “i don’t have anything against X personaly, but i just don’t believe in homosexuality.”

This is like saying, I don’t have anything against that apple that just hit the deck, but I don’t believe in gravity.

+VGR is duly elected, consented to, and consecrated. It’s not up to them.

Anthony W
Guest
Anthony W

The Americans are not leaving in droves for the Southern Cone either. The number of Anglicans/Episcopalians in the San Joaquin Valley could not be described as a “drove”. IMHO. They are spread thinly on the ground.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Prior Aeldred Absolutely no apologies necessary, and my “pain” really isn’t worth mentioning. The freedom and integrity that came with being open more than cancels out any pain any church could inflict. I agree that it is about patriarchy. For women it’s always been about that, and lesbianism is just one further manifestation. The strangest experience for me has been an increase in male attention since I’ve started to live with my partner, and even the frequent question whether there is anything that could make me “go straight” again. It’s almost as though many men feel I’ve rejected them personally… Read more »

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Pat: I stand corrected, thanks. I fail the Wilde test miserably!

Jim Pratt
Guest
Jim Pratt

Ford,
I think +Don Harvey is quite comfortable with a broad spectrum of churchmanship (witness his close relationship with +Len Whitten, which is more than just their family ties), but that doesn’t mean he’s going to change his stripes. And I’m not sure he’ll have to in the Southern Cone. Isn’t Bishop Lyons of Bolivia a Son of the House?

And you’re right, he’ll never be Primate. That job’s going to go to Duncan or another American, and there don’t seem to be enough Canadians following him for a separate Canadian province.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Maybe, Jim. I’m not in the most Christian of places lately, and I’m disinclined to cut him any slack at all. I remember his change of heart on OOW, his ostensible reason for it, and what I suspect was his real reason.

Nom de Plume
Guest
Nom de Plume

Jim Pratt,

Mr Harvey has voluntarily relinquished all spiritual authority (see Canon XIX). This is the equivalent of the RC procedure of laicization. Therefore, in my view, he is for all juridic purposes no longer a bishop. (Ontologically he remains a bishop, but ony ontologically.) It is therefore not correct to refer to him as a bishop. The Southern Cone has, in effect, licensed a lay person for episcopal purposes, which takes lay presidency to a whole new level.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“The Southern Cone has, in effect, licensed a lay person for episcopal purposes, which takes lay presidency to a whole new level.”

Interesting. The idea that Don Harvey is now a “lay president” will give chuckles to a good many when I spread this about. It’s kind of like the Pope becoming a Wee Free.

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Bishop Harvey says as reported on Virtue online that as a charismatic Anglo-Catholic he has no problem with Evangelicals. Well that is I suppose the case if he closes an eye to their ribena-grape juice eucharists…or their throwing the left over bread away after Holy Communion. or their denial of baptismal regeneration, and the confessional, prayers for the dead, and denouncing devotion to the Saints and our lady as unbiblical. Furthermore Sydney regard the charismamtic movement as heresy ( i agree there). Just close yopur eyes Bishop Harvey…get on board the Jensen boat… The Good ship GAFCON…but theres a time… Read more »

John Holding
Guest
John Holding

Robert Ian Williams: Bishop Harvey says as reported on Virtue online that as a charismatic Anglo-Catholic he has no problem with Evangelicals. Well that is I suppose the case if he closes an eye to their ribena-grape juice eucharists…or their throwing the left over bread away after Holy Communion. It might be as well for all of us who feel strongly on one side or the other not to make blind assumptions that words mean the same thing in different places. For example, in Canada even the strongest evangelical anglican will use wine and is hardly likely to throw the… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“is hardly likely to throw the leftover bread away”

Not so. It was happening in EN&L and Mr. Harvey had to put a stop to it. I’m not sure if it was an Evangelical stance in some sense, or just someone with little theological understanding, one of the “Buddy Christers”, but it certainly happened here. And wouldn’t any True Evangelical have issues with throwing the bread to the birds as following the traditions of men, to whit, that uberPapist, St. Francis?