Wednesday, 20 October 2004

Thumbs down from Nigeria

ACNS has published a statement from the Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola. You need to read this short statement in full, but here are some brief extracts:

After an initial reading it is clear to me that the report falls far short of the prescription needed for this current crisis. It fails to confront the reality that a small, economically privileged group of people has sought to subvert the Christian faith and impose their new and false doctrine on the wider community of faithful believers.

and

We have been asked to express regret for our actions and “affirm our desire to remain in the Communion”. How patronizing! We will not be intimidated. In the absence of any signs of repentance and reform from those who have torn the fabric of our Communion, and while there is continuing oppression of those who uphold the Faith, we cannot forsake our duty to provide care and protection for those who cry out for our help.

The Times reports this under the headline Archbishop tells US Anglicans to repent

Meanwhile, the print edition of today’s Daily Telegraph reports that Archbishop Akinola has flown back to Nigeria instead of staying in London to attend a meeting of the Primates Standing Committee in London. He is reported to have told Lambeth Palace that he was too busy preparing for a meeting of African Anglicans to stay in London. This story does not seem to appear in the online editions of today’s papers.

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Comments

I truly wonder how present and future conversation will be possible as long as leaders such as Archbishop Akinola refuse to acknowledge their homophobia and willingness to meet w/ opposing members of the Episcopal Church or the Anglican Church of Canada. It is my sense that we are, as a Communion, far-far removed from being able to invest the necessary time and energy to accomplish what Archbishop Eames and the other commission members have proposed in this report. I truly wonder if continued communion in the here and now is possible as long as there are no safe spaces nor willing participants to continue conversations concerning authority, hermeneutics, and human sexuality. These discussion have been on-going at least in some circles of the Church. I hold great hope for what mae occur later on. I believe that Christ is striving to breakthrough. I just don't have very much faith that it will happen today.

Posted by: Jim Strader on Wednesday, 20 October 2004 at 5:09pm BST

Archbishop Akinola really needs to calm down. If he actually wants some sort of Central Authority to keep the heretics at bay I remind him that Rome would be more than happy to accept him as one of thier obedient lay people. They might even allow him to pursue Holy Orders.

Posted by: Charles Perrin on Wednesday, 20 October 2004 at 5:37pm BST

I agree with Charles Perrin: the good archbishop of Nigeria really does need to calm down. If the modernity and inclusiveness not to mention the celebration of freedom and individual expression of the so-called Global "North" is not acceptable, Rome is always there to accept a conservative. And when the Archbishop, having converted to Roman Catholicism comes to Rome, he will be welcome to take communion at our little Anglican church in the shadow of St. Peter's, where he and all other Christians are welcome; and should he be nostalgic for the Anglican liturgy or music or sense of inclusiveness, we have it all. We, of course, are not allowed to take communion over there on the other side of the Tiber, but who knows, maybe there will be a change some day, year, century, millenium. Things happen so slowly.

But not slowly enough for the Archbishop. I remind him that the Global "South" includes South Africa which has seen fit to enshrine full equal rights for gay people in its basic law. The people of South Africa fought for their freedom and by their suffering, struggle and faith they got it. They certainly did not then proceed to limit it.

Let us all be honest here. It is about discrimination and civil rights. You think that homosexual love is sin? There is lots of sinning going on, there is theiving, there is corruption, there is adultery, you name it. Are we saying that all sinners are to be thrown out of the Anglican communion? Frankly I really do not care any more if I am considered a sinner by anyone, just because of the way I love. It is between me, my conscience, and some occasional glimmer of what God may want from me. I try to do my best, and try not to mind other people's personal business as they struggle through life. That's all.

Best regards form Rome, Italy.

Posted by: Jon Cooper on Wednesday, 20 October 2004 at 6:56pm BST

I have to say that I've not heard the hateful tone of Archbishop Akinola in any Roman Catholic bishop, so don't be so quick to send him to us! There are many of us Romans who are looking to theologians like Rowan Williams to move us forward on the issue of homosexuality. It's saddening when truth and principle seem to be sacrificed for numbers. If you lose millions in Africa you might gain millions across the Tiber!

Posted by: Stephen Hough on Thursday, 21 October 2004 at 6:14am BST

That's the most hopeful thing I've heard in a while, Stephen: thank you.

[BTW, I really don't believe we---faithful *Anglicans*---are going to "lose millions in Africa": perhaps a few dozen bishops, and their most rabid clerical and lay sycophants only. I daresay the average African Anglican has the same hopes and dreams that I do: to be able to enjoy* together that Foretaste, here-n-now, of the future Heavenly Banquet that Our Lord has won for us (all unworthy). Anything else is a devilish distraction. (*Enjoyment usually predicated on a certain minimum level of earthly needs met---wherein God calls on us all to *share*)]

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Friday, 22 October 2004 at 12:21am BST


Actually, the Roman Catholic Church would accept the Rt. Rev. Akinola as a priest, and would not ask him to divorce his wife if he has one. Should he outlive his wife, he would not be able to take another. This practice of married Anglican priests turning into married Catholic priests serves to undercut the Catholic discipline of priestly celibacy; perhaps that's a good thing, but it looks unfair to laity and current Catholic priests.

I do get the feeling that in selecting the Bishop of Luwero, Uganda and not one of the forty American bishops who opposed +Gene's ordination, the parishes in Los Angeles who precipitated that crisis are asking for no meaningful episcopal supervision whatsoever. The Net has its limitations.

Posted by: Warren Eckels on Saturday, 23 October 2004 at 3:45am BST

One of our disciplines at All Nations Christian College was to note in what ways our own nation's 'Christian culture' chimed in with international Christianity and in what ways it was eccentric.

In this age of all ages, when we are internationally aware and multicultural as never before, we have the chance to listen to and learn from other nations, to see where our own nation is (in global terms) eccentric, and equally to see what sorts of things are common to all peoples: which things are international anthropological traits.

So why are white westerners stubbornly refusing to treat as equals the African / Asian / Latin American majority?

Posted by: Dr Christopher Shell on Saturday, 23 October 2004 at 1:58pm BST

When you say "treat as equals the African / Asian / Latin American majority?" don't you mean *submit to the will* of that majority?*

_Because it's a matter of (Scripture, Tradition and Reason-formed) *conscience*._

*If majority they be: I'm far from convinced that the majority of AC bishops _necessarily_ represent the will of their flocks

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Sunday, 24 October 2004 at 6:42am BST

Is it coincidence that the western churches are the ones more likely to have western-style ideas?

Nobody can say this is coincidence.

But then, nobody can deny that they need to submit to the discipline of stepping outside their own culture and trying to see things internationally before coming to any firm conclusions.

Posted by: Dr Christopher Shell on Sunday, 24 October 2004 at 6:25pm BST