Monday, 25 September 2006

Affirming Catholics express deep sorrow

Affirming Catholicism has issued this press release:

Affirming Catholics express deep sorrow at conservative Anglican statement

The Director of the Anglican organisation, Affirming Catholicism, today expressed deep sorrow at the communiqué issued after the meeting of Anglican Primates of the Global South. The communiqué expressed the determination of conservative Anglican leaders who met in Rwanda under the chairmanship of The Most Rev’d Peter Akinola, Primate of Nigeria, to set up rival church structures for conservative members of the Episcopal Church in the United States and elsewhere. The Global South leaders also called for the proposed Anglican covenant to be drafted to exclude those who take a progressive line on the issue of homosexuality.

The Director of Affirming Catholicism, the Rev’d Richard Jenkins, said:

The communiqué suggests that Anglicans should unite on the basis of their views on sexuality – which is the very issue that divides us. If we are to be unified, we must draw on deeper resources and display greater charity.

The Anglican commitment to scripture, tradition and reason as sources of authority means that we cannot claim closure on the issue of homosexuality. A covenant which unites us must therefore hold together the three strands of our Church: catholic, evangelical and liberal. I call on the Primates of the Communion to heed the repeated calls of the Archbishop of Canterbury to engage on those lines and seek reconciliation by transcending differences.

The Primate of the Church of the West Indies, the Most Rev’d Drexel Gomez, has been invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury to chair an official drafting group for an Anglican Covenant, but other members of the group have yet to be named. Affirming Catholicism is to hold a day conference to discuss the Covenant, entitled ‘Anglican Unity and the limits of Diversity’ on Saturday 20 January at St Matthew’s Church, Westminster.


  • Affirming Catholicism came into being fifteen years ago on 9 June 1990 at a service in St Alban’s Church, Holborn, London. The current Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, was among those who addressed the meeting.
  • The movement has members and local groups throughout the British Isles and sister groups in other parts of the Communion.
  • For the communiqué of the Global South Primates, click here and see also here.
  • For the Affirming Catholicism statement on the Windsor report click here (pdf file).
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 25 September 2006 at 6:23pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

This is good too.

Surely now is the time for all ordinary anglicn organisationgs, groups, insitutions to speak up.

Special interst groups fromthe Prayer book Society, to the Guild of Prayer for the Return of Jesus, to Walsingham, to the Modern Churchpeople's Union To USPG., to CMS, to Colleges - residential or otherwise, to Cthedrals,to Mission Societies, Religious Communities / Orders, Sodalities, parishes, deaneries,dioceses, and so on and so on....

... people could stand up and speak up all round the world.

Posted by: laurence roberts on Monday, 25 September 2006 at 7:22pm BST

It is wonderful to see people choosing to trusting God and embracing diversity over rejection and submission to a narrow theological definition. Praise be to God for Affirming Catholicism's softened hearts.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Monday, 25 September 2006 at 9:46pm BST

In my view, the ordinary person in the pews can do next to nothing - aside from moving on. So we pray for concord in the Church - that all may be one.

Posted by: Davis d'Ambly on Monday, 25 September 2006 at 10:38pm BST

This statement by Affirming Catholicism is misleading. Jenkins says "The communiqué suggests that Anglicans should unite on the basis of their views on sexuality ..."

That is not at all what the communiqué says. It says that all Anglicans should unite based on the authority of holy scripture, with issues of sexuality just being the latest and most blantant attempts to subvert scripture.

Posted by: Vazzy Cao on Tuesday, 26 September 2006 at 2:18pm BST

In that case, it should be made clear - which Nigeria certainly does not do - that the issue is actually one of throwing out all liberal Christians who do not hold conservative views on the authority of the Bible.

There is very little possibility of the CofE signing up to such a statement.

Posted by: Merseymike on Tuesday, 26 September 2006 at 4:11pm BST

"It says that all Anglicans should unite based on the authority of holy scripture, with issues of sexuality just being the latest and most blantant attempts to subvert scripture."

Your statement is misleading, Vazzy Cao.

The Kigali Communique insists upon a Communion-defining *interpretation* of Scripture, which has at its base visceral dislike of homosexuality (and homosexuals, and their supporters). This demand is a subversion of Anglican tradition.

Lord have mercy!

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Tuesday, 26 September 2006 at 5:04pm BST

Ah, but how does that authority find its expression? Some of us would say that Scripture is a part of Holy Tradition, to borrow a phrase from the Orthodox. It was discerned by the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and it is the Spirit which leads us to understand it. This is not "subverting Scripture" it is allowing ourselves to be open to the guidance of the Spirit. Whether we are right in our discernment of the Spirit's guidance is another matter, and is something handled in different ways by Rome, Constantinople, and Canterbury. Others seem to treat Scripture as absolute: it is as it is written. I find it odd that those who would call themselves "reasserters" seem to be reasserting a position with regard to Scripture that is straight out of the Reformation. Sola scriptura is not a part of Holy Tradition, as the Orthodox would surely tell us. How then, is a Reformation era innovation with regard to the authority of Scripture seen as "orthodox"? The problem is that it is easy to claim the Spirit's guidance for any interpretation. What need of Scripture when we have the Spirit to lead us? The problem with the other side is that it shuts out the Spirit entirely. What need for the guidance of the Spirit when we already have the Word? The fact that it is Jesus, not the Bible, that is the Word of God seems lost. Surely we are called to find the balance, not to accuse the other side of "subverting Scripture" or "following another Gospel" depending on your position.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 26 September 2006 at 5:56pm BST

I still smirk everytime I hear the call for unity on sexuality. But I suppose when you only deal with bullying and abuse of parishioners when there is the real threat of legal litigation, and when you white ant the welfare aspects of your diocese because they are interfering with the "core calling" of spreading the gospel, then sexuality is the only moral high ground from which to preach. I still remember apostle Paul being shunted off to Tarsus for seven years, and the disciples only agreeing to allow him to move in Jesus' name if he agreed to care for the poor and the widows. I don't recall them insisting that he ensure sexuality be in order as the top priority. So if we look to scriptures my question is who has put the cart before the donkey? Plus I contemplate that the donkey would probably have the wisdom not to travel down with such a prophetic route anyway.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Tuesday, 26 September 2006 at 9:59pm BST

Does'nt it seem so easy to get caught up with Theology/dogma at the expense of charity. Desmond Tutu seems rooted in charity and does not worry about peoples sexual orientation. Love to Desmond is special and the challenge is to practice love or charity. That seems to be the point about the parable of the Good Samaritan.Does it matter what our sexual orientation is if we feed the hungry, visit those in prison and strive to live and support peace in our own hosueholds, communities and country.

A tough challenge when our political and religious leaders find it much easier to put the knife in rather extend the hand of friendship and acceptance.

But worth the effort.

Posted by: Bryan Begley on Wednesday, 4 October 2006 at 10:33am BST
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