Monday, 26 February 2007

GS: Monday

The February General Synod was opened, and Rowan Williams delivered this Presidential Address.
Audio of this here.

Church of England official page for all this. Go there for more audio links.

The outcome of THE FUTURE OF TRIDENT debate was that the following motion was carried by 206 votes to 38:

‘That this Synod recognising the fundamental responsibility of Her Majesty’s Government to provide for the security of the country:

1. welcome the response from the Mission and Public Affairs Council to the House of Commons Defence Select Committee’s inquiry expressing serious questions about the proposed renewal of the UK’s minimum deterrent;

2. call on Christian people to make an informed contribution to the issues raised in The Future of Trident in the light of Christian teaching about Just War; and

3. suggest to Her Majesty’s Government that the proposed upgrading of Trident is contrary to the spirit of the United Kingdom’s obligations in international law and the ethical principles underpinning them.’

Some key items from Questions will be reported in a separate article here shortly.

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Comments

The opening address to synod by Rowan Williams is certainly painful and difficult reading.

The central problem is his desire for some sort of unity across these provinces: that this notion of Catholicism has to have a structural outcome.

Well we might struggle then with actually rejoining Rome, or becoming a branch of Orthodoxy and applying the same arguments there. In that this does not happen, the same is the case within this diverse Anglican situation.

Catholicism is, then, if you like, a mystical concept, something that has an ongoing claim, but does not in fact have a structural reality - unless of course an individual comes to a view and joins an Orthodox Church or the one that broke away, Roman Catholicism.

It is right to think that the problem at communion level has its features in the provinces, it is wrong to think that solving the problem at communion level is a means to solving it at province level. Better to focus at province level in each and every case. Trying and making failure at communion level may well set up the structures to get it wrong at province level.

Indeed, Akinola has Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and he does have a concern for Anglican Communion. Which is why he has interfered in TEC's space. Had he not had this concern, and kept to organising his own space, half of this problem would not have arisen. Now he may be the means for interference and break-up within provinces.

Rowan Williams can still travel about Africa. There can still be agreements between provinces about important service to various parts of the world. It is just that the communion ought to be looser, as Bishop Tom Butler has suggested - a spiritual commonwealth at best.

Posted by: Pluralist on Monday, 26 February 2007 at 3:53pm GMT

Sounds great, doesn't it? All the right stuff about it being vile that we the communion have talked "about" and not "with" our lgbt brothers and sisters in Christ. And I believe Rowan means what he says there. But please, where is the word on what we are now to do with our lgbt brothers and sisters while they wait for the communion to talk with and not at or about them? What are they to do while this process last for the whole of their lives and the lives of their children? What are we, their pastors, friends, families (I'm a proud member of CFLAG) and loved ones supposed to do? Where are your words of sage counsel for us, Rowan?
And while I'm good and angry, just what does it mean that we, TEC, "forged ahead" before everyone else caught up? We were at least 40 years at this. How ******* long is long enough, before it stops being forging ahead? struth. But at least once, Rowan has been clear. No obfuscating language here. Clear as a bell.
Lois Keen

Posted by: Lois Keen on Monday, 26 February 2007 at 4:18pm GMT

From a realignment campaign point of view, the best outcome of this GS would be for positions to overtly shift to the right, without fogging it up too much. Firm and clear negative stands need to be taken, prohibiting gay or lesbian couples from being recognized as anything more than two single people who happen to be committing sin a dieu together and may soon see the error of their ways and straighten up (pun intended). Traditional regulations against having gay priests need also to be firmed up, since the wider British society is busy passing those awful laws about civil partnership and non-discrimination outside the churches. Who else will preserve traditional holiness among us? Some resolutions expressing a reluctant anticipation of impaired communion with TEC would also be handy-dandy, to further press upon the TEC HoB that their necks are on the block, along with the gays whose necks are unquesitonably laid on the holiness chopper.

Talk behind the scenes could offer all the non-realignment bishops a chance to change their minds for a big last time, before the rest of the true and real CoE sees that it, too, has to take action to dismiss them from being among us as Anglicans.

God is at work. Sacrifices must be made. Repent and realign or die.

Posted by: drdanfee on Monday, 26 February 2007 at 4:25pm GMT

Correct drdanfee - Let the purge begin!

The ABC lives in a country where civil unions currently are available nationwide. Yet he seems perfectly willing to support a comprehensive abstention from any public rites for same-sex couples, "at least for the period during which the wider discussion of the Covenant goes forward" which I'm sure he has every intent on signing - so that the abstention will be permanent until there is consensus change on the standard teaching put forth in Lambeth 1:10. In other words, not in the life time of any gay person now living in England. Kiss it all good bye folks. It ain't goin' to happen for ya 'all. He has made it pretty d*mn clear. So with the line now drawn in the sand, who among you are willing to step over it? And if you won't stand up to it now, when?

C.B.

Posted by: C.B. on Monday, 26 February 2007 at 4:47pm GMT

While it becomes ever more painfully clear that ++Williams intends only the worst for progressive Christians in the CofE, at least gays in England can look to a relatively enlightened secular government, as can our Canadian friends. The ultimate crime that the meddling Primates have committed in the USA is that TEC is actually one of the few institutions challenging an increasingly aggressive culture of homophobia. It is time to let the Anglican Communion fire us, if they will. TEC does not need to be associated with this man or his notion of "catholic."

Posted by: John D on Monday, 26 February 2007 at 4:57pm GMT

Given that +KJS has said that the communiqué requests the TEC not to develop an official liturgy for Same Sex Blessings and ++Rowan here says that the expectation is that bishops exercise discipline on clergy to stop them altogether (something several TEC bishops have already rejected and couldn't be done short of a GC resolution), it seems that ++KJS is wrong and that the Primate's Meeting was a waste of time and effort and only delays the inevitable.

Posted by: toujoursdan on Monday, 26 February 2007 at 5:01pm GMT

++Rowan laments: "When ‘gentlemen’s agreements’ fail, what should we do about it?"

What is painfully obvious to those of us who live in the US is this: the men making up the power structure of the Network and the other schismatic organizations are not "gentlemen" and care nothing for "gentlemen's agreements."

If ++Rowan were to understand this, perhaps progress could be made.

Posted by: Charlotte on Monday, 26 February 2007 at 5:55pm GMT

I respect Dr Williams but I think he is wrong on two important points of principle.

First, I think he is wrong to patronise the simple answers - what he calls, with curled lip, "the less labour-intensive options". This is the classic error of the very clever man. Jesus, by contrast, kept it very simple, and always praised the simple people - including children - as closer to God and the kingdom of God than the learned and clever people.

Second, and compounding the first error, I think he is wrong to repeat here, as he has said before, that the Church must always move at the pace of the slowest - that no important change can be made without consensus. That is to entrench the conservative position, whether it is right or wrong. It doesn't avoid or defer a decision. It makes the decision. And it is the wrong decision.

He makes other more obvious errors, of course. Not least of these is in thinking that there is any real prospect of The Episcopal Church accepting "a comprehensive abstention from any public [same sex] rites". Comprehensive? Any? This requires unanimity which he could not even secure in England, let alone in the USA, let alone given the extremely crude and unpersuasive bullying tactics which accompany the offer of this particular bitter pill.

And, if his judgment is that his much prized unity (which is no small thing, but not everything) can be bought at this price, but it cannot, in fact, be bought on these terms at all, then he has lost everything - he has lost TEC, he has lost unity, he has lost the credibility of the church in the liberal West, he has lost the liberals everywhere (not just in TEC), and he has sacrificed his own convictions along the way.

Oh dear.

Posted by: badman on Monday, 26 February 2007 at 6:16pm GMT

The Anglican Communion is not at risk of splitting over the issue of homosexuality; it is at risk of splitting over conservative evangelicals' refusal to accept the traditonal Anglican tolerance of difference, and their astuteness in spotting homosexuality as a wedge issue.

Posted by: Sammy Morse on Monday, 26 February 2007 at 6:23pm GMT

I think it is quite significant, in the context of the current international discussion on the interpretation of the Primates' Communique, that the AbC chose to publish this comment in reference to same-sex blessings: "the understanding of the Meeting was certainly that this should be a comprehensive abstention from any public rites."

Either (1) Rowan is asserting that this was the understanding of every primate who signed, including the PB of TEC, or (2) he is signaling his intent to support the interpretation of the most conservative wing of the Communion. Either way, it puts the current conversation in an entirely new light.

Posted by: Doug Simonsen on Monday, 26 February 2007 at 6:32pm GMT

He has made it pretty d*mn clear. So with the line now drawn in the sand, who among you are willing to step over it? And if you won't stand up to it now, when?

C.B.
Good stirring stuff CB ! Well said.

What SHALL we do ? !

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Monday, 26 February 2007 at 6:51pm GMT

How kind of the Archbishop of Canterbury to hold the 'integrity' of the Anglican Communion so highly and as such a personal principle that he is willing to send OTHERS to the stake for it. The sadness is that such is the state of the General Synod that they will support him in this sacrificial act. After all they're sacrificing other people not themselves. - And let's not be deceived into thinking that His Grace is simply naive and unable to handle things in a politically savvy manner. Ask yourself why the next Lambeth Conference will include all Suffragan Bishops. It's simply that ++Cantuar fears that the Diocesan Bishops might finally have the courage to oppose him but Suffragans are still hoping for the BIG job and will tow whatever line he condescendingly hands to them.
PLEASE God, strengthen those Diocesans for whom this Lambeth will be their swansong and let them speak the truths of biblical criticism, mature faith, and enlightened experience. If they don't accept this opportunity on this issue then the gains of decades will be at risk. The divorced will once again be outcasts, the re-married will be excommunicated, and Societies that have learnt these lessons well will also learn that the Church isn't to be trusted with anything that they hold dear. What His Grace is calling us to is not mission in our time and to our people. He calls us to deny the wisdom, which has been painfully gained, and to call others to an unthinking biblical fundamentalism or flawed catholicism that will destroy their humanity.

Posted by: Anglicanus on Monday, 26 February 2007 at 7:51pm GMT

I find it interesting that the Archbishop of Canterbury has to supplement the Dar es Salaam communique with an interpretative gloss as to what the Primates thought.

You might have thought the communique was meant to be comprehensive without all sorts of addenda added verbally by the AbC.

They did after all spend many hours arguing over it and seeing this was one of the key points in contention I think it rather unfortunate to say the least they didn't think it worth their time and effort to say what they actually meant and instead introduced what might be termed "secret clauses" to be wheeled out at a later date by the AbC.

Posted by: Craig Nelson on Monday, 26 February 2007 at 7:59pm GMT

Lois wrote "..."forged ahead" before everyone else caught up? We were at least 40 years at this. How ******* long is long enough..."

Lois, from an eye witness perspective from Sydney diocese (albeit only in the last decade or so). While you were "forging ahead" they were throwing out the anchors and putting on the fire blankets to smother the flame.

These people had decided it was unbiblical and ungodly and had been fighting tooth and nail for at least the last ten years. They were organising prayers in parishes against you, ensuring the people who went to the local synods were suitably anti-GLBT (and thus I presume this rippled elsewhere).

The listening process from Lambeth was seen as a failure, but better than giving you a green light. There was never any intention of listening with the possibility of coming to understand or accept why or how TEC's theology had evolved to this point.

GLBTs were evil and anyone who advocated their human rights were evil too. All humans are evil from birth and it is only the grace of Jesus that saves them from burning in hell. And only then if they completely idolise Jesus and reject anything that is not consistent with their theology. Anything outside of their theological constructs is from the evil one and to be shunned until God gets around to killing it. Diversity and evolution are the consequences of sin, the world was perfect before Eve made her mistake and Adam should have known better than to trust a woman, but that's not his fault because we all know how evil and deceptive women are. Women are to be submissive, GLBTs are to be rejected, churches are never to be embarrassed or face litigation for negligence or abuse.

One day the world will be perfect and they never have to worry about reconciling with their enemies because God is going to come down in a cloud of wrath and burn them all away.

Lois, TEC could have been at this for 2000 years and this theology would still be rejecting GLBTs and demanding the submission of women and exalting the perfection of their god and church.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Monday, 26 February 2007 at 8:06pm GMT

I say enough is enough, and that we Episcopalians call the right-wing evos’ bluff.

Posted by: Kurt on Monday, 26 February 2007 at 8:25pm GMT

And while I'm good and angry, just what does it mean that we, TEC, "forged ahead" before everyone else caught up? We were at least 40 years at this. How ******* long is long enough, before it stops being forging ahead? struth. But at least once, Rowan has been clear. No obfuscating language here. Clear as a bell.
Lois Keen

YES YES YES !!! Well said. Needs saying again and again.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Monday, 26 February 2007 at 8:54pm GMT

Sorry, but it seems to me that the ABC has made an idol of unity -- in any case, enough bishops (to say nothing of priests) have already stated forcefully that blessings of same sex unions will continue, it looks like (at the very least) those bishops won't be invited to Lambeth.

The sad thing is, I don't like the look of the proposed New Fundamentalist Homophobic Anglican Communion anyway & I really don't want to be a part of it.

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Monday, 26 February 2007 at 8:56pm GMT

I was late arriving at Synod, due to other engagements, and missed Rowan's address. But the impression I got from those who HAD been present was that it had been very well received indeed. One liberal bishop used the word "brilliant". Having now read the text I would agree with that assessment.

It's an old adage that to every complex issue there is a solution that is clear, simple.... and wrong. I guess Rowan is saying that in this case there are two such (diametrically opposed) solutions. The suggestion that he speaks "with curled lip" is particularly unworthy; that just isn't something he would ever do.

Posted by: David Walker on Monday, 26 February 2007 at 9:28pm GMT

You're right on the button, Badman. A beauty in simplicity, the need sometimes for stepping out and not being the slowest speed, the impossibility of his project, and the loss of everything in terms of creidibility all around in pursuing it.

And therefore the response is either clarity or temporary tactics to this discreditable situation.

Posted by: Pluralist on Monday, 26 February 2007 at 9:40pm GMT

What SHALL we do ? ! Laurence

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori please ORGANIZE a huge "LISTENING" presentation for the House of Bishops...it would be a presentation from the "progressive" side featuring the collective voices and comments from LGBT Christians, their families, friends and fellow Episcopalians/Anglicans over the past years..of all the "inclusive" blog leaders could present "our side/discernment/wishes" (Simon/CEO, Fr.Jake, Dylan, Mark Harris, Grandmere Mimi, Fr. Mickey, Mad Priest, Goran, etc.)...invite ALL of the PRESS, Webcast it and invite willing Primates as guests and feature Bishop Robinson as he voices his background, personal/professional history/experience and hope that we "love oneanother anyway" at the Anglican Communion...it's time YOU LET US SPEAK as we've heard enough out of you and the ABC...the fasting will become a feast of TRUTH instead of behind-the-scenes "deciding" for US at all your secret MEETINGS! This would not be a DEBATE..it will be a true opportunity for LISTENING by everyone/everywhere (like it or not it's time to be FAIR and honest/open)!

Please?

Lord hear my prayer

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Monday, 26 February 2007 at 10:05pm GMT

I believe that voluntary agreements, aka bonds of affection, have served us admirably well. I also don't believe they have the content that the ABC does. The WR was, in a word, lying when it stated that it was formalizing agreements that already existed. Hence the shameless appeal to "unwritten common law." (Windsor, para. 113) An unwritten law that directly contradicts much of what the Lambeth Conference has actually said in written, public resolutions about provincial autonomy. Unwritten laws are great, because powerful "gentleman" can tell us what they mean with no pesky written document to contradict them. A shoddy argument in a shoddy document, which is little more than part of a power grab motivated by homophobia cloaked in language of ecclesiology.

Posted by: Bill Carroll on Monday, 26 February 2007 at 10:27pm GMT

Badman refers slightingly to Rowan Williams patronising the simple answers. But the problem is there are two apparent simple answers, which are a) chuck out the homophobes, and b) chuck out the heretics. When the situation is that stark, one might suspect that the simple answers have less to do with Jesus' teaching than the equally simple, but highly "labour intensive" answer "Love your enemies" and working out how to do that seems to be largely beyond the wit of the Anglican Communion, and well beyond the desires of many posting comments here and elsewhere.
When TEC arrives in the Promised Land of full inclusion, it finds itself beset by CANAnites, and the simple answer is some decent mutual smiting. God seems to persist in calling into being a church that consists of people who can't live together, and expecting them to make it work. So in God's name, both sides wish to proclaim that God is wrong. And when the archbishop dares to suggest that God might be right, and looks to find a way to make it work, both sides yell at him to shut up so that they can get on with the smiting
Way to go

Posted by: Doug Chaplin on Monday, 26 February 2007 at 11:09pm GMT

Doug Chaplin's comment seems a rather egregious misreading of what "love your enemies" means. If Martin Luther King had believed thus, he would have accommodated white racists and not rocked the boat. If Desmond Tutu had believed thus, he would have made his peace with apartheid for the sake of the unity of the Church. So long as we believe that homophobia is any better than racism, we will not be in a position to hear God's voice. Love your enemies means that you renounce the sword and the law of retaliation. It does not mean that you give up attempts to influence the human community for good. The Episcopal Church acted by the proper process, and Rowan Williams among many others is unhappy with the results.

The primates, including the ABC, sit idly by while lgbt people are denied freedom of speech, of the press, and of assembly in Nigeria. Thus, they are complicit in a violation of human rights. Where's the love in that?

Posted by: Bill Carroll on Tuesday, 27 February 2007 at 1:30am GMT

If this indignant new antigay realigned Anglican Communion finishes its business, there will be precious few of us in any shape to speak and participate in any real listening process. Rowan Williams is busy announcing to all that the box is now closed, and open thinking or inquiry has ended - until the conservative realignment folks ever decide to reopen it.

There is no safety here, folks, let alone a high, sweet realignment ability to promise to love us as enemies of all that realignment campaigners say they hold dear, up to and including Jesus and God. Those who use scripture to justify antigay prejudices are still pretty much as they ever were; and shall we continue slavery with them in hopes that one day they will become benevolent masters, or even stop slave owning all together?

Wake up. Smell the burning coffee that used to be progressive or liberal Anglican beliefs and discernments. Unintelligent readings of scripture are the closed order of the institutional day. No exceptions. The realigned Anglican Communion will now proceed to exactly foreclose the public entertainment of surprising new empirical data which upsets the legacy straight applecarts.

No room at the Anglican Inns this time, I guess.

It was a lovely and brilliant sojourn, but maybe now it is over unless somebody can come up with some other strategies except those which constitue liberals throwing themselves in suttee on the burning pyres of all the old Anglican breathing spaces.

No more Anglican closets. Please, God.

The only questions remaining for the HoB are: (1)do they wish to conform to this new realigned antigay communion without exception? (2) if they do wish to conform, how long will they graciously allow for the rest of us to have a little time and space to pack up bags and say fond goodbyes to so many wonderful friends and neighbors before we obey Rowan and his implicit invitation for us to leave? (3) If they do not wish to conform, what else shall we say and do in truth and in care of any who can still hear our message and take confidence in our witness? (4) Should we ask that the next Lambeth have a day of farewell as we take the time to say many thanks, and goodbyes? (5)What money issues devoted to this antigay realigned communion need to be sorted, and fast, and how?

Posted by: drdanfee on Tuesday, 27 February 2007 at 1:41am GMT

"And when the archbishop dares to suggest that God might be right, and looks to find a way to make it work, both sides yell at him to shut up so that they can get on with the smiting..."

Now, this is false witness. The Archbishop most certainly is a brilliant man, but at the same time entirely lost as to the ways of the World, and yes, of human evil.

His workings so far have been destructive, only. There is nothing to indicate eventual change.

(A note for Simon S; The "remember persona info" thing does not work. I am much annoyed about having to sign anew for every comment. Please do something about it.)

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 27 February 2007 at 9:39am GMT

the persistence of the Communion as an organically international and intercultural unity whose aim is to glorify Jesus Christ and to work for his Kingdom is for me and others just as much a matter of deep personal and theological conviction as any other principle. About this, I am entirely prepared to say ‘Here I stand and I cannot do otherwise’.

How can anyone not sypmathise with such sentiments...but the ABCs dismissal of Akinolite and pro Gene Robinson positions is patronising. The ABC must know what is right and what is wrong, even in the light of scripture. The task of people of faith is not only to belong to a church and hold it together but to speak the love and truth of Jesus Christ to humanity. The whole point of the gospel is not to set us free to become fully 'religiously' human, but set free to become fully alive as human beings. That the ABC seems to be perpetuating and indulging anti gay positions is a scandal to real people in the real world and an offence to God. 'God so loved the WORLD that he gave his only Son...'. The need to hold the church together is trumped by the requirements to love and 'save' the world...not least from the likes of the misguided. 'There should the ABC stand'.

Posted by: Neil on Tuesday, 27 February 2007 at 9:40am GMT

'Rather more than with some other contentious matters (usury, pacifism, divorce), there was and is a prima facie challenge in a scriptural witness that appears to be universally negative about physical same-sex relations'.

Does this need challenging? I should have thought dominical teaching re divorce is unequivoal, and non existent re same sex physical activity. Would others comment please?

Posted by: Neil on Tuesday, 27 February 2007 at 9:44am GMT

drdanfee mentions money issues - if the generous, faithful people who have given TEC money and property over its history realised the agendas of many of the people now controlling those assets, they might turn in their graves.

But, nevermind, pls take the money and launch TEC Global. We will all be better off without a forced unity whether that is based on sentiment for the communion or on the threats of cash being taken away (note the GS does not beg for TEC cash and has shown that it cannot be bought or emotionally blackmailed by references to poverty etc)

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 27 February 2007 at 10:20am GMT

Neil
try as I might I cannot find anything in the bible about stable same sex relationships. All the comments seem to refer to abuses of hospitality, prostitution, exploitation and lust.
If I was looking for a biblical position on a long term, stable and loving same sex relationship I would not start with Sodom and Gomorrah!
It's time we accepted that this is a very new social phenomenon on which the bible has as much to say as it does about GM foods and global warming. That's not to say we cannot apply biblical truths to these situations, but it has to be done intelligently.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 27 February 2007 at 12:43pm GMT

I did not mean to imply that "love your enemies" meant agreeing with them. I did mean to imply that it meant seeking to stay in the church with them for their conversion and our own. I also meant to imply that it meant rather more than imputing the basest mitves to them, and the noblest to ourselves, while slagging them off at the drop of a hat

Posted by: Doug Chaplin on Tuesday, 27 February 2007 at 3:24pm GMT

Neil - what you say on dominical teaching is so true that it needs no comment. But, as I've observed before on this page, Biblical writings on sex, Leviticus in particular, are a rorschach test for each individual who contemplates them. And, as we say in Lancashire, "there's none so blind as them as won't see".

Several years back we had an amusing incident down here in South Carolina (excuse the locational dissonance)when a conservative Republican politician, who was pushing an anti-gay "defence of marriage" initiative, was asked at a meeting which of his marriages - his first, his second, or his third - he felt were in need of defence.

He appears, incidentally, to have been the "offending" partner in both divorces. Sadly, many folks have little sense of shame and none of irony.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Tuesday, 27 February 2007 at 3:41pm GMT

Does the needle on your record keep jumping, NP?

People here are looking at a real situation of danger to Davis Mac-Iyalla, and aggressive homophobia by a principal driver of the Anglican Communion (Akinola) and a silence in Canterbury about this: of a listening process that seems to be a sham (even Rowan Williams admits to this) and of a need, at the least, for a developed biblical hermeneutics beyond that given by those like Akinola.

At the same time, there is no need to "launch TEC Global" as TEC could well present a report and find Lambeth unwilling to suspend invitations to its bishops to Lambeth, and may only do so if Nigeria threatens to walk and may not need to suspend if Nigeria walks anyway.

It won't be TEC global. It will be other provinces not prepared to have the same bullying and blocking processes applied to a Covenant as to the Sub-group report, that efforts to tighten the communion and centralise will be resisted.

It won't be TEC Global but a looser arrangement of provinces, if the September 30 deadline fails, though I suspect through hell and high water Rowan Williams will try to launch his Covenant and have an Anglican Communion that can present itself in front of Rome and Orthodoxy as a thing in itself.

Much more likely is Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) Global, an interfering institutional arrangement picking up the likes of Reform and Anglican Mainstream in England.

But let it. Since the Traditionalist Catholics were sidelined in the C of E there has been more progress towards female bishops and (I'd say still peculiarly slow) better progress towards Methodists, and if Nigeria Global sends its cavalry into the more fundamentalist end of Anglicanism there might just be more progress regarding inclusivity amongst the rest.

Every cloud has a silver lining.

Posted by: Pluralist on Tuesday, 27 February 2007 at 5:41pm GMT

I only raised the question of 'biblical negativity' beacuse I was rather surprised to hear 'Rowan Williams the Intelligent' uttering such things in such terms. Really quite taken abaack.

Posted by: Neil on Tuesday, 27 February 2007 at 6:33pm GMT

"If this indignant new antigay realigned Anglican Communion finishes its business, there will be precious few of us in any shape to speak and participate in any real listening process. Rowan Williams is busy announcing to all that the box is now closed, and open thinking or inquiry has ended - until the conservative realignment folks ever decide to reopen it." THAT SAYS IT ALL!

And while ++Rowan Cantuar fiddles, G/Ls are fighting for their lives in Nigeria, with the Primate and Metropolitan of Abuja signing off on hate legislation. ++Rowan's inaction makes him just as guilty as Cardinal Faulhaber of Munich and Bishop Otto Dibelius of Berlin (Lutheran) who openly endorsed antisemitism, even advocating the elimination of the Jews in Germany before 1933. ++Rowan's silence implies CONSENT.

Posted by: John Henry on Tuesday, 27 February 2007 at 6:33pm GMT

Doug,

I don't think we've done that to anybody. We do try to stay in the same Church. We reach out to people all the time. I'm a parish priest and I've been very conscientious about reaching out to those who don't agree with me. But reaching out is one thing, ignoring what you know to be right is another. So is betraying lgbt persons who live holy lives and want to have their unions blessed.

In 1998, at the Lambeth Conference, Rowan Williams said that it was impossible to know in advance what would be sufficient grounds to break communion, that it would have to be judged in the concrete. He said that the case would have to involve something like the Confessing Church, which judged that the German Christians (the pro-Hitler "churches") had placed a limit on "the unconditionality of the Gospel's offer." I believe that the right wing has done this, not in differing from me about sexual ethics, but in elevating one limited understanding of sexual ethics to dogma. If it is a sin (which it isn't), gay sex surely isn't such a sin as to cast doubt upon the ecclesial status of a church which blesses a union between two men or two women.

Rowan Williams, contrary to his better judgment in happier days, seems to be willing to elevate Lambeth I.10 in a way that places a lot of limits on the full and equal status of all the baptized in the Body of Christ and upon the ecclesial status of those autonomous churches of the Anglican Communion which are beginning to be willing to uphold that status. If the C of E were honest, it would admit that they are doing in secret the things we are doing right out in the open.

The unpardonable sin of the Episcopal Church seems to be acting on our own understanding of provincial autonomy (an understanding that is well supported by Lambeth resolutions), when Rowan Williams under the pressure of his office and perhaps his own Anglo Catholic fantasies, has opted for a different view of the Church. Those of us in the Episcopal Church should ask ourselves, working within the relatively democratic structures of our polity, whether his vision is one we want to make our own. I pray that the answer will be no.

But less formal structures, including bilateral agreements, and informal relationships will keep us within one Church, the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, which the Anglican Communion has never claimed to be, only to be part of, i.e. a fellowship of autonomous churches within the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.

Posted by: Bill Carroll on Tuesday, 27 February 2007 at 10:49pm GMT

I'd find all this a lot easier to accept if the Primates had, in fact, said that 1998 Lambeth 1:10 and the Windsor Report were binding.

They didn't.

What they said, with surprising clarity, was that certain bits of each (the bits they liked) were binding on all and sundry, while at the same time other bits (the bits they found not to their liking) were to be set aside.

So, Lambeth's affirmation of traditional teaching is binding. The call for a listening process is not. The call for a "safe place" for gays and lesbians to share their experience is not. Windsor's call for a ban on the consecration of non-celibate gays is binding. The prohibition on authorising same sex unions is binding. The call for Primates not to interfere in the internal affairs of other Provinces is expressly set aside.

If 1998 Lambeth 1:10 and the Windsor Report were actually intended to be binding, at least the entire communique would not have stunk of hypocrisy.

Posted by: Malcolm French on Wednesday, 28 February 2007 at 4:21am GMT
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