Monday, 5 March 2007
Canterbury issues pastoral letter to primates
The full text of a Pastoral Letter sent to the Primates of the Anglican Communion can be found in a press release from Lambeth Palace titled Archbishop - Communion challenges require ‘generosity and patience’.
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on
Monday, 5 March 2007 at 6:08pm GMT
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Good grief - Rowan assumes this pastoral council is going to happen. He's taking nominations! And it'll be three against two in favor of the AbC's appointees. Stop - please, just stop the bus! I'm surprised to find myself feeling violated. Who among the rest of you, the non-U.S. Americans, want such a thing as this council to be imposed on you in your own provinces in your own dealings with your recalcitrant clergy and/or bishops? Are you feeling just a little lucky, like the child watching his sibling being abused but you're happy because at least it isn't you being abused? When will your turn come? Do you not know, that if we TEC don't stop this bus now, you will be next? I'd rather we fall on our own sword this day than let that happen. A body for healing and reconciliation? Right. More like the Right Reverend Robert Duncan and his companions will take it for granted that the council, if they accept it at all, will be there to help them take over the rest of us. If a man I have held in such high regard, Rowan, believes for one minute that this is not what Robert and Martyn et co are thinking, or that once the council is in place he can control it and keep that from happening, I beg him to think again. Good grief.
It is going to take much more than the polite Episcospeak that has come out of the Executive Council to convince Rowan Williams that he is not the pope. TEC has not yet agreed to participate in this arrangement and he is calling for nominations by the middle on the month. His haste is unseemly to say the least.
I can't help but recall how "overjoyed" so many of us were when uninvited voices from England and elsewhere were suddenly "speaking" at GenCon in Columbus. Certainly part of the intention of the proposed Pastoral Council is to make that a repeatable, if not permanent, offense.
And now the ABC is dictating that "they" cannot wait for the next General Convention to speak. And at the same time, soliciting nominations for a post to which our church has not given its assent (with more than few questioning whether or not such assent is even possible regardless of desire).
It doesn't take an action of Executive Council or the House of Bishops to make clear the deep problems that exist with these demands.... er, "requests."
"If ... Rowan, believes for one minute that this is not what Robert and Martyn et co are thinking, or that once the council is in place he can control it and keep that from happening, I beg him to think again."
It's not as if there isn't a track record, a lengthy strategy memo, Jim Naughton's excellent 'follow the money' documents and the past, recent, and continuing behavior of these people. Is the man so sheltered from reality that he doesn't know this?
And why has he not decried the proposed anti-gay legislation in NIgeria? If that resolution from the last Lambet can be used against us, it also decries the kind of legislation that Martun Minns countenances and Akinola supports.
Fool or knave? Fook or knave? Inquiring minds no longer really care, since neither allows him to see reality or learn from the experience of the last several years.
This is how a "request" becomes an ultimatum becomes a fait accompli - before TEC can respond be sure to have the entire superstructure in place so that refusal of any part in the future becomes a refusal of the whole that is already in place. Wow. Either Bishop Shori really did indicate she could deliver on the Communique or Rowan is clueless how this will play in America. A taste of the meddling to come. Primates say so. I make it so. You do so. Or out you go. Great. At least, he's shown his hand now and we have not illusion what we are buying into. I hope Bishop Shori is paying attention.
Ah, finally, a Primate from somewhere else.
And so there will be, let's see: (a) a Primate, (b) two or three dioceses, (c) some bishops, (d) a number of parishes – put them all together and they spell an Alternative Province simply waiting for the moment to nudge the rest of us out of the way while kissing the ultimate ring of the Ultimate Primate.
How blind and silly I must be to see such a silly vision!
"There was no questioning at our meeting of the fact that the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10 remains the standard of teaching on matters of sexual morality for the Communion." Can anyone clarify whether or not Rowan Williams signed resolution 1:10? Have seen it stated that he did not, but assuming that he has some sense of shame, this statement makes one suspect that he did sign it.
I am a lawyer.
I see that pastoral council as putting TEC into receivership.
My problem is that such an alternative is not being offered to liberals in archconservative dioceses. In some ways I hope this system works, because it gives hope to people like myself that another solution can be found - the precedent being created by them will eventually be able to help people like me.
The one thing that saddened me in this letter was the failure to recognise the health of the existing Episcolian Church and the capacity of its existing leaders such as Katherine Schori. There is also a healing required for the existing communion in the US, to affirm the principles and merits of what they have chosen to do and why.
Otherwise, this develops into a farce equivalent to their talking nicely to homosexuals, but on the exclusive premise that when they are healed they are a married heterosexual, and all else means they have not truly repented and trusted Jesus.
I quite like how the US elections are shaping up. It was nice to see Obama and Clinton reminding people how the civil liberties movement made it possible for either of them to be likely candidates for the US presidency. While some people think that ending slavery ended 200 years ago, many souls are appreciating that there are other forms of slavery and the dynamics of slavery need to be redressed if there is to be true healing. Citizenry and justice needs to be applied uniformly and fairly to all.
I want to give the conservatives something to chew over:
if, in your rush to create a roman-like magisterium, you centralize power in the Anglican communion, what on earth makes you think that the province that pays the piper (us awful Americans) isn't going to insist on calling the tune? Up until now we as Anglicans have been merely a fellowship of independent national churches with catholic orders. But with power centralized...
If you succeed in creating a centralized magisterium to bring us under control, what makes you think that we won't go along now to get the reins in our hands and start telling you what to do soon enough? Are you that naive? I don't think that we should do this, because I suspect all accumulations of power, but remember that we are Americans, and if the power structure is there and we are paying the bills, how long do you think it will be before your church is the "problem" that we will need to solve - in the way and according to the plans that we make.
Think twice before creating this magisterium to bring us in line. If the CofE is disestablished there will be an almight push to make Canterbury representative of the entire communion. And that first American archbishop of Canterbury may be a little less subserviant to your wishes than you would imagine.
Be careful what you ask for. Be careful concentrating power.
Apologies for misspelling the Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's name above. Long night. Failed to preview. Lots of sad excuses. Sorry.
I am disappointed to see ++Rowan repeating the canard that the Primates have upheld 1998 Lambeth 1:10 as the standard for the Communion. This is blatantly false.
What the Primates have upheld is a picked over carcass of the resolution rather than the resolution itself - a version which demands all of ECUSA while excusing all for the so-called Global South.
Likewise Cantuar's dissembling fiddle about the Windsor Report. It is only bits and pieces of the Windsor Report that are on offer - those which constrain ECUSA. In the meantime, the rest of the Windsor Report is not just winked at, but set aside entirely with express permission for the Global South Primates to continue their unauthorized and entirely uncanonical interference.
I was particularly struck by the line, ". . . interventions in the jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church will be able to cease . . ."
Was it not enough that Rowan Williams pandered to hypocrites? Sadly, he seems to have become the hypocrite in chief.
And how can he say that they respect our polity and then say that they want our House of Bishops to act unilaterally because they can't wait until the next General Convention?
Does the man LISTEN to what he says?
Here is a link where readers can see what has been going on in one of the most outspokenly "orthodox" (and schismatically-minded) dioceses in the U.S., one that has played a leading role in recent controversies:
Staggering. And notice where this little hootenanny took place -- not in a moth eaten circus tent out on the highway, but in John-David Schofield's cathedral.
Absolutely with Lois.
I'm livid that ++Rowan couldn't even wait for a formal response to this hideous idea of a "pastoral" council from TEC before his Honor starts soliciting nominees.
As part of the Season of Fasting TEC should fast from sending money to the Anglican Com.
All this emotion wasted. What earthly reason is there to stay with the Anglican communion? Joint mission? We don't need the communion for that. Exchange of those in Orders? What a small number of people that affects. Again i say, the sooner we are out the better. Then the Archbishop will be free to deal with his own gathering disaster.
In a less rabid moment, I "double dip" and refer y'all to Susan Russell's post on the U.S. Integrity website. One of the parts of Rowan's letter to which she points:
"To address these requests to the American House of Bishops is not to ignore the polity of The Episcopal Church, but to acknowledge that the bishops have a key role, acknowledged in the Constitution of that church, in authorising liturgies within their dioceses and in giving consent to the election of candidates for episcopal order"
But that is not exactly true. First, I have served with three diocesan bishops during my short years as a priest in TEC, all three of whom have given permission for same sex blessings, but all of whom have refused to "authorize" liturgies for same, stating that only General Convention can authorize new liturgies not already in the Book of Common Prayer. Second, the House of Bishops has already said, so far as I can remember, that they have not and are not at this time authorizing rites for same sex blessings.
So, first, to say that Rowan is not expecting us to ignore our polity is bogus, since we understand that General Convention makes changes authorizing new rites in the BCP, and naive to say the least. And second, we already are complying with that heinous request not to authorize new liturgies, heinous because it continues to slap in the face good and faithful Christian sisters and brothers and remind them that they really aren't as good as the rest of us. So, what are we REALLY being asked to do, that we have not already done, with regard to liturgies, or rites of blessing?
Oh God, this just makes me so tired.
Notwithstanding the comments of others I'm grateful to Rowan for clarifying that the two questions put to the TEC HoB are precisely questions that the TEC polity says the bishops are competent to determine.
No one (IIRC) can be appointed a bishop without HoB consent, so the bishops can answer the first question.
No one can authorise liturgy without the bishops agreement. So the bishops can answer the second question.
Anglicanism is not a democracy. Bishops have authority that goes beyond what synods and conventions may determine. Otherwise they have ceased to be bishops in any traditional understanding of the word and are mere chairmen or convenors, whatever formal title they may choose to go by. And that's not some modern invention of the primates' meeting, it lies at the heart of the Chicago-Lambeth quadrilateral.
If the TEC bishops choose not to give a clear response one way or the other, if they try to hide behind some putative GC some three years hence, then I guess it's time to take the word "episcopal" out of the title.
I came to the Episcopal Church over 20 years ago because of its respect for reason. My faith has grown in TEC and when this all started, I thought I would remain what ever the outcome. Now as I watch the antics of the ABC, I'm not so sure anymore. If TEC gives in to this, it may be time for my family and I to become seekers once again.
Lois Keen wrote: "I'm surprised to find myself feeling violated."
Dear Lois, isn't that the problem ? TEC wants to be able to say it is in the Anglican Communion, and to have a say in the Communion's life, but feels violated when the Communion wants to have a say in it's life. Sounds rather like the US's relationship with the United Nations!
Anyway I think you can assume that the ABofC will appoint one of his liberal allies to head the pastoral council (maybe Eames rather than Carey?) and then insist that he has done all that is necessary to allow all Anglicans in the US to regroup within TEC.. It is likely to just be a weak umbrella to keep enough conservatives happy.
JPM wrote, "-- not in a moth eaten circus tent out on the highway, but in John-David Schofield's cathedral."
Great Googly Moogly! What's next for these "orthodox Anglicans" ? Snake-handling ?!
Oh, I don't know, but perhaps if we give the "Flying Bishop" position to Duncan, we can kill two birds at once. They (the dissenting parishes here in the U.S.) can have him, and we can get Pittsburgh back into the fold. Problem solved.
Then again I'm probably just as naive as the ABC.
The Archbishop of Canterbury seems to be cognitively and spiritually disconnected from the realities of life in the Church of England & The Episcopal Church. I mean seriously … does he expect that the Presiding Bishop is going to tell the openly gay and lesbian partnered members of the Episcopal Church's Executive Committee as well as other LGBT members of the House of Deputies that they need to immediately adopt the moral teachings of 1998 Lambeth 1.10 as the standard for their lives as baptized Christians?
This pastoral letter is absolutely absurd, illogical, and an unreasonable demand for ++Rowan to make at this point in time in the life of the Anglican Communion. One wonders who has the ecclesiastical authority and moral audacity to confront him about the disingenuous nature of his letter. The House of Bishops may indeed adopt some sort of letter complying with the Primates Communiqué but that letter will have no canonical status until the General Convention convenes in 2009. Moreover, it is highly unlikely that diocesan bishops currently sanctioning same-sex unions will continue to do so. I've written more about this development here http://vocatio.blogspot.com/2007/03/pastoral-letter-from-lambeth-palace.html
Yes, this is an interesting way to try to re-establish trust.
I wonder if Rowan has already chosen a cool logo for the rebranded Windsor Communion.
"Good grief" says it all...this is *almost* hysterically funny...has +++Rowan gone over the edge or has he simply started taking spiritual instruction from Lord Carey of Clifton?
Let's see if I've got this right:
We need unprecedented *non-canonical* action by the HofB, through binding covenant, to make TEC into a "Windsor Church"
...but that done, then we *still* need to cede control to a SUBGROUP of "Windsor Bishops"?
I ask you, in all due respect and solemnity: WTF???
Love this: "alternative pastoral oversight because of their theological differences with their diocesan bishop or with the Presiding Bishop"
"their THEOLOGICAL differences"???
Just how far has this "TEC is no longer Christian/TEC's a New Religion" ***CANARD*** gone now?
Seriously, Anglicans of the World: do *YOU* want a "theology police" in YOUR Church??? Is our "theology" to be put to an *arm-twisting* (complete w/ ultimatum) at every Primates Meeting?
For the LOVE OF GOD---enough is ENOUGH! >:-0
Lord have mercy!
Would Americans bow to a Commonwealth Council, under the chairmanship of Queen Elizabeth, to oversee all the States who are unhappy with President Bush. What about Tony Blair as the "presidential vicar", now he is on the way out.
Bishop Katharine should have absolute authority over this Council and a veto over who is appointed.
Just Wait until the conservative evangelicals establish their own primatial council in England.
The ABC has a very hard job. He is clearly doing his best to get an honest, workable solution. He deserves support and prayers.
Out of his Ebony Tower ++Rowan Williams pronounces: “There was no questioning at our meeting of the fact that the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10 remains the standard of teaching on matters of sexual morality for the Communion.”
I find it very strange that an ABC, or indeed anyone, who is not an Integrist could express himself like this. Neither the Lambeth Conferences, nor their Resolutions, have any “standing” in and of themselves. They may express the meaning of most of or some of the Bishops assembled, but they are not “in themselves” – so cannot be “binding”.
They most certainly are not t h e standard as there is no unanimity but different Cultural attitudes, different Intellectual approaches, different Hermeneutic interpretations and different Pastoral conclusions within the Anglican Communion on matters of sexual morality, just as there are Cultural attitudes, different Intellectual approaches, different Hermeneutic interpretations and different Pastoral conclusion on the Eucharist, women’s ordination and consecration, polygamy and a host of other things.
What one would have expected someone who is not an Integrist, especially someone with the responsibilities of an ABC, to say is rather something like:
“There was no questioning at our meeting of the fact that there is no unanimity within the Anglican Communion but different Cultural attitudes, different Intellectual approaches, different Hermeneutic interpretations and different Pastoral conclusions on matters of sexual morality and that as long as there is no such unanimity the 1998 Lambeth Conference 1.10 expresses the majority view among the Provinces.”
(But then one must ask Whence the need to express “a majority view” on sexual morality, when there isn’t one on other matters of equal or infinitely greater importance?)
There is nothing like a No. Just say No!
C.B. asks forgivness for mis-spelling the American PB's name "Long night. Failed to preview. Lots of sad excuses. Sorry."
Though it was nothing compared to "Squiddy"
David Walker wrote: "Notwithstanding the comments of others I'm grateful to Rowan for clarifying that the two questions put to the TEC HoB are precisely questions that the TEC polity says the bishops are competent to determine.
No one (IIRC) can be appointed a bishop without HoB consent, so the bishops can answer the first question."
Well, I would say that the first claim here seems debatable, at least, and that - perhaps - Dr Rowan is not in the best place to "clarify" anything, especially on TEC Constitutions & Canons.
As to the second claim, also Standing Committees have to consent to bishops being consecrated, as in the case of the Southern Carolinian electus whose consents are due Friday 9/3 (so far 50% + one of the Bishops have consented, Standing Committée consents are 11 consents short).
As to JPM's link about the prophesy-thing, this was found yesterday also on one of the more well known of the schismatic's blogs, but it is gone today.
For once I think NP has got it absolutely right. ++Rowan has to deal with the situation AS IT IS, not how the various lobbying groups wish it were. He has a pastoral responsibility to ALL involved, except those who have specifically broken communion with him (which is the only test of being in the Anglican Communion) - by which I mean the sundry "continuing" groups.
Pray for him, don't grumble at him. Grumbling is a spiritual sickness anyway (Exodus/Numbers passim, also John 6). I'm hearing more US imperialism than sober theological reflection in some contributions to the debate.
Rev. Mark Harris on his blog believes that the ABC has been in effect given an ultimatum by Akinola that unless the U.S. Bishops conform AND the proposed council is in place by the end of September Akinola and the GS7 will bolt the AC, and establish a separate church in the U.S. It therefore is the ABC's last ditch effort to preserve the AC intact. This certainly jives with Akinola's statements of late and would explain the ABC's seeming cluelessness concerning TEC polity and ham handedness concerning foisting the council on TEC prematurely. He simply can not afford to pay attention to these kinds of details. He must ram it through. If he doesn't, he will have to chose between TEC or Akinola. It's interesting that he thinks of the two TEC is the most likely to cave in. I wonder how we might disabuse him and Akinola of this view?? What then Claudius?
If it hadn't been for ++Rowan speaking where he should have been silent and being silent when he should have spoken up, the "situation" would not have been AS IT IS.
George Conger's report in The Living Church of Primates leaving The White Sands before the meeting ended in chaos and a self-contradictory Communiquee, indicates that others present do understand the dynamics of dysfunctionality.
"... I'm grateful to Rowan for clarifying that the two questions put to the TEC HoB are precisely questions that the TEC polity says the bishops are competent to determine.
"No one (IIRC) can be appointed a bishop without HoB consent, so the bishops can answer the first question."
But this is WRONG. We elect - we do not appoint - bishops. It is 6 years since +Gene, and you still don't get it.
And it is not the HoB that consents, but only bishops with jurisdiction - that is, diocesans. Bishops Suffragen, Bishops Co-adjutor, Assisting Bishops - all of whom are part of HoB - do not.
Perhaps a new Godwin's Law for TA? By all means squawk "US imperialism" when those of us on the left side of the Atlantic defend the integrity of our independent province. Please don't confuse TEC with Bush Doctrine, and please know that none of us would dream of interfering with the muddled polity of the CofE.If the Anglican Communion continues its embarassing lunge to Biblical fundamentalism and purity codes,it won't have to worry with us crazy Americans disturbing the patriarchy. But, it will not be about "imperialism" when you cut us free.
cb - it is not so much a decision on who will cave in (akinola or tec) first but a decision on who the AC would rather walk apart if someone has to choose to do that.....
........clearly, it would harm the AC a lot less if people like VGR and his relatively small no of supporters in the AC walked apart rather than the AC risking losing the GS, Reform, Alpha, Fulcrum type people all over the AC....that it cannot afford to do
C.B.: I agree that the ABC's back is up against a wall. But in reading the Living Church article leaves to wonder why the PB was "star chambered" on the name change from EPCUSA to EP. However well granted that this might well have been smacking of "U.S. Imperialism" mentioned in previous letters here, why was this done? Was this a "cheap shot" to discredit her and GC decisions before ever giving her a chance to explain?
I well grant you that there is enough US arrogance and imperialism, but our PB and the past GC changes have not been in name of such.
My question, as is obviously many others, is why the ABC unwilling to stand up to AB Akinola's obvious offensiveness?
Back when TEC was discussing "A Concordat of Agreement" with ELCA, one of the Lutherans objected on the basis that she didn't want to have bishops appointed by the Queen of England.
I now apologize.
". . . interventions in the jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church will be able to cease . . ."
And the beatings will continue until morale improves.
Choirboyfromhell wrote: "... why was this done? Was this a "cheap shot" to discredit her and GC decisions before ever giving her a chance to explain?"
This sort of thing happens in dys-functional meetings whenever a fraction lacking the numbers is up to something.
Simple as that.
I'm sure ABC and others were quite horrified, but being horrified does not help. It takes a lot of experience, foresight, cunning and stamina to prevent it, whenever (wich in organized religion is often) sociopats of various orders are present.
Oh yes, the answer is that this was indeed intended to discredit the PB, but not just a "cheap shot", but premeditated, planned and rehearsed.
These things always are.
Rowan is quite clearly exercising the sort of authority the Covenant would allow – in advance.
It seems the Primates are also anticipating this power in their declarations – in a way they are telling us all: “ These are now the “facts on the ground” we have taken over your Communion, we have installed ourselves in the power vacuum, if you don’t like it then don’t sign up to the Covenant and push off.”
Rowan has also leapt from his 1998 position on Lambeth pronouncements that led him to sign the Pastoral Statement to Lesbian and Gay Anglicans and infuriate the then ABC to one that now sees them as “the teaching”. Likewise - if you don’t want this novelty then “go forth and diminish”.
It’s a new world folks and the best way to make it happen is to act as if already has. Bishops and other leaders have always behaved like this, act as if you have the authority until someone tells you otherwise – I once heard a senior canon lawyers laughingly (but seriously) advise a bishop just that!
What to make of Bishop Walker’s outburst?
Well all I can say is that there is more than one model of episcopacy within Anglicanism. Though perhaps I should say in this fast developing Church – there has been more than one model …………. It’s hard at the moment to make any statement about our Communion because it is in such a state of flux becoming something else.
At least it seems Bishop Walker appears pleased and thinks things have been clarified.
It’s nice to think someone is happy.
C.B. thanks for the humility on the typo. This forum can be embarassing when your dyslexia is mucking up (you can't fix your mistakes) but it makes it a fantastic site for an audit trail of how the dynamics are developing - authors can't wipe out their mistakes.
Cynthia asked if the man LISTEN to what he says. I would suggest they rely on us not being able to identify or communicate their inferences until they are imposed upon us.
The reasonable calls to patience now are not coming because the conservatives are patient caring people. They are coming because they thought we had no theological backbone or solid foundations to justify our positions and actions. Now that they have found out that when they roar at the mouse the mouse says "boo", they are calling for patience.
In the meantime, weaving their snakes into nooks and crannies to create nests if they can not win on the ultimatum intimidation strategy.
We will talk nicely to them, because we have always talked nicely to them. But that does not mean that we either respect or trust them. Nor are we naive enough to think that they are not preparing behind the scenes (and off the internet) game plan strategies. That's fine. We know they are doing that. And thanks to the internet, so does the rest of the world.
They can hide the planning but they can not hide the fruits, because if they hide the fruits their tree is barren.
JCF, re: your comments above.
THANK YOU! You brightened my evening, made me laugh, made me nod my head in agreement, made me offer a short prayer of thanksgiving.
And I *think* we may be in the same diocese!
"First, I have served with three diocesan bishops during my short years as a priest in TEC, all three of whom have given permission for same sex blessings, but all of whom have refused to "authorize" liturgies for same, stating that only General Convention can authorize new liturgies not already in the Book of Common Prayer."
That's a complete and total crock. If a bishop believes that he hasn't the authority to authorize liturgies, then the priests in his jurisdiction have no authority to any rite not approved by GC. If, OTOH, a bishop authorizes SSBs, he has implicitly approved the rite used.
Without either being approved by GC or the liturgical ifficer if the diocese (i.e the bishop), no priest has any authority to perform any rite.
Lois, if you haven't been taught that in seminary, your education is woefully incomplete.