Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Canadian news roundup

The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada recently met, and issued this Letter to the Church.

Earlier the new primate Archbishop Fred Hiltz had visited Lambeth Palace and the Anglican Communion Office. See this report:

…Throughout these visits, Archbishop Hiltz heard encouraging feedback about how the Anglican Church of Canada is dealing with the issue of same-sex blessings.

“It’s always nice to hear someone like the Archbishop of Canterbury or from the Anglican Communion Office say you’re handling this coherently, cautiously, judiciously, and you’ve got some things I would hold up as a model for others to consider as they grapple with the issue,” said Archbishop Hiltz. “Of course that’s very encouraging and I’m looking forward to sharing those kinds of reflections at the Council of General Synod and the House of Bishops. Because we need to hear that.”

Two dioceses have recently voted on the matter of same-sex blessings, see Anglican Journal reports:

Ottawa votes yes to same-sex blessings

Ottawa synod followed process, says primate

Montreal diocese becomes second to urge same-sex blessings

“Progressive” Anglicans urge bishops to allow gay marriage

Ontario priest disciplined for marrying same-sex couple

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 31 October 2007 at 10:59pm GMT | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Canada

The second link is missing the ht part of http:
It should be

Posted by: ruidh on Thursday, 1 November 2007 at 1:08am GMT

Gotta say, you just can't beat that virtue of NOT being the Ugly Yanks, eh? ;-/

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 1 November 2007 at 4:17am GMT

Well, JCF, people here HAVE wondered why it is that the AC of Canada doesn't seem to get as much flack as TEC. All the same, our conservatives can still trump up claims of oppression. Our ex bishop recently spoke of "faithless" Anglicans in Canada! He neglected to mention who these were, of course, or his own record in fomenting schism. But it IS somewhat more difficult for Candian schjismatics to credibly put up the oppressed face.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 1 November 2007 at 11:58am GMT

Interesting reported remarks of the Archbishop of Canterbury, that show the Covenant, should it ever happen, is intended to be based on Communion-process and not fellowship-belief.

Posted by: Pluralist on Thursday, 1 November 2007 at 3:16pm GMT

Minor spelling correction, Ford 'flak' not 'flack' - from the WWII German flakartillerie, or anti-aircraft fire. Known, I believe, as 'Archie' in WWI....

Geek moment over:-)

Posted by: Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Thursday, 1 November 2007 at 3:33pm GMT

Oh my. I'm quite the language geek myself, so this causes me some shame. That and my punctuation mistakes in recent posts. I'll go hang my head now. Is this God telling me not to be so pretentious?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 1 November 2007 at 4:31pm GMT

The flak-disparity might partly be explained by the difference in process.

The Canadian Church - even in a "liberal" diocese like New Westminster - has proceeded more deliberatly and incrementally. In New West, Bishop Ingham actually twice withheld consent from synod resolutions calling for the authorization of same sex blessings, and required an intentional diocesan dialogue before proceeding. (Of course, that does not pre-empt the trumped up charge of oppression from the schismatics.)

Although Canadian society is, in many regards, more progressive than American (universal health care and gay marriage to name two points), but we are more conservative about process. Afterall, the US was created in revolution, and Canada by evolution.

It is perhaps significant that, while the American Constitution speaks of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," the Canadian speaks of "peace, order and good government."

How do you get 100 Canadians out of a swimming pool? "Hey guys! Time to get out of the pool."

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Thursday, 1 November 2007 at 5:26pm GMT

Rowan Williams has consistently said that his problem with New Hampshire is the order of events: he thinks that whether same sex relationships should be blessed should be resolved before making someone in a same sex relationship a bishop. The Canadians are therefore approaching things in the "right" order from his point of view.

I don't really agree with him because, obviously, those who participated in the election and consecration of Gene Robinson thought that he had the personal and spiritual qualities required of a bishop, and did not consider his same-sex life partner to be in breach of this. They didn't overlook the point.

I also think it is odd, given the large numbers of very immoral bishops and archbishops and popes we have seen in the universal church over the centuries, to say that the disputed personal holiness of a bishop is more fundamental than disputes about the holiness of same sex relationships generally.

Posted by: badman on Thursday, 1 November 2007 at 5:56pm GMT

I agree with your last paragraph, badman, but not the second last. A sizable chunk of the Church thinks his sexuality and relationship status is an issue, whether or not the people of New Hampshire agree. He is duly elected and consecrated, but that is the issue. I do not dispute his status as bishop, or the certainty of the people of the diocese they were following the Spirit. But, they went ahead and, as NP is continually reminding us, did something they knew would cause this kind of trouble. From what I read of him, I think +VGR is a good man, and a good bishop, a far better example of Christian behaviour than most of those who oppose him. Indeed, I think he shows their Fishtianity for what it is.I don't think his relationship status is an issue, and furthermore, the way the right paints him out is shockingly slanderous. He didn't dump his wife, he wasn't dishonest with her, even early in their marriage, despite their claims to the contrary. But the right sees it as arrogant for the people of one diocese to claim that they know what's right, everybody else is wrong, and if anyone has a problem with that, well, leave or stay, your choice. They have a point, for all their unChristian behaviour.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 1 November 2007 at 6:49pm GMT

Don't get too stressed about typos and slight grammar faux pas. This kind of medium makes them inevitable.

God knows we're human and we are not required to be perfect.

I liked the banter between David and Ford, it was done with good will.

Remember, one of evil's manifestations is as The Accusser - which is basically a nitpicking pain in the derrier. I often imagine God and The Accusser haggling over who is "in" and "out". John the Baptist and Jesus can get away with things because they were conceived of Holy Spirit and thus "divine", but all the rest of us plebs are still screwed unless Jesus somehow changes the rules.

The last 2000 years has seen attempts to deny more and more from God's grace, to refute earlier covenants and limit who is covered by Jesus' covenant. It's got to the stage that some souls actually aren't honoring Jesus anymore but have worshipping some small idol that doesn't even contain all of Christianity, let alone all of humanity, nor all of this planet, nor all of this space-time universe. It is a very small "g" god with a very small and nitpicking heart.

Certainly not the transcendent all embracing all knowing all loving God that encapsulates all of space-time universes, including both the seen and unseen. The covenant came from God, and one of its core aims is to slice apart any nitpicking theology that attempts to deny God's ability to offer grace to each and every soul as and when God is ready.

In the meantime, God bless the Canadians, again, one of the quiet achievers in the communion.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Thursday, 1 November 2007 at 7:32pm GMT

Cheryl and Ford, while I sometimes see spelling and grammar as adiaphora, I think it is better that we do check our spelling and grammar even in a medium where mistakes are inevitable. I have been recently convinced by the likes of Lynne Truss that this is something valuable for the English tongue. Such caution forces us, sometimes, to be careful with what we mean. The Holy Spirit speaks through fragile vessels, and awareness of that fragility is something both of you have pointed out.

More importantly, and this is how I connect it to the Canadians, what I admire about the ACC's approach to the process of opening the Church is that it is as careful and measured as any process of editing. It is here where I believe hope lies; rather than shrill, noisy posturing, there is a calm and quiet process that tries to get to the same goals without causing anyone undue pain.

I think they are aware, as I recently shared with a group of lay ministers in my parish, that human beings can make us sinners, but only God can make us saints.

Posted by: Ren Aguila on Friday, 2 November 2007 at 12:13am GMT

Ford Elms --

Actually, it seems unfair to blame the people of one diocese, since their choice was ratified by the General Convention of The Episcopal Church.

At the time I certainly did not believe it would lead to schism in the Anglican Communion (or, since the WWAC is NOT "a" or "the" "church" is it even correct to talk about "schism"?)

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Friday, 2 November 2007 at 12:24am GMT

"At the time I certainly did not believe it would lead to schism in the Anglican Communion"

Even for me, this is surprising. I thought it was pretty obvious that if TEC went ahead with the consecration of +VGR there would be major upheavels and, in all likelihood, schism. What basis was there for thinking this WOULDN'T happen? I always thought TEC was quite clear on the consequences, but felt so strongly about the issue they felt it right to act. I would be quite disappointed in TEC if, instead of forging ahead with something they felt strongly about, whether or not I think they SHOULD have forged ahead, right or wrong, they instead could be shown to have acted because they just didn't understand the depth of feeling against this or worse, didn't care. Sorry, Prior, but I don't understand how you didn't see this coming.

And Ren and Cheryl, I am a language geek. Lynn Truss is a saitn. I am always on the lookout for funny grammar slips. The idiotic idea that language being an instinct, reading and writing are also instinctual has led to a much greater frequency of this sort of thing. No stress at all.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 2 November 2007 at 11:00am GMT

Prior.....NH was in tune with the GC province..... but the same goes for one province making a unilateral change, despite ALL the primates asking them not to given the obvious resultant damage to the AC, and the province then demanding that all accept its innovation is equally valid.

Not acceptable behaviour....first convince people that what you want is not "incompatible with scripture" before doing it, TEC HOB

Posted by: NP on Friday, 2 November 2007 at 11:33am GMT

"...first convince people that what you want is not "incompatible with scripture" before doing it, TEC HOB"

And if you truly believe the Spirit is acting in your decision, but you are unable to convince those other people, what then?

Why should what I perceive as the errors of others prevent me from doing what I think is right?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Friday, 2 November 2007 at 11:56am GMT

Ford, I just read your last entry. I knew the last paragraph was deliberat... I mean deliberate.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Posted by: Ren Aguila on Friday, 2 November 2007 at 12:30pm GMT

No, NP, the level of sheer anti-gay aggression unleashed in recent years by people claiming to be Anglican could not have been predicted. In the 1970s, when mainstream British society, for example, was very homophobic, the C of E provided a tolerant space for a lot of gay people. I remember in the 80s when David Jenkins became Bishop of Durham, there was a lot of controversy over his appointment because he questioned what were seen as key doctrines, yet no-one broke communion over that. It simply has not been (is not) the Anglican way to make such an angry display towards those we disagree with. That is a new and very unpleasant unAnglican unChristian departure thrown up by the way the conservatives have dealt, uniquely, with this issue.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Friday, 2 November 2007 at 12:49pm GMT

Mark - sorry, but it is very Christian to not accept false teaching or contradictions to clear scripture.....we are to judge teaching and reject what is false.....1 Cor 5:12 is just one example but Genesis to Rev is clear on this....the truth is revealed and matters and holiness matter too, especually for those "saved by grace" (Romans 6).....

Pat says "And if you truly believe the Spirit is acting in your decision, but you are unable to convince those other people, what then?"
-Well, if you are really convinced but cannot convince many others, then consider whether you are right....prayerfully, of course.
If people are sure they are right, then join a church which takes the same view.....don't take advantage of "don't ask don't tell policies" or weak leadership to subvert a church which disagrees with a particular view.... the problems int the AC result frm TECUSA not being willing to stick to agreed AC positions but still demanding to stay in the AC or maybe being too afraid not to be part of a larger church ( given the alternative is even greater obscurity than the Anglican world already gives).

Pat, there is honour in saying, "this is what I believe and I will take the consequences".
There is no honour in doublespeak and fudge (aka lies. Canon Harmon and others asked TEC HOB to tell the truth plainly in NO.... but the HOB chose to "play the long game", accept tactical delays, say they will comply knowing full well many will not...... as VGR had made clear, nothing changed but the words.
I would have respected a TEC HOB statement which said, "We believe we are right to have VGR as a bishop and since our view is not acceptable in the AC, after 4 years of trying to get acceptance, we are withdrawing"......this would have shown some concern not further to damage the fabric of the communion.

Posted by: NP on Friday, 2 November 2007 at 1:48pm GMT

"Why should what I perceive as the errors of others prevent me from doing what I think is right?"

Because you are a human being, broken by the Fall, and therefor might well have it wrong? Because the fallibility of individual decision making requires us to seek a group concensus, and the Church has traditionally seen that, as far as it can be reached, as evidence of the working of the Spirit? Because one member of a global body can be argued to be individual in a sense in this context, and, like individuals, still get things wrong? Though the "others" might be wrong as well, simple assertions of one's rightness are no indicator of truth.

Look at it this way: I am a gay man who seriously believes that there may well be something to marriage that is intended only for heterosexuals, that marriage is NOT about validating people's relationships, that there are other ways to validate gay relationships than pretending they are heterosexual ones. I don't believe "different" necessarily means inferior, though I do believe the pious pronouncements of conservatives serve to cover their belief that we ARE inferior, since that is amply shown in everything else they say and do WRT us. So, what is there in TEC's actions that convince me She HAS discerned the will of the Spirit? Precious little, actually. I believe the right's manifestly unChristian behaviour pretty much discredits anything they say. If they are unwilling to speak the truth about their fellow humans, how can they be trusted to speak the truth about God? All the same, TEC's manful soldiering on convinced of their own rightness with little regard for the concerns of anyone else casts doubt on their actions too. So, I will not be getting married, even should the Church in Canada say I can, simply because I don't have confidence in either side to discern the will of God in this. I don't see the actions of the Left as even close in nastiness to those of the Right, but I still have no confidence yet that, were I to get married, I actually would BE married, and not just have some words said over me.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 2 November 2007 at 3:15pm GMT

Comments here should relate to Canada. That's C a n a d a.
Thank you.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 2 November 2007 at 4:29pm GMT

Canadian - a person who will apologize to you if you step on his foot.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Friday, 2 November 2007 at 10:17pm GMT

Malcolm - a person who makes fatuous generalisations.

Posted by: Andrew Innes on Saturday, 3 November 2007 at 12:51am GMT

No, Andrew. I'm just a Canadian with an appreciation for self-deprecating humour.

You might try humour. It could sweeten your disposition.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Sunday, 4 November 2007 at 5:43am GMT

It has also been brought to my attention that the American constitution begins "We the people" while the BNA Act began "Whereas the provinces..." Pierre Burton said the difference is that the Americans are in love with liberty, Canadians are in love with order." I think it's true. At least out here, we have an attitude toward government that is pretty much the exact opposite of the American concepts.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 5 November 2007 at 1:34pm GMT
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.