Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Lambeth: Tuesday after reports

Updated Tuesday evening

Robert Pigott of the BBC has published his final entry in Lambeth Diary. Read DARING THE EXTREMES TO LEAVE.

Anglican TV has Archbishop Orombi clarifies The Times letter.

The Living Church has What the Lambeth Conference Accomplished by Steve Waring.

Regarding the final press conference, there is now a transcript of it here (thank you Lichfield), and ENS has video recordings here (navigate by date to two segments dated 08/03/08).

ENS also has two further reports by Mary Frances Schjonberg:
Lengthy reflections document called ‘narrative’ of Lambeth experience and
Reactions to Lambeth Conference span the spectrum.

Tuesday evening additions

Yesterday’s Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 had a segment at 8.53, which includes both a report by Robert Pigott and an interview with Bishop Nick Baines.

And Premier Christian Radio has two segments: Lambeth Conference draws to a close and Anglican Church looks to the future. Those interviewed include Graham Kings and Rod Thomas.

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Comments

I watched the whole press conference and had to admire the consistency of the ABC's policy and the way it has held and given itself body at Lambeth. It is a triumph for the middle ground.

The closing words "I hope and pray" might have wider application than the commitment of Anglicans to the civil and human rights of gays.

Americans are asked to accept the moratoria "unless and until a wider consensus emerges". One could hope and pray also for a "sacrificial" response from TEC or, failing that, for a willingness to continue warm relationships in a situation of fractured communion (all rather paradoxical).

One could also hope and pray that GAFCON will not see talk of (mere) moratoria and possible wider consensus as just a massive sellout of "biblical" morality, and that the harmony radiating from Lambeth will be attractive to them and bring them in from the cold.

The problems remain, but the Lambeth discussions have made nonetheless a big difference, in that they have shown in a landmark way that the will to mutual understanding prevails in the AC.

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Tuesday, 5 August 2008 at 12:07pm BST

"The crisis in the Communion is about authority – biblical authority and ecclesiastical authority."

+Orombi's right, in a sense. It's about people, both in Africa and otherwise, who need well delineated lines of authority with strong centralization. Perhaps he doesn't see the irony in some members of a Church that rejected late medieval style Papal authority seeking to return to something very similar. He obviously doesn't see the irony in the fact that those same members are the very ones who consider themselves children of the Reformation. They want the power structure of Rome, while rejecting the teachings that go along with it. But, in actuality, the crisis is about people like him who claim that anyone who does not seek this kind of authority is faithless, seeking the approval of the world, and at best only marginally Christian.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 5 August 2008 at 12:59pm BST

Things will get worse before, or even if, they get better. There is already too much momentum built up. No one is in any position to force or enforce a "full stop" in the more liberal parts of the AC, and (likewise) no one is positioned to force or enforce a "full stop" on the more conservative portions of the AC. Until there is a "full stop" on the first front, it is highly unlikely that there will be a "full stop" on the second. Time will tell, I suppose. But, this strikes me as too little, too late.

Posted by: Steven on Tuesday, 5 August 2008 at 2:40pm BST

Religious life on the ground, here in the U.S., is rife with loudmouthed conservatism. That talk is cheap and easily had on free radio and television. Most of them are doing it better than Anglican bishops. It's a defining and poignant move for the American bishops to have taken the stance that they have taken. I believe that, if they stay with it, they will survive a mass exodus of weary Christians no longer willing to tolerate that noise.

Posted by: Curtis on Tuesday, 5 August 2008 at 3:06pm BST

Ah, I think Robert Pigott has been well briefed!

He gives a careful account of what he has been told and shows a clear grasp of the situation.
I have sent this to others as a good summary.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 5 August 2008 at 4:31pm BST

I can't see how anyone can expect a 'full stop', when the two sides are convinced they are doing what is right for their province.

The problem is that there isn't really a middle ground. Sometimes the question is: can two opposing views live together given that neither side will alter their stance.

I agree with Steven that the full stop is not likely to occur on either front - and its the other way round too, as the conservative blogs make absolutely clear.

Posted by: Merseymike on Tuesday, 5 August 2008 at 4:49pm BST

I don't agree with Martin about Robert Pigott on the BBC. I think he misses the Archbishop's own Catholic Church agenda, the centralisation that he wants to see. Pigott just sees it as some sort of balancing operation, hoping to hold enough in at the centre.

Orombi has said no to the Pastoral Forum, that the Primates Council GAFCON set up will do the job. Plus, of course, the Pastoral Forum starts to operate long before any Covenant has been decided upon, and will start interventions of its own that have not been agreed.

Posted by: Pluralist on Tuesday, 5 August 2008 at 6:42pm BST

And I can't imagine that any genuine liberal or believer in gay and lesbian equality would want to remain in a communion with a permanent conservative majority....but then, Anglican liberals are notoriously short of backbone. maybe they will prove me wrong.

The Americans and those who support them would be better off as outsiders, and I am sure they will be only too pleased not to have to keep propping up the conservative-dominated communion financially.

Posted by: Merseymike on Tuesday, 5 August 2008 at 7:08pm BST

"Anglican liberals are notoriously short of backbone"

Only if you define Christian charity as lack of backbone.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 5 August 2008 at 7:37pm BST

"And I can't imagine that any genuine liberal or believer in gay and lesbian equality would want to remain in a communion with a permanent conservative majority..."

Maybe it helps if you don't think that everyone needs to hold the same opinions that you do.

Posted by: BillyD on Tuesday, 5 August 2008 at 8:10pm BST

The first post hopes for a "sacrificial response" from TEC.
But what are we being asked to sacrifice? Our gay and lesbian sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and neighbors.
I thought God already decided that one with the story of Abraham and Isaac. No more human sacrifice.
TEC would lose its soul if it "sacrificed" in this manner, and God would not bless us, for such a sacrifice would be to collude with great evil.

Posted by: Phyllis on Tuesday, 5 August 2008 at 8:27pm BST

Does anyone understand what the Bishop of South Carolina is saying in the ENS article about Reactions to Lambeth? It is a very odd quote that makes little sense to me. It almost sounds as though he is waiting to sign up with some sort of Antichrist. Is conservatism rotting some peoples' brains? Or am I just too obtuse to "get it?"

Posted by: Phyllis on Tuesday, 5 August 2008 at 8:54pm BST

I am all in favour of Christian charity, Ford, but not at someone else's expense. Charity towards the bibliolators is at the expense of the gays. Its a zero-sum game.

Posted by: Paul R on Tuesday, 5 August 2008 at 9:23pm BST

How long before we realize that you cannot do business with Duncan, Akinola, Iker, & Co.? They are dishonorable and are intent only on purifying the cult and turning the clock back to the 1950s. They will stoop to anything, accept money from anyone no matter how sinister, and continue to tie up our time and money until we decide to hold them accountable. We're going on what...five years since GC 2003 and we're still pouring incredible amounts of energy and money into this black hole, hoping we can reach some accommodation with the Rebellion. They don't want accommodation--they want the franchise and if they can't get that, they're content to blow the whole AC up. You can't do business with those types. Time to do whatever has to be done to end this Rebellion.

Posted by: pete on Tuesday, 5 August 2008 at 9:43pm BST

Merseymike, if a "permanent conservative majority" is so intolerable one might as well opt out of the human race. In any case, the majority can swing in Christian circles as it has in society at large toward a more liberal understanding of issues. Liberals in Anglicanism are asked to be patient and they are ready enough to be so because they are confident in the intrinsic rightness of their position (whereas the conservatives show a nervous defensiveness by their clutching at scriptural fundamentalism). Lambeth leaves the door open to the "liberal" understanding of human sexuality and gay/lesbian rights, which is just what drives GAFCON crazy. In the RCC, as Cardinal Kasper showed, there is no such open door -- yet.

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Tuesday, 5 August 2008 at 10:12pm BST

Lambeth may have sounded the death knell for liberal Anglicanism, but provinces are going to be allowed one last liberal innovation before the drawbridge is finally raised: women bishops. Having spotted that liberal polity allows not only women's ministry but also gay rights - especially where that polity is most democratic, in North America - conservative opponents of gay rights are determined to ensure that liberal polity is abolished in order to prevent pro-gay policies taking hold.

It's a race against time for TEC. Will the Covenant be ratified preventing full inclusion? Or, as seems more likely, will they go for full inclusion with the Covenant coming later, then find themselves pushed to the margins if found to be in breach? Either way, TEC's polity will ensure that the liberal agenda, having got so far, will eventually prevail. The Church of England, on the other hand, will be locked into conservative polity and policy irreversibly by means of the Covenant.

Lambeth vindicates the Fulcrum Communion conservative position. GAFCON's return to the fold will be negotiated if at all possible: Akinola and Orombi differ from NT Wright only on strategy, not doctrine. The big question is whether the C of E's participation in an intensified core Communion will be to the detriment of its life and mission in liberal society - and seen to be antithetical to it - more so than if it had adopted policies in keeping with its liberal tradition.

Posted by: Hugh of Lincoln on Tuesday, 5 August 2008 at 10:54pm BST

"I think Robert Pigott has been well briefed! He gives a careful account of what he has been told and shows a clear grasp of the situation."

Are you kidding me Martin? What's so "well briefed" "careful" or "clear" about the following?

"radicals on both the liberal and conservative wings of Anglicanism have developed their attitude towards homosexuality into an article of faith."

The BLATANT FALSEHOOD of "moral equivalising": radical liberals (Pigott's term) have NOT "developed their attitude towards homosexuality into an article of faith"---otherwise, TEC would be DEMANDING all other Anglican churches adopt policies of full (sacramental) inclusion of LGBTs!

This moral equivalising is a tool of conservatives, pretending to be moderate (by positing equal "extremes" at either end).

The "live and let live" policies of TEC (among others) ARE the moderate ones, as opposed to the conservative ones (excommunicate) and the *extreme conservative* ones (excommunicate . . . then arrest!)

Lord have mercy...

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 5 August 2008 at 11:34pm BST

Phyllis, if you go to SC's diocesan website, they've got his remarks in full at http://www.dioceseofsc.org/mt/archives/000363.html . I think "the prince" is some purer Anglican Communion, sprung from the brow of GAFCON.

Posted by: BillyD on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 12:34am BST

"Liberals in Anglicanism are asked to be patient and they are ready enough to be so because they are confident in the intrinsic rightness of their position...."

This sounds remarkably like what the mainstream politicians of the late '50s and early '60s were telling Martin Luther King--"be patient...time is on your side." Had he taken their advice, blacks in the American south might still be waiting for the chance to drink from the same water fountains as whites.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 12:44am BST

It is the acceptance of women bishops that will change the Church of England, so that it won't have the punitive edge it needs to join in the enforcement Rowan Williams's Catholic centralisation strategy. And in any case, the C of E cannot accept rule from outside itself: it is not clear that such a Covenant will get through. However, it is the Pastoral Forum that will come first and quickly, and it will operate against the US and Canada - likely so without any right to do so. And yet it is opposed by Orombi and company, who would see that also going into their own potential fishing grounds and undermine their Primates Council. So the Pastoral Forum is likely to get squashed from both sides.

This is the point where the progressives have to say that for all the usefulness of a good attitude at Lambeth, the programme it would have cannot go through.

If it was to go through, then there would be a Communion built on the basis of excluding a social group and chased by a second group that is literalist and taking power to itself. It is a toxic mix, and the only answer is the liberty of decentralisation.

Posted by: Pluralist on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 12:44am BST

The apparent triumph of Rowan's middle Anglicans, built on the trash talking traditionalists and mild satisfaction/dissatisfaction with mistreating, say, queer folks - or women who get too uppity? - will be short-lived as the world turns.

(Dissatisfaction? Well, mistreatment must escalate, because dear church life fans, neither queer folks nor many women are currently in the apologetic mood to put up with this or that flat earth theory about how innately awful they are. Let alone, in queer folks cases, willing to stay silent when faced with all the self-righteous exclusively straight mistreatment to which queer folks are religiously said to be unequivocally entitled, thank God.)

Like flat earth theories before now, push is coming to shove. All the hypothesis tested data are rather stacked against the trash talking and mistreatment options which, de facto, Rowan still wishes his middle conservative Anglicans to think he holds dear above all else - enough to sacrifice all else on that high middle altar.

This Rowan fellow plays an odd game indeed, insofar as he wishes to preserve the privileges to trash talk and mistreat while graciously offering himself and his keen theological mind and his extremely refined social-cultural sensibilities to judge just how far such meanness may go before it becomes unseemly enough to embarrass even him. His government offers safe haven to Davis MacIyalla while he demands, in favor of a certain riled up conservative audience, that Davis MacIyalla hang his head in church, kneeling not only to a God who views MacIyalla as broken in a special way straight folks are not broken, but also subservient to those exclusively straight Anglican believers whom God has created as far superior, unbroken compared to MacIyalla.

Above Rowan and MayIyalla hangs Matthew Shepard, tied to a fence in Laramie, Wyoming.

Now Rowan boldly says he stands for safety and peace for the daily life of people just like Matthew Shepard or Davis MacIyalla, but in other words and deed - the central force of his Lambeth leadership? - he protects and reveres the all too tender consciences of ???? -just those contemporary Anglicans who persist to preach how God judges and punishes all the Matthew Shepards or Davis MacIyallas, eternally.

This Rowan dares to preach to us about what is life-giving and life-affirming?

Posted by: drdanfee on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 12:54am BST

Excuse me, but I thought that HM Govt had already made it plain that the C of E by law established cannot sign any "Anglican Covenant" -- perhaps they are expecting that Commons will do it for them.

The "results" from Lambeth makes it appear to have been rather a waste of time & money -- no changes in any positions -- bad North Americans must accommodate the good Third World -- expectations already rejected all around.

Two quotations come to mind -- Oscar Wilde on the Shakespearean critics of his day arguing whether Hamlet was mad or only pretending to be -- "Are the Shakespearean critics mad, or only pretending to be?" & Albert Einstein's definition, "Insanity is repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting different results."

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 1:16am BST

"And I can't imagine that any genuine liberal or believer in gay and lesbian equality would want to remain in a communion with a permanent conservative majority..." merseymike

I fear that's the same attitude that some conservatives hold about liberals.

We're supposed to be in communion with Jesus Christ, not just those we like...

This sort of attitude breaks my heart.

Posted by: Davis d'Ambly on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 2:00am BST

"The first post hopes for a "sacrificial response" from TEC.
"But what are we being asked to sacrifice? Our gay and lesbian sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and neighbors."

No, all that is asked is that celebration of gay unions be held privately rather than publicly. Exaggeration like this is part of the problem.

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 9:00am BST

You are all so entirely unrealistic. The point where the conservatives are absolutely right is that conservative and liberal Christianity is simply not the same belief system. You can try and convince yourself otherwise, but the links between the two are largely historical, not based in substance.

The communion should split, and frankly, if you are all so wimpy that you are prepared to let the conservatives walk all over you, then you deserve everything you get

The past week has simply confirmed to me that I was right to depart from Christianity altogether. Sometimes, compromise is not acceptable.

Posted by: Merseymike on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 10:39am BST

"...all that is asked is that celebration of gay unions be held privately rather than publicly..."

And the first time word of a "private" celebration leaks?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 11:27am BST

I call this rank hypocrisy.

The rankest of rank hypocrisy. The usual anglo-catholic (majority) approach

"The first post hopes for a "sacrificial response" from TEC.
"But what are we being asked to sacrifice? Our gay and lesbian sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and neighbors."

No, all that is asked is that celebration of gay unions be held privately rather than publicly. Exaggeration like this is part of the problem.


Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 9:00am

Posted by: Treebeard on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 12:16pm BST

"No, all that is asked is that celebration of gay unions be held privately rather than publicly. "-Spirit of Vatican II

That's called the closet, and it is a dangerous and unhealthy place to be.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 12:32pm BST

Spirit, not so. For starters, it is an oxymoron to propose the idea of a 'private' blessing, unless you're talking about renting out pretty chapels. Commitment ceremonies take place within community. They are celebrations; they are not cause for shame.

If you read the commentary from the reactionaries in the USA, the only thing that would satisfy them is that there are no such blessings (though apparently we can keep at it with pets, houses, ships, etc.)

In addition, some of our family are called to ordained ministry, yet they are supposed to ignore that call, also, because of whom it makes uncomfortable.

You're blaming the victim. This is just like saying that a woman who brings attention to herself is thus making herself a target for rape.

LPR

Posted by: RudigerVT on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 2:09pm BST

Public vs private has been long resolved in NA, particularly Canadian queer culture.

Silence=Death emerged from the AIDS struggles of the 1980's as a haunting rallying cry. Silence, darkness, and closets, like tombs, are about fear and death.

How ironic that Anglican queers are being asked to return to a metaphorical tomb when the central event of our faith is the bursting of the bonds of death, the resurrection from the dead, the emptying of Hell, the discovery of the empty tomb. The moment when which Jesus freed us all is dishonoured and disregarded in this request to not rock the boat.

I think all of us recognize that this request is not of the Gospel. Some of us see the Gospel in adherence to holiness codes. Others of us see the Gospel in the restoration of all people to their status as heirs of Christ. But the persistence of the gentlemen's club is not anyone's sign of the presence of God.

We are reading the story of the Transfiguration this week. Hanging out with the other disciples, grooving on the exquisite experience, is exactly NOT the point, says Jesus. Leave here, move out, break up the party, get on with bringing in the kingdom.

The continued existence of the ABC's brotherhood is not a shibboleth for faithfulness to God.

Posted by: Alison Kemper on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 2:44pm BST

The point is that the whole notion of "sacrifice" here is a gravely mistaken theological way to go about the matter to begin with.

Posted by: Christopher on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 3:21pm BST

A lot of sacrificial language has been thrown around by our bishops lately. Mostly that language, now masked as the language of generosity, at heart asks others to offer certain people, lgbt people. And in the face of such a decision, lgbt people are simply to acquiesce, give up, not to have selves or hide ourselves away, to deny we have vocations given by the Holy Spirit, i.e. sacrifice ourselves, to put away or downplay our loves, and ask for nothing from the community because we are undeserving, a problem, an offense, only worthy of derision or as useful for others' ends. The point is we’re to shrink away, be quiet, accept our lot so that the Communion can live.

There is not a one-size-fits-all Christian understanding of self or of sacrifice—or, I might add, of communion. It too easily becomes a pagan notion prettied up with Christian words, a propitiatorily sacrificial spirituality, perhaps perfectly reasonable for the mighty to ask of themselves, but deadly when asked of those they consider of no account and despised. The one-size fits all understanding of Christian piety and spirituality has long been with us, and it's dangerous as the Desert Elders knew all too well....

St. Lawrence epitomizes for me what being a Christian is all about when the chips are down. His mind is on heavenly things. The treasures of the church are neither buildings, nor golden vessels. He presents the least, the weak, those of no account, the despised, the vulnerable. These are those whom Christ treasures, and so therefore, does the good deacon, Lawrence. In the end, Lawrence doesn't offer up and hand over to the Roman authorities these treasures--the least, the weak, those of no account, the despised, the vulnerable, as his own sacrifice or his "generosity". Rather, he offers himself, all who he is, even unto death, death by roasting on a gridiron over fire. That is the difference between a Christian understanding of sacrifice and the notion being put forth by many Anglican bishops. The former notion offers oneself, the latter notion offers someone else in one's stead. It's easy to "include" others so long as when the chips are down we can be generous in offering them up in our stead. That may be liberal, but it's not the type of Christian I hope to become.

Posted by: Christopher on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 3:25pm BST

Phyllis,

This is a very "liberal" way: you can set yourself above scripture and historic Christian teaching. Indeed as some others on this list you can "channel" God's voice and directly speak for him. Amazing!

And the rhetoric about sacrifice - more than a little over the top. This might be turned around, you are quite prepared to dismiss anyone who does not simply accept your views and to sacrifice them!

Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 3:32pm BST

"...all that is asked is that celebration of gay unions be held privately rather than publicly. Exaggeration like this is part of the problem."

Rather more is being demanded than this, not least the continuation of a moratorium on elevating gay and lesbian priests to the episcopate--despite what the people of a particular diocese might want.

In any case, I'm not clear on how this distinction between "privately" and "publicly" in relation to same-sex-blessings would play out. And it strikes me as a call for appallingly un-Christian hypocrisy ... as if the folks who think we're blessing sin would be any happier if we did it "privately".

Posted by: WilliamK on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 4:43pm BST

Spirit of Vatican II wrote: “No, all that is asked is that celebration of gay unions be held privately rather than publicly. Exaggeration like this is part of the problem.“

But surely Spirit, you must know by now that what the anti Moderns and Gafconites react to and oppose, is not that blessings are being done "privately" or "publicly" but that they are being done at all.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 5:34pm BST

The blessings moratorium will be interesting. In the US, the tactic has been to allow such blessings without ever authorizing them. This gives the bishop a certain deniability which even the proposed moratorium may not be able to pierce.

In Canada, we have not formally adhered to that particular casuistry. The bishop and diocese authorized such blessings in New Westminster. The other dioceses that are on the verge of proceeding have done so in the same manner - which rejects the prospective casuistry of deniability.

Good to hear from Alison on this. You and Joyce have shown tremendous leadership on this and other issues for a generation now.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 6:42pm BST

This notion of sacrifice. Sacrifice is done for a purpose, and the Christian view is that it is very real and yet allows for a breaking-free and a blossoming out that overcomes the original giving way.

This asking, by a primate, for a sacrifice, on to one social group, is so that a perceived institution can can not only hold its parts together - and it may not even then - but develop in his particular direction.

This isn't sacrifice for anything, other than a form of bureaucracy and a change in Anglicanism towards something it has never been.

The request made, the answer can easily be that for the sake of Anglicanism the request is rejected. And who is going to agree to the request anyway: the actual Churches (rather than Rowan Williams's fantasy Church) and why should they do that against others?

Posted by: Pluralist on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 6:52pm BST

Goran, of course that is true. But if they are done privately - as they so frequently are - conservatives won't have the obvious ammunition that they have when they are done openly.

Equally of course: I am delighted that some (most? we will see) of the American bishops have already made it clear that they aren't going back.

I found the second week of Lambeth rather depressing. Nevertheless, there is all to play for here. 'History is on our side', as the Marxists used to say (and will say again).

Posted by: John on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 7:30pm BST

"you can set yourself above scripture and historic Christian teaching ... you can "channel" God's voice and directly speak for him. Amazing!"

Looking into a mirror, BenW?

***

Spirit of Vatican II, I've long considered you a friend on this board.

That you would seriously propose the CLOSET as a solution, is extremely disappointing.

Lord have mercy!

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 7:44pm BST

MerseyMike, I think it's time for you to move on from this board, and not look back. See you round the (secular) fight for justice? Vaya con . . . whatever!

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 7:47pm BST

Orombi and Venables have already made it clear that they are not going to cease their piracy. Therefore, the moratoria are already dead. They were dead before the conference was even finished.

Why is anyone still talking about this proposal as if it were still somewhere in the realm of possibility?

Posted by: JPM on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 8:19pm BST

Merseymike:

I agree that the two positions cannot be reconciled. Consequently, the two sides must split unless one side will compromise. And, given the level of distrust, even that may not be enough. Plus, I don't see much desire to compromise on the part of liberals. So, from that standpoint, my ancient plea to try and make an amicable division stands, though it was and remains overly optimistic. Still, since the alternative is a messy and ugly divorce . . .

Steven

PS-Since you have now given up on Christianity, I have to wonder what brought you to it in the first place?

Posted by: Steven on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 8:56pm BST

“MerseyMike, I think it's time for you to move on from this board, and not look back. See you round the (secular) fight for justice? Vaya con . . . whatever!”-- JCF

Don’t listen to that, Mike. The fact that you are still around and take a real interest in what goes on shows me that if more Anglican/Episcopal liberals showed some backbone on this issue, and really put up a fight internationally, you might re-consider your de-affiliation.

Posted by: Kurt on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 9:30pm BST

It comes at no surprise that those who are quick to call on others to make sacrifices are usually unwilling to follow their own admonitions. Talking about sacrifice is far easier than undertaking it personally isn't it? If we are going to talk about sacrificing, Rowan Williams and indeed all of us would do well to remember Martin Luther King, Jr, Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, and thousands of unnamed people who have put themselves on the line. If you are telling someone else to make sacrifices, then you've already missed the point and also the opportunity to speak with credibility.

Posted by: PTown Vicar on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 10:26pm BST

Rowan's private letters when / as archbishop of Wales, are now in the possession of The Times.
The private has a tendency to become public at times.

'Gay relationships like marriage' - 'my conviction'

wrote Rowan Cymru

Posted by: Treebeard on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 10:49pm BST

I should withdraw the word "sacrifice" and say instead "compromise", as in the case of Paul circumcising Timothy.

There is a difference between blessing a gay union in private and giving it the official stamp of a public church liturgy. According to Rowan Williams (press conference) there is no strong current of objection to the former within Anglicanism whereas there is no consensus on the latter. Of course he may be wrong and GAFCON may object to any recognition at all of gay couples, public or private. But he is trying to draw them into the circle of discussion.

"neither queer folks nor many women are currently in the apologetic mood to put up with this or that flat earth theory about how innately awful they are."

Isn't that an extrapolation? To say that the time is not ripe for public liturgical celebration of gay unions does not imply any of this.

"Like flat earth theories before now, push is coming to shove."

The case is being made and being won, but people need to go slowly when it comes to church order.

"to sacrifice all else on that high middle altar."

He recommends a reasonable compromise. He thinks it is better to refrain for now from public blessings of gay unions, until such time as there is more unity among Anglicans on the matter. Where does he claim "the privileges to trash talk and mistreat".

"Above Rowan and MacIyalla hangs Matthew Shepard, tied to a fence in Laramie, Wyoming."

Again, this is not a reasonable extrapolation.

"just those contemporary Anglicans who persist to preach how God judges and punishes all the Matthew Shepards or Davis MacIyallas, eternally."

Unfortunately a majority of Anglican bishops are against public gay blessings. Some may be neanderthals but not all are so necessarily. The whole idea of indaba is to listen patiently to those you disagree with.

The question is: do you think it is more important to hasten public recognition of gay unions in the church or to avoid schism? Of course an ABC must give priority to avoiding schism unless there are very clear indications that public celebration of gay unions is an immediate moral imperative.

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 10:56pm BST

"I should withdraw the word "sacrifice" and say instead "compromise", as in the case of Paul circumcising Timothy". - Spirit of Vatican II.

I'm not sure that, if I were Timothy, the threat of circumcision would be seen as 'compromise' rather than 'sacrifice'. In the event, the result would have been the same - painful!

Reflecting on your original post, however, I am not certain that the demand of the moratoria on both sides is equal. And, anyway, the prospect of the Primate of Southern Cone, and some of the African Primates, withdrawing from their stated goal of 'evangelising' the Provinces of Canada and TEC, would seem to be zero - by their own pronouncements after Lambeth.

I suppose the real question here, is whether
either side believes that, resiling from their original stance - an implied defence of the Gospel imperative, in their own understanding of whatever that means - would be a departure from what they perceive to be their unique stand for integrity in mission. Certainly, a unilateral surrender would seem to be neither fair nor practical. Nor would the prospect of 'second status' within the Communion. - Perhaps a separate Church may be called for.

What is in question here, is whether different ways of reading the Scriptures is sufficient reason to precipitate division? With the inclusivity of the Church at stake, perhaps it is? We have to balance two different world views -the primacy of a fundamentalist reading of the Scriptures, against the primacy of a radically incarnational understanding of the Word-made-flesh in Christ. This latter would presume that all humanity has already been redeemed by Christ, requiring charity and honesty about our own faults and failings as and in the Church.

Do we look for maintenance of the establishment of the Church on a global scale, or mission in the areas we occupy?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 7 August 2008 at 12:50am BST

Spirit:

Thank you for being reasonable. The kinds of comments I've been reading these past few days would only fan the flames.

To be honest, I've been trying to listen, but I'm beginning to wonder whether the reasserters are right after all. I don't want to see gays and lesbians back in the closet. I would like to see civil unions. But in the long run, when uncertainty about the economy and the way our society is going plagues us all, what will most of us value? We can choose our friends and allies, like you chose ++Rowan at the beginning, but you can't choose your (heterosexual, extended/nuclear) family.

Posted by: Ren Aguila on Thursday, 7 August 2008 at 2:53am BST

"...all that is asked is that celebration of gay unions be held privately rather than publicly. Exaggeration like this is part of the problem."

I know -- why not make all straight "unions" private and all queer marriages public -- just until the numbers even out? Via media, wot wot Rowan?

Posted by: Timothy on Thursday, 7 August 2008 at 3:55am BST

Spirit of Vatican II, consider the following (posted by Susan Russell+ today, home in California http://inchatatime.blogspot.com/2008/08/theres-no-place-like-home.html ):

"And I worked on the liturgy for the wedding I'm doing on Friday for two fabulous men who shared with me they cried their eyes out when they got their rings this week and it "sank in " that they were REALLY getting MARRIED!!"

Is THIS what you would deny these two "fabulous men"? That they must *involuntarily sacrifice* their "REALLY getting MARRIED" experience (sacrament), because half a world (OR half a block) away, there's no consensus?

No, SpiritVat2: imposing such a sacrifice does not seem of God.

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 7 August 2008 at 6:16am BST

Spirit wrote: “There is a difference between blessing a gay union in private and giving it the official stamp of a public church liturgy.”

Well… that hasn’t been done yet, even where done ;=)

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 7 August 2008 at 7:24am BST

The (temporary) Civil Law marriages in California may be what some souls would consider "private", because not considered "church"???

It is like the early 20th century debate in Germany, which doubled the (one) ceremony because they didn't consider the Preussian ceremony required by "Civil law" "Churchy" enough.

The same twice over ;=)

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 7 August 2008 at 8:16am BST

While the RCC teaches that there is a natural right to marriage it frequently obliges its ministers to refuse church marriage to people for a great variety of reasons; it also refuses communion to divorcees and ordination to women. None of these refusals are without pain.

To argue for a change in church order is legitimate (though efforts to suppress such argument are rife, especially as regards the ordination of women). To break church law is not.

The Anglican situation is rather different in that blessings of gay unions and ordination of gay bishops is accepted as in accord with church order in some branches thereof. The moratoria demanded do not even imply that this is invalid. It is only a temporary "fast" as Bp Jefferts Schori put it. The two huge problems with it is that the withdrawal of what was already granted sends a very negative message, so that most bishops will probably find it pastorally impracticable, and second that it is not going to satisfy the gafconites anyway.

I don't think it is helpful to cast these matters of church order as human rights issues.

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Friday, 8 August 2008 at 12:47pm BST

Vatican II Geist: "To argue for a change in church order is legitimate... To break church law is not."

What do you make of the RC women who have gone ahead and got ordained in spite of the Vatican (they have a web site:
http://www.romancatholicwomenpriests.org/). They sound rather fun to me - girls doin' it for themselves - and why not, if there is no way their voices will otherwise be listened to? Why don't we have a little less ecclesiastical tameness in the face of unaccountable authority? We've only achieved a democratic political structure because of a lot of bloody-minded people taking on leaders who never wanted to give away power, haven't we?

Posted by: Fr Mark on Friday, 8 August 2008 at 8:55pm BST

You didn't answer my question, Spirit of Vatican II.

It's about ***real persons***: not "issues" (human rights or otherwise).

Posted by: JCF on Saturday, 9 August 2008 at 12:23am BST

Well, in support of Fr. Mark, I suppose it could be said that Jesus sometimes broke Church Law - re his protest that 'Sabbath was made for man - not man for the Sabbath'. Also, there wre the numerous occasions when he disputed with the Scribes and Pharisees on their interpretation of the Law (Biblical criticism). Was this not one of the reasons for which he was tried and crucified?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 9 August 2008 at 1:21am BST

"What do you make of the RC women who have gone ahead and got ordained in spite of the Vatican. They sound rather fun to me - girls doin' it for themselves - and why not, if there is no way their voices will otherwise be listened to?"

I think such illegal actions are counter-productive.

" Why don't we have a little less ecclesiastical tameness in the face of unaccountable authority? We've only achieved a democratic political structure because of a lot of bloody-minded people taking on leaders who never wanted to give away power, haven't we?"

I agree that the RCC in particular is paralyzed by tameness due to the Vatican closing down of the lines opened up by Vatican II. But I think people should act along those lines, in a theologically valid manner, and that this in itself would have a huge reforming impact.

"Is THIS what you would deny these two "fabulous men"? That they must *involuntarily sacrifice* their "REALLY getting MARRIED" experience (sacrament), because half a world (OR half a block) away, there's no consensus?"

Gay marriage goes far beyond the agenda of any Anglican church. If the Church has offered a public blessing of their union, that is fine. But under a moratorium regime the Church would only offer private blessings. That will of course be disappointing for many people, but I think they would be able to understand the need to go slow if they saw that it was required to maintain the unity of the Communion.


Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Sunday, 10 August 2008 at 6:37pm BST

the RC women who have gone ahead and got ordained in spite of the Vatican (they have a web site:
http://www.romancatholicwomenpriests.org/

thanks for this link. i am delighted to have it, having seen tv programs from time to time on such ordinations with great delight. Also the woman ordained in Yorkshire some years ago.

It will be great to follow them up. I'd love to go to one of their masses !

Wonderful !


Posted by: Treebeard on Sunday, 10 August 2008 at 7:29pm BST
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