Monday, 30 August 2010

African bishops conference: last reports

Updated yet again Tuesday evening

ENS has a report by Matthew Davies African bishops look to the future, commit to leading the church in the 21st century.

New Vision carried Bishops condemn corruption.

Daily Monitor had Love your culture, say African bishops.

Christian Post has Anglican Bishops in Africa Issue Communiqué.

Spero News has a report in this article (scroll down) Kenyan Christians greet the new Constitution.

Episcopal Café has An end to the myth of a monolithic Africa

A report about a letter from some bishops of the provinces of Central Africa and South Africa to the other bishops who attended the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa meeting has been floating around the internet for a few days. We haven’t published it previously because we were unable to verify it, but now, courtesy of Anglican Information, we have. Their version follows…

Some commentary on all this:

Mark Harris The Fault Line Runs Right Through Here: And when is the Anglican quake?

Jim Naughton On not blaming the media for covering the sexuality struggle

Tuesday updates

Episcopal Café has the full text of the letter from the Provinces of Central Africa and Southern Africa. See here. Text of letter reproduced below the fold.

And now it also has a transcript of an interview with ACNA archbishop, Robert Duncan, see What ACNA Archbishop Duncan wants which includes this:

VOL: What do you see as the future of Anglicanism in North America with ACNA?

DUNCAN: The only future for ACNA, as the only future for Anglicanism, is the kind of confessional Anglicanism as represented in the Jerusalem Declaration. The clarity with which the GAFCON/FCA primates have admitted me as a primate among them also reveals something of the trajectory we are on.


We are gathered here for the All Africa Bishops Conference, Entebbe, Uganda 23 -29 August 2010; at a critical time in the life of the Anglican Church in Africa and the wider Anglican Communion. We hold dear the gift of the Anglican Communion and its Institutions with the Archbishop of Canterbury as our head. We seek to preserve its traditions.

We are grateful to God for the theme of this Conference: Securing the Future: Unlocking our Potential (Hebrew 12: 1-2). The purpose of which is to be pro-active in addressing the ills that beset Africa such as poverty, wars, bad governance, HIV and AIDS, and, environmental issues. The focus of this Conference is therefore about making the Anglican Church in Africa relevant in this context.

We are mindful that the Anglican Communion is under severe strain because of certain actions taken by the Episcopal Church, TEC by their ordination of openly gay bishops.

TEC’s recent action of consecrating an openly lesbian person as a bishop in the Diocese of Los Angeles against a moratorium in the Communion of consecrating openly gay bishops reflected a gross insensitivity to the feelings of the rest of the Communion.

We are therefore sympathetic to the deep hurt and pain and indeed anger that some Provinces in Africa have expressed. Notwithstanding, the impression being created at the Conference that all Provinces in Africa are of one mind to abandon our relationship with TEC is wrong. Painful as the action is it should not become the presenting issue to lead to the break- up of our legacy and this gift of God- the world wide Anglican Communion.

We recognize that all the Provinces and dioceses in Africa do not condone TEC’s action. However, Provinces differ in their relationships with TEC in light of their actions. Some Provinces continue to value their historical partnerships with TEC and its organs. To discard these relationships would be tantamount to abandoning our call of the gospel to struggle with each other’s failure as we journey with Christ in the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation as we were passionately reminded by the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, of the virtue of tolerance and to live with our rich diversity.

In pursuit of its objective to form a new “province” in North America, ACNA has been successful in bringing together most of the splinter groups within the Anglican tradition.

We recognize that the common factor that holds all the coalition partners of ACNA is TEC. We do not support ACNA’s position for legitimacy through the elimination of TEC.

Three of the Instruments of Unity have already stated their position on the matter and we believe they represent the mind of the vast majority of the Communion including CAPA.

The majority of the African Provinces at this Conference are being ambushed by an agenda that is contrary to the beliefs and practices of our various Provinces. We have come to this Conference to share ideas on critical issues in the development of our continent and provide spiritual and moral leadership for our people.

Any thought of abandoning our Communion with any member of the body will hurt; for when one part of the body is injured the whole suffers. CAPA must not be used as a pawn in battles it is not party too. CAPA as you all know is not an organ of the Anglican Communion but a fellowship of Provinces of Africa. Therefore, issues of doctrine are better addressed as it has always been by individual provinces.

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"Bishop Earnest, the chairman of CAPA..... says the teachings of homosexuality are irrelevant to the needs of Africans and are unrepresentative demographically hence the need for new structures that are credible and representative of the majority" - 'Daily monitor' article -

Such a mixing of metaphors here, one wonders where to start. However, to speak of the *teachings of homosexuality* is to misunderstand completely the reality; that the incidence of homosexuality is a given circumstance for a small percentage of the whole human race, and does not confine itself to non-African countries. Surely, he sees this to be a fact - if only in the light of Uganda's impending legal sanctions against homosexuals in that part of Africa.

One does not have to 'teach about' homosexuality for it to exist - in just the same way that one does not have to teach about heterosexuality, and for the same reasons.

In his reference to demographics, regarding the incidence of homsoexuality, Abp. Earnest is surely being naive. Sexuality, per se, crosses every national and ethnic boundary, and to say that homosexuality is not relevant to Africa is to say that Africans have a different humanity from that of other world citizens. Granted, there is no culture of child-sacrifice or female circumcision in most Western countries - but that is a matter of tribal culture and not a common human condition.

If Archbishop Earnest is saying what I think he implies in his message here, then he desires to separate African Anglicanism from that of the rest of the world - on the grounds of religious puritanism - then he is saying that Africa, as it now exists, has no problems of cultural impurity. This would mean that Africa could teach the rest of us lessons about honesty, integrity, social cohesion, incorruptability, and social awareness that we are unable to practise in our own cultural and social environments. This would be patently untrue and risible.

Africa, despite its obvious movement into modern ways of living, may still have things to learn from other people. And to cast off the influence of its colonial past without having cause to thank God for what has been achieved in the way of social, material, and spiritual advancement - to the point where Africa may now announce its own spiritual emancipation - would be less than righteous.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 31 August 2010 at 5:10am BST

"Truth every day" sounds somewhat ominous...

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 31 August 2010 at 6:26am BST

Fr. Ron, I wish I shared your, dare I say, optimism. Bishop Ian, and a large portion of the persons in question, do not in fact accept that same-sexuality is part of the human condition. They are still very much caught up in the pre-modern notion of possession, or the Victorian model of perversion, or the 20th century model of pathology. Homosexuality is demonic, infectious, rebellious, psychotic, bestial, as far as they are concerned.

It is in response to this world-view that there is in fact a "new teaching on homosexuality" and I think that is what Bishop Ian is referring to, and opposing.

This is also part of what makes dialogue so difficult. Even Grace Kaiso was quoted in a story last week saying, in effect, he didn't believe homosexuality actually exists. (The article reports, not as a quote, but in running text: "the church was finding ways of advocating for change in the mindsets of those who purport to be homosexuals.") I mean to ask him about this next time we meet.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Tuesday, 31 August 2010 at 3:33pm BST

"Daily Monitor had "Love your culture, say African bishops.""

I'm just pondering the likely reaction to

"New York Times had "Love your culture, say US bishops."


Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 31 August 2010 at 8:44pm BST

Brilliant insight, Tobias---esp. about the line "purport to be homosexuals."

I think it's a blessing when we can each find someone about whom we can say "s/he knows me better than I know myself" . . . but I daresay that EVERY time, such a person is one with whom we've LONG cultivated a close relationship (a best friend, spouse, sibling, spiritual director or the like).

But when someone---sight unseen, self unknown---claims to know an ENTIRE CATEGORY OF HUMAN BEINGS better than they know themselves (ones whom only "purport" to be who they say they are), I cannot conclude this is anything other than GROSS arrogance and over-reaching (a kind of PRIDE which is, if I may be so bold, "demonic, infectious, rebellious, psychotic, bestial"). Lord have mercy.

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 31 August 2010 at 8:57pm BST

It occured to me recently that Truth is a demon that possesses some people. Of course, those people suppose that THEY possess Truth.

Posted by: Murdoch on Tuesday, 31 August 2010 at 9:38pm BST

I've been busy all day and haven't been browsing the net. Were there any signatories noted for this letter? Was the CAPA primates communique also without signatures?

Posted by: EmilyH on Tuesday, 31 August 2010 at 9:56pm BST

The official copy of the CAPA Primates Statement, available from the conference website contains this statement:
This document was agreed upon by the Primates and the representatives of Primates who were not able to attend, of the following provinces:

Burundi, Central Africa, Congo, Indian Ocean, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, West Africa and the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa.
Southern Africa is not listed but Central Africa is. That is confusing.

The Conference Statement is signed only by Abps Ernest and Kolini, as Chair and Vice Chair of CAPA.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 31 August 2010 at 10:21pm BST

The most interesting article here is Episcopal Café's 'The end of the myth of monolithic Africa'. Apparently some Africans are getting resentful about the controlling incursions of ACNA. Which view will triumph homophobia or a dislike of neocolonialism? They're between a rock and a hard place!

Posted by: penwatch on Tuesday, 31 August 2010 at 11:43pm BST

"It is obligatory of all Provinces in the Anglican Communion to continue to observe and honour the moratoria on the ordination of partnered homosexuals, the blessing of same-sex unions, and CROSS-BORDER INTERVENTIONS" (my caps.)

In all of the condemnatory words about Christian homosexuals made at the CAPA Conference, was there nothing specific directed toweards those African violators of the 3rd 'moratorium'? Was it only the 'violation' of the 1st and 2nd moratoria, in CAPA's view, that is upsetting the applecart of the Anglican Communion?

This continued blindness to the piracy of Global South Provinces into other Provinces of the Communion is both annoying and unjust. This constitutes by far the major disregard for Anglican Communion polity. When will the ABC's voice be raised on this issue?

It is salutary to note that neither the Province of South Africa nor that of Central Africa will go along with the general call for expulsion of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada, on the issue of the 1st and 2nd moratoria. Does this mean a stale-mate in CAPA's projected motion to exclude them? Perhaps their bluff needs to be called, promptly.

And what is CAPA doing, within its own community to expel the piratical, border-crossing Provinces?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 1 September 2010 at 4:28am BST

"The teachings of tribalists are irrelevant to the needs of Westerners . . . "

Wonder how that would go over.

I'm amazed at how naive the African bishops are being, in this situation. What they believe they're getting is American money from their willingly-submissive white lackeys, to overthrow the whole order and get revenge for colonialism and the success of the West.

What they're getting is money to be a distraction and leverage from a group of hardline politicos in purple who know the value of white guilt in a black ops attack on liberalism. When the strife is o'er, the battle won - we'll see how long the "needs of Africans" matter in this new world church of theirs. Money is the master, and the Westerners financing schism have it and their strutting warlords don't, and when the dust settles, it will be Orombi fawning over Duncan to get the chance for recognition - if not, their cash will be cut off right sharpish, because white guilt doesn't work on neo-con "christians".

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Wednesday, 1 September 2010 at 5:10am BST

The Episcopal Cafe's article on this subject is encouraging. Obviously, TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada can take heart from the decision of the two African Provinces - South Africa and Central Africa - not to enourage ACNA in its territorial claims to represent Anglicanism in North America.

Nor do these two Provinces want to be associated with CAPA's statement about the need to ostracise TEC and the A.C.of C. At last, there are signs in the African Continent of a basic loyalty to the Anglican culture of Unity in Diversity - which is consonant with Archbishop Desmond Tutu's eirenic understanding of Christ's redeeming Love at work in our Communion.

Will someone inform the ABC of what is happening here? No Covenant would please the CAPA Primates, so why should it be imposed upon the rest of us, who merely want to pursue the call of the Gospel in our own cultural contexts?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 1 September 2010 at 5:26am BST

"There is no Anglican magisterium. But watch it, there just might be around the corner, at a place where they sell the Anglican Covenant."

- Mark Harris: Preludium -

I believe Mark Harris has his finger on the pulse of what is happening in the Communion at this present time; what is likely to happen after the CANA Conference, and into the near distant future.

The Provinces of the Global South, and CANA (apart from the brave stand by South and Central African Provincial Bishops, who think differently from their continental neighbours) seem hell-bent on dividing the Communion between an ACNA-styled African Puritanical and Confessional Church; and the Rest of Us, who want to maintain the forward-looking way of the Gospel preached by a Church that includes ALL who come - regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnic or cultural background.

This un-Anglican departure from its traditional Unity in diversity threatens our Communion with
fracture along the lines of adherence, or not, to a cult of puritanical elitism which is antithetical to the Gospel ethic. Purity belongs to God alone, and we who are God's children can never assume that we are its master. This was one of the lessons of Jesus to the Pharisees of his own day. He would surely not want that lesson to be unlearned in ours.

Our task, as the Church, is to acknowledge our own 'falling short' of the target of holiness, before making any claim to preach the Good News of the redemption of the world by Christ. The Churches of Africa & Asia, like the rest of us, have 'fallen short' of what God expects of us as co-redeemers and reconcilers of the world to God.
There can be no 'holier than thou' attitude from any of us towards any other Province of God's Church. Christ's call to unity did not depend on our righteousness, but on our obedience to him - to preach the Gospel to every creature.

No Ecclesiastical Covenant can ever replace our personal relationships to one another in Christ. why try to legalise the bonds of affection that have served us in Anglicanism hitherto?

The real cause of the breakdown was not the action of one Province of the Church to include gays or women among its ministers. It was the calculated insult given to the Body of Christ by those Bishops who refused to sup at the Table of The Lord with their fellow Bishops.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 1 September 2010 at 6:20am BST

"No Covenant would please the CAPA Primates, so why should it be imposed upon the rest of us, who merely want to pursue the call of the Gospel in our own cultural contexts? "

Because the covenant has never been about preserving unity, but about some power-mad prelate named Williams who wants a little Disneyland version of the Roman denomination in which he, Williams, reigns supreme.

It's obvious, clumsy and stupid, and so it confuses people who mistook him for being anything other than a mere academic hack.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Wednesday, 1 September 2010 at 10:59am BST

My problem with Mark and all the American analysts is they underplay and often do not mention the ecumenical dimension.

The threats from RCC and Orthodox to cut off relationships has played a strongly here.

Mind you ..... otherwise I think the Americans can claim most of the credit for the present state of affairs ......

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Wednesday, 1 September 2010 at 3:53pm BST

Duncan complains: "The sessions at the conference were dominated by Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and social solutions where the gospel of Jesus is not the driving force"


"The agenda, apart from worship and Bible studies, was far more dominantly social than spiritual."

How dare these Africans insist on addressing African concerns at an African conference! The nerve!

Posted by: JPM on Wednesday, 1 September 2010 at 6:25pm BST

Eventually they will be driven by some inner necessity or decency to repent at leisure, as is Castro at present. But it comes too late, of course,(almost by definition) to aid those whom he persecuted and locked up.

These bishops too, will, when that times comes, be powerless truly to atone, and impotent in the face of the dawning reality of what they have done.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Wednesday, 1 September 2010 at 6:40pm BST

How I wish I had signed off, as,

'purported homosexual.'

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Wednesday, 1 September 2010 at 6:43pm BST

Martin, the ecumenical dimension does indeed play very differently in the Episcopal Church, and especially in the United States. Since we're decades ahead of the Church of England on ordination of women and especially to the episcopate, ecumenical efforts with Roman Catholics have long been redirected. At a local level congregations might jointly support some local ministries, but little happens above that. For half a generation the Roman clergy who have been appointed as bishops have reflected the conservatism of John Paul II, and now Benedict XVI; and so much ecumenical conversation is long gone.

In the American scene the Orthodox churches (and I say "churches" advisedly) are so fragmented that they have a hard time talking to one another, much less to anyone else. There are separate hierarchies and jurisdictions for Greek, Serbian, Antiochian, and Ukrainian churches, and two with roots in the Russian church (an improvement as there used to be three; but the two remaining don't talk much to each other).

As for your comment, "I think the Americans can claim most of the credit for the present state of affairs...." Well, we can claim our share, and yet it takes two to tango - or to *tangle*. Still, I appreciate that unlike some you haven't tried to give us *all* the credit....

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Wednesday, 1 September 2010 at 7:40pm BST

And it is important to note, somewhat off the main topic, but in keeping with one brought up, that TEC is in fact at the forefront of actual on-the-ground and successful ecumenism: accomplished with Lutherans and Moravians, well along in process with Methodists, and even in early stages with Presbyterians. It is a hopefulness of the possible.

As to the impossible... Knowing the well-stated positions of Rome and the East concerning "ecumenism" I don't see much practical happening along those lines anywhere any time soon.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Wednesday, 1 September 2010 at 11:30pm BST

"The sessions at the conference were dominated solutions where the gospel of Jesus is not the driving force"

I find it hard to imagine any solution to a social problem where the gospel (in some form) is not a driving force.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 1 September 2010 at 11:30pm BST

After the shameless abuse by a small group of people, in pursuit of their sexual obsessions, pretending to represent all Africa when it has no such authority, it is greatly heartening to see the bishops of central and southern Africa grappling with the conference: Hebrews 12: 1-2:

'The purpose of which is to be pro-active in addressing the ills that beset Africa such as poverty, wars, bad governance, HIV and AIDS, and, environmental issues. The focus of this Conference is therefore about making the Anglican Church in Africa relevant in this context.'

I should like to add another verse; they certainly recognised Christ's call as he taught us in Matthew 25:

'For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

They did not quote it; instead they are trying to live it.

Compare it with the petulant and untruthful claims by those who, whilst claiming to be Christians, have entirely dispensed with Matthew 25; they want to put gay people into prison, not to visit them. They have no interest in anything other than sexuality, and they have no intention of respecting the boundaries of any province, wherever that province may be. It must be obvious, to the central and southern bishops signing the letter, that Orombi et al are quite happy about their cross-border interventions, and propose to carry on with them. It must equally be obvious that they will feel free to carry on in the same way with other African provinces, provided it’s profitable enough; the existing bishops will be denounced for heresy, as Rowan Williams has been.

Rowan Williams has Orombi’s tanks parked on his foot, but at times like this I’m pretty sure that the bishops of central and southern Africa are eyeing Orombi’s tanks on their lawns…

Posted by: chenier1 on Thursday, 2 September 2010 at 12:30am BST

I'm with Tobias here, Martin Reynolds. It seems that Anglicans anywhere else in the Communion but England have long despaired of any real dialogue with the Roman Magisterium on just about anything. Local Roman Catholic friendships still persevere - despite the Magisterium's efforts to quell such goings-on. However, principally because of Benedict's own opposition to the aggiornamento of Vatican II, nothing in the way of ecumenical progress can be hoped for from that quarter -
often to the despair of Catholics in countries other than the UK. Lets get real!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 2 September 2010 at 1:05am BST

"He (Williams) spoke what was on his mind and we also spoke," Orombi explained. "We impressed it on him that he had totally gone in a different direction and he has to sort it out.

"We sympathize with his position as head of the Anglican communion suffering disunity on moral grounds and teaching of the Scripture," he added. "We made our minds very clear and he is going back knowing there is no gray area on our part."

- Ugandan Abp.Orombi - The Christian Post -

This ultimatum, given by Orombi to the ABC, has all the hallmarks of an attempt at coercion - in the manner of the Pope to one of his errant bishops. This proud prelate has to learn that the Anglican Church is founded not on the absolutism of a Magisterium - and especially not one of his making - but rather upon an honourable code of ethics that demands the use of diplomacy - rather than the sort of bludgeoning tactics of the ACI, ACNA, the Global South, and those schismatics who were once part of the North American Church.

At least Archbishop Rowan has 'the good of all the Churches' in his in his heart (and portfolio as ABC), and is not predisposed towards dividing the Communion on an issue of Biblical absolutism - combined with a Victorian moralism. He has to try, difficult as the task so obviously is, to 'keep together the Communion' in the face of opposition from conservative bishops who have no wish to enter into the dialogue on hermeneutics or sexuality - as needed to bring the Church up to date with modern facts of life.

Hiding one's head in the sand on issues which concern every single human being, and determining never to open one's-self to the realities of modern scientific and theological research - as it affects human development - is no way to present the redeeming mission of Christ to the modern world. The attitude of Jesus towards the Pharisees of his day was quite shocking for them to have to take on board. Nevertheless, the Gospel demands the application of Love over Law every time.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 2 September 2010 at 4:41am BST

Martin Reynolds,

Are we playing the Euro-chic "blame the Americans" game? Which Americans? The Mexicans? They've already agreed to the "covenant." Canadians? They're waffling. The U. S.? We did what we did unilaterally . . . which is a problem only if you want a totalitarian church like the RC or a circle of glad-handing, authoritarian bishops like the EO. If that's what you want, please say so. It'll make it easier for us to decide which way to go.

As to the "current state of affairs," I seem to remember a good deal of legitimacy being handed to schismatics we ignored and de-legitimized by one Rowan Williams and a certain Tom Wright - now, remind me, which American country are they from again?

Why should the ecumenical concerns of either of those drive our understanding of the gospel imperative?

I'm so glad to see libertarianism is found on both sides of the Atlantic.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Thursday, 2 September 2010 at 5:31am BST

Marshall and Tobias - Yes, at grass roots level many of the churches are doing sterling work on the ecumenical front - there are even important moves higher up the structures in many places. I have always thought the rapprochement with fellow Protestant denominations is undervalued, indeed deemed by some insignificant in comparison to the talks with RCC and Orthodox.

It was the ecumenical dimension that many had in mind when the ACC was founded and a secretariat separate from Lambeth established. The talks and reports that have come forward since have had only a limited reception from Communion churches and it is hard to say just what authority those negotiating theses theological agreements have. I would say that recent changes in membership of these bodies makes that authority even more questionable. Responses from the Roman Curia have also been less than fulsome.

It is this ecumenical dialogue that both Lambeth and the ACO see as threatened (and it has been) and it is through this dialogue that the idea of being "a church" and speaking with one voice has been given some expression.

"Speaking with one voice" indeed seems to have become the main feature in the last few decades of development within the "Communion Instruments" - hence the Windsor Report says in #97

"One matter that has struck us forcefully is the way in which the views of the Instruments of Unity have been ignored or sidelined by sections of the Communion. This has led the Commission to revisit the question of authority of the Instruments of Unity and their inter-relationship and we will make recommendations later in this report. The Virginia Report spoke of Anglicanism's core structures as “a complex and still-evolving network” of authority[54]. In many ways, such dispersed authority is a great strength, but in relation to the issues that have recently confronted the Communion, its inherent weakness has been illustrated only too clearly."

My contention has always been that men like Rowan Williams have accepted the idea posited by the RCC and Orthodox of a "ecclesial deficit" and their views of the need to speak with one voice has taken a leading place in his thoughts.

However what Marshall says about the Orthodox is more than true ......

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Thursday, 2 September 2010 at 10:39am BST

Do I want to bash the (US)Americans?
Not really. After all with three Welshmen at the heart of the Lambeth/ACO responses I have sometimes been ashamed to raise my voice ......

But I must confess to a love/hate relationship with TEC ......

Perhaps my view that this is an American civil war that has overflowed to engulf us all is too simplistic and in my saner moments I recognise that the Jensen family have had big roles to play and that the power struggle has many facets and the old colonialism identified by Mark is not dead even if its changing.

So there you are - just a grumpy old man ....

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Thursday, 2 September 2010 at 11:21am BST

>>>The threats from RCC and Orthodox to cut off relationships has played a strongly here.

What? The Romans might get angry with us and stop telling us that we are heretics playing dress up?

Posted by: JPM on Thursday, 2 September 2010 at 1:19pm BST

Thanks, Martin. I think you have laid out the analysis very soundly. The thrust of ecumenism for Anglicans has been distorted from where it is actually effective (national Church to Church) by this phantom desire to be a more-than-national uber-Church (just like Rome and [in effect] the East). But that isn't what we are or ever have been, and so the exercises in ecumenism at that level must be and will be fictive and ineffective. Anglicanism is not, by definition, univocal or monolithic, and though I'm all for discussion of general principles, this questing after ecumenical agreement at that level has always been slightly fantastic.

In the meantime, as I note, real ecumenical agreement with Lutherans (ELCA and Porvoo) and the Old Catholics, Moravian, and many others whom some would classify in the "chopped liver" category (comme on dit a New York!) are deprecated as if those REAL achievements are of no import because all eyes are on what [they imagine] is behind Door Number Three.

William Reed Huntington, to whom we primarily owe the Lambeth Quadrilateral, had no sense that Rome was part of any plan of ecumenism -- it was all about aligning the various strands of non-Roman Christianity. WRH was pragmatic a hundred years ago, and little has changed to promote other hopes.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Thursday, 2 September 2010 at 6:21pm BST

Mark. My problem has always been that TEC was at the forefront of the move to establish communion wide instruments - they used to be very well represented on all the exercises in ecumenism which Tobias (rightly in my view) sees as fictive and ineffective.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Thursday, 2 September 2010 at 11:33pm BST

The USA-white neocon agenda is nearly as perverse in its ways of connecting with and managing African believers, as it likes to preach in holier than thou accusations about queer folks.

Of course per this spin doctoring, queer folks do not really exist, no matter how small a statistical minority sector of large human populations. Only straight folks really exist - either as pure and whole and straight, or as twisted-deformed but still straight, folks.

Meanwhile, de facto? The neocon funders/believers/leaders are bound to eventually turn back the clocks on how one human skin color lords it over and/or submits to another since the core concept of God's rule and God's kingdom is categorically Top-Down.

Several lurching shocks of rude awakening await all of us who dare to expect global Anglican salvation and nurture from these cruel conservatives. They pride themselves on being themselves, equal to God.

Posted by: drdanfee on Friday, 3 September 2010 at 8:11pm BST

"The Fault Line Runs Right Through Here: And when is the Anglican quake?" - Mark Harris, Preludium -

Well, well, Mark. After this morning's 7.4 Richter Earthquake here in Christchurch, New Zealand, one can see how apposite is your commentary on things Anglican at this point in time. I feel I now have a much more healthy perspective. We are still, thank God, alive and kicking - most of us at any rate, and the little quakes in the Communion have been put into a proper perspective fir us in Kiwiland.

Tomorrow's theme is: "Blessed are those who put their trust in the Lord". So I guess at tomorrow's Mass I shall be talking about that, and must now get down to my sermon. Deo Gratias!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 4 September 2010 at 4:15am BST
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