Tuesday, 19 January 2016
Primates gathering - Tuesday roundup
Madeleine Davies writes for Church Times that Primates’ ruling is not binding, says canon lawyer.
THE communiqué issued by the Primates in Canterbury last week does not bind anyone, because the Primates’ meeting has no jurisdiction, a canon lawyer said this week. It represented “completely unacceptable interference” with the autonomy of the bodies to whom it had issued requirements.
“I find it utterly extraordinary,” the director of the Centre for Law and Religion at Cardiff University, Professor Norman Doe, said on Tuesday. “No instrument exists conferring upon the Primates’ meeting the jurisdiction to ‘require’ these things… Whatever they require is unenforceable.”…
Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has written A Reflection on the Meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion in Canterbury, England, January 11-15, 2016
The Anglican Journal [of Canada] reports on this reflection: Hiltz addresses ‘sharp criticism’ over stance on TEC .
Archbishop Philip Freier, the Primate of Australia, has reported that he was elected to the Primates’ Standing Committee at last week’s meeting: Dr Freier in key role. He gives the full list of the five primates elected to the standing committee as:
Archbishop Philip Freier from Australia for the Asia Pacific
Archbishop John Holder from the Caribbean for the Americas
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba from South Africa for Africa
Archbishop Richard Clarke from Ireland for Europe
Archbishop Mouneer Anis from Egypt and the Middle East for Asia.
Andrew Goddard of Fulcrum has drawn up this list of Responses to Primates 2016 from The Episcopal Church (USA).
The No Anglican Covenant Coalition has issued this statement by its Moderator, the Ven Malcolm French, “regarding the primates meeting 2016 and the purported sanctions against The Episcopal Church”.
Marie Alford-Harkey Huffington Post The Real Consequences of the Anglican Primates’ Censure of the Episcopal Church
Jonathan Merritt The Atlantic The Selective Outrage of the Anglican Church
Mark Strange, the Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness, writes that All are one in Christ.
Posted by Peter Owen on
Tuesday, 19 January 2016 at 11:16pm GMT
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Good to see the statement from Malcolm French! When the Anglican Covenant proposals were doing the rounds of English dioceses a few years back; one of the chief sticking points for reasonable Christians was the threat of 'relational consequences' if a province was considered to have stepped out of line. It was the unease over this 'threat' that helped to defeat the Covenant proposals in the CofE, TEC, and many other provinces. The Anglican Covenant has not - to my knowledge, been adopted. Yet the meeting/gathering of Primates seem to think they have the authority to impose 'relational consequences' on whoever they please? Do they think we mere members have no memory and are all stupid?
So... from what committees other than the ACC has TEC been excluded? Are there any the Primates can legitimately not invite TEC too, simply because any informal group can meet in any constellation it likes to?
Do the Primates ever make any policy etc. decisions that later don't have to be implemented formally by the individual churches through their decision making bodies before becoming binding for everyone?
Professor Norman Doe is quoted in the Church Times article
"He predicted that there would be “other cases like this: stimulating litigation, jeopardising ecumenical relations, making people ill, wasting money. . . It is high time that Anglicans got a formal agreement together on how they process this.”
It is high time that Anglicans got a formal agreement together on how they process this.
OR NOT! (really sorry to disagree with you Norman!)
To agree to reject the proposed Covenant was to agree that we wish to continue as an informal association of independent national churches within the Anglican family. The ACC providing a framework for holding us together and now the Primates committed to "walking together" in the Anglican fold; based on the Chicago/Lambeth Quadrilateral and the Ecclesiastical polity of the three legged stool - Scripture/Tradition/Reason
Archbishop Fred's statement needs to be read carefully in its entirely. He is correct when he acknowledges that some people are angry and disillusioned with their church in the wake of the Primates' decision. I count myself in that category. Such feelings tend to be cumulative with regard to this issue. He is correct that staying will require courage and resolve.
The section dealing with our forthcoming Canadian General Synod is encouraging. There appears to be an unequivocal commitment to the synodical process which has called for a proposed amendment to our Marriage Canon with first reading at GS 2016. One hopes the commitment to Canada's General Synod government will be shared by all Canada's bishops whether they favor revision of The Marriage Canon or not.
Archbishop Fred references the description of the Primates meeting outlined by The Windsor continuation Group, about them speaking not as an Anglican curia but offering advice in a "united and unanimous voice". There are several unacknowledged difficulties here.
The Primates are now perceived as having moved beyond offering advice to requiring outcomes. Archbishop Fred uses the term "majority of Primates" which suggests something less than unity or unanimity. Their vote was by secret ballot. Our Primate does not signal how he voted. One would have liked to have heard that he both spoke against and voted against the decision of the majority.
One would like to have heard from Archbishop Fred a clear and unequivocal call to the Anglican Consultative Council to uphold TEC as a full participating member of The Anglican Communion. One would like to have read that The Presiding Bishop or his representative will be invited to our forthcoming GS.
On other matters, the section of the statement that deals with The Primates and the climate change crisis is welcome and hopeful news.
As I understand it, TEC isn't frightened to litigate to defend its rights. Professor Doe raises the prospect of litigation if the Primates overstep. Might we see the matter litigated?
I hope not. TEC's strongest card at present is the graciousness it has shown. It should not rush to give that up.
I've no liking for the Covenant, Paul, but law has to be realistic. The primates, hard men of power and prestige, are clearly unwilling to accept being a mere discussion group: it's anathema to swaggering bossmen who spend their days taking obedience and fear as givens. You bend the knee to such men, or by God, they'll do it for you. So far, their provinces are clearly unwilling to rein them in.
That being so, I'd rather have a formal structure, with due process, safeguards, and open votes, than this grubby closed-door realpolitik. If synodical approval were built in, it'd restrict the power of the primates. We'd at least know where we all stand.
Right now, there's a vacuum, and we all know that power abhors that. It's no longer a choice between Covenant and status quo, 'cause the old status quo is dead. It was already on life support; Primates 2016 euthanized it. It's now a choice between building a centralized system, or having the primates create their own. Anglicanism's fast on its way to having a self-appointed Curia, surely the worst of all worlds.
TEC's strongest card is the graciousness it has shown?
I assume that is satire, given it spent $50 million suing departing parishes for buildings those parishes built and maintained?
For James, the various Primates of other Churches within the Anglican Communion were not, and are not, subject to the Canons of The Episcopal Church.
However, the various parishes of The Episcopal Church were, and are, subject to those Canons. That is the big difference. Taking that which, by our historical Canons, is the property of the entire Episcopal Church, no matter who built or maintained whatever parts of a parish to which you refer, is the point which differentiates these actions, or, in the case of the other Primates, the acknowledgement that there is no legal action for TEC to take with regard to such other Primates.
I'm with Jerry on this one;if you want to leave,fine, but don't try to take the family silver with you. A long-since dead relative of mine gave the organ in one of the churches which left the TEC (read also AC) and she would have been horrified if the decision hadn't gone in favor of TEC. Also it would be interetsing to know in the different cases if TEC started the law suites to get the squatters out or the local group started the law suites to take possession.
It's the continuing self-generated martyrdom of the right-wing; "We stand firm while you sacrifice." Nice church, if you can get it.
Agree deeply with this comment by Mark Strange:
"In the drive for unity in the Anglican Communion we risk removing our diversity and our ability to respond to the particular needs of mission in our own communities, the ability to hear the voice of God in our own situations."
If a local church and the community it seeks to serve chooses to welcome and affirm and celebrate gay and lesbian and bi and trans people and their lives, and their deepest devoted relationships... and to include them like anyone else, without discrimination... who is a Primate to tell them they can't?
Are they not still 'in Christ'? Is their union any less in Jesus Christ?
And in the exercise of good conscience, should the local church and surrounding community be threatened and sanctioned into uniformity based on someone else's conscience? Is enforced conscience truly conscience at all?
Is it one-size-fits-all, for all places and for all times?
Or is the Anglican community capable of celebrating 'unity in diversity', celebrating difference and variety, responding to the actualities of local communities, living communities? And most of all, capable of finding grace to love one another, even when we are different and diverse, and hold different views in conscience?
The real test, surely, is not moral self-righteousness and rectitude, but love, and grace.
Doe sat on the covenant design group and was in favor of it and of something like international canon law.
He is no ally of unilateral action by a province.
But the plain fact of the matter is that we do not have either.
I doubt that the Primates would be convinced they need international canon law to take up the role given to them re: enhanced responsibility.