Comments: civil partnerships: yet more responses

Oh my goodness, the *cachet* of being linked to by Thinking Anglicans - and in the august company of Fr. Jake and the Rev. Mark Harris no less :)

However, just to nip something in the bud, please note that I am not NEARLY as fine as person as our host here and that my blog does not exist as a place for "conservatives" to vent their collective spleens. Please see:

if you have any questions.

Posted by Simeon at Thursday, 4 August 2005 at 3:52pm BST

It is sobering to see that absolutely no one has a kind word for the House of Bishops' pastoral advice.

But it is also obvious that a pattern is developing in comments from the "orthodox" that will give Peter Akinola the support he is looking for.

The last time we saw this threat was in the immediate aftermath of the Windsor Report. In the light of paragraph 146 we gave the Report a cautious welcome. The “orthodox” panicked and were about to reject it – then Blessed Tom Wright was sent on a mission to redefine the Windsor Report and reinterpret it in a very conservative way – he was very successful. We abandoned our support for the new translation as the others rallied to the cause

I wonder who will be summoned back from dipping their toes in the waters off Skegness to tell us that the CofE really hates fags a lot, if the government would only let them. I can’t wait to see who they put on the job.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Thursday, 4 August 2005 at 10:52pm BST


I think that the kindest thing one can say about this pastoral advice is, "In the circumstances, it was probably the only thing they could have said".

Posted by Sean at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 1:03am BST

'So many Injuns, Tonto, what are we gonna do?'
'What do you mean "we", white man?'

Martin R, do you think your comment about 'Blessed Tom Wright' is fair? I agree with you that the English bishops' pastoral advice is completely off beam.

Posted by Martin Hambrook at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 8:01am BST

Yes Martin H, I do believe that I have described the post Windsor strategy accurately.
The matter turned on Akinola's departure from the Primate's steering committee (with a flourish) the day after the launch of the Windsor Report. Up to that momment there had been considerable unanimity as to how to move forward and behind the scenes consultations were working well.
Indeed Akinola had been fairly positive up until he went off for a "briefing" by the ususal suspects.
In very short time the process changed, Blessed Tom was giving interviews to everyone and doors that had formerly been open were now closed.
I have no doubt that he was briefed to move things in that direction, I think it was a very succesful campaign putting Windsor back in the frame, but I am also aware that many Primates were not happy to see their carefully balanced bundle presented with this spin.
Sean, I agree with you - the pastoral advice was the product of all that had happened up to then.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 9:44am BST

The HoB advice is simply the outcome of an untenable policy, which is itself the outcome of an untenably divided and diverse denomination.

Posted by Merseymike at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 12:56pm BST

Martin R there's a tendency to see conspiracies all over the place. Tom Wright's view of the Windsor Report never changed as a result of any supposed briefing to ++Akinola. Furthermore, I think LGCM should be very careful about suggesting in a neo-colonialist way as you have done here (and in that disgraceful press release) that Africans are in the pay of American conservatives. Such allegations could easily be construed as racism and I know that is not your intent.

Posted by Andrew Carey at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 1:45pm BST

Sorry Andrew if my piece above was unclear.
I was referring to the launch of the Windsor Report and what happened immediately after when the steering group of the Primates was to take place.
I was saying that Peter Akinola seemed firstly to be at peace with the process, he then had a meeting with, shall we call them advisors and friends, the atmosphere changed and he left the Primates steering group and returned home denouncing the Windsor Report like this .
It was then that the Windsor report appeared to be in jeopardy and I am saying that Blessed Tom was put up to spinning the report in a much more conservative way than had been agreed. I am not claiming a meeting between Akinola and Wright.
He made a considerable effort – and I acknowledged a very successful bid – to present the Windsor Report in a way that became more acceptable to the Global South.
My discussions with others at the time suggested that his spin was not welcome in all quarters.
As to the charge of racism, I am bemused. I am talking about the power of wealth and how it is used and abused by those who have it. I make no bones about my belief that a small group of Americans and a small group of Britons are the driving force behind the increasing demands of the Global South. I have no knowledge as to their racial origins – just that they are well organized, well funded, and effective, I also believe that they are in control of the Primates of the Global South, they write many of their speeches and guide their policy decisions. I see nothing racist in identifying this, but it is a good smokescreen, as there seems to be some reluctance to own up to it too publicly - even so there have been a few unguarded gaffs from the “managers”.
As I have said elsewhere, we will have to wait for several autobiographies to learn just how important an influence on events these people will then claim to have been. I look forward to reading your reviews of their offerings.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 2:47pm BST

Martin Reynolds wrote: "then Blessed Tom Wright was sent on a mission to redefine the Windsor Report and reinterpret it in a very conservative way"

Wright was sent on a mission to reinterpret a document he basically wrote?

Posted by Dave at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 4:44pm BST

Surely you are not suggesting that Anglican Mainstream wish to have any influence over the activities of the so-called 'Global South' (right- wing-speak for Africa?)

Posted by Merseymike at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 4:48pm BST

Do you have a similar view of those who have expressed the notion that Desmond Tutu is a pawn of "the New York homosexuals who paid for his cancer therapy" or that Ndungane is the "pet African" to the liberal west?

Posted by Jeremy at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 4:57pm BST

Martin you may be talking about wealth and power and how it is used. The effect of your comments is to suggest not only that shadowy, unnamed and wealthy individuals are misusing money and power, but that the Primates you are talking about are manipulable in this way. It's a double ad hominem aimed at two particular classes of people and continues a trend of insults that began at Lambeth 1998.

Such allegations are serious and the fact that you are passing them on, based on nothing more than tittle tattle, speaks volumes.

As for your view of ++Akinola's reaction to the Windsor Report I am very doubtful. An alternative explanation of the rumours you have heard is that it is no secret that the ACC and Lambeth Palace bureaucracy dislike the hangers-on who seem to gather around official Anglican events. It strikes me that they are going to put bad complexion on any meetings ++ Akinola has with anyone.

My memory of the time is that the moment the Windsor Report was published Akinola was angry. At the time I put this down to the fact that he'd actually read the Windsor Report rather than any alleged meetings he'd had with any alleged 'managers'. It helps to deal in facts rather than rumours.

Posted by Andrew Carey at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 5:01pm BST

Mike, the Global South also includes the churches of the Indian sub-continent, SE Asia, the Southern Cone and Sydney. Not a few of these churches provide the actual spiritual and intellectual leadership (Jensen, Ying), besides the African leaders. By the way, the African bishops are, on the whole, more highly educated than the Ecusa bishops, to judge by the number of PhDs among them. I concede they probably don't know much about mixing cocktails.

Posted by Martin Hambrook at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 6:17pm BST

Tish Tosh Andrew! The effect of my comments is to suggest no such thing, unless it is in your mind! I am not talking about shadowy figures, all the people I have in mind are those who seem to enjoy the limelight and whose views and aspirations are well known to all. The only thing they seem so shy about is their management of the situation. Goodness, these people are quite happy to hand Primates questions and speeches in plain view, it’s just that they are not so forthcoming about their role when asked!

It was the Sunday Times who sent the Nigerian Primate copies of the Civil Partnership Act and the House of Bishops’ Pastoral guidelines – he read them and commented.
But take note of the quotes from Andrew Goddard in the Tablet this week. He tells us that Peter Akinola has been “spun” a story and that as soon as he has it all explained to him (by whom I wonder?) then he will come down to earth and see the real truth. It seems nobody got to him to tell him this truth in time.
I rest my case!

As to the events surrounding the Windsor Report, I have confidence in my source, what I was hearing was not after the fact, it was as it was happening, and my source is unimpeachable. The evidence of Tom Wright being “put on the case” is there for all to see. He did write large parts of the Windsor Report, he has said so and identified them. But it was balanced by others and it is some of these who were least happy with the way he then tipped the carefully set scales to suit the need to appease the Global South.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 8:47pm BST

Jeremy, I take a very dim view of any attempts to smear people in this kind of way. I've been privileged to meet both ++Njongonkulu Ndungane and ++Desmond Tutu and think such comments are contemptible - both men are independent, admirable and strongminded characters. I disagree with both of them on some matters, as I do with ++Akinola, but I've never seen any sign that any of these men are manipulable in the way Martin Reynolds alleges.

Posted by Andrew Carey at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 9:11pm BST

Given that your father appointed most of the current Lambeth Palace bureaucracy, you should know, Andrew!

Posted by Merseymike at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 10:21pm BST

Martin, it's absolutely clear from what you've posted before that it's hearsay. Your source wasn't present at any meeting in which ++Akinola was 'managed' in the way you suggest so it's absolute nonsense to suggest that your source is 'unimpeachable'. You're simply peddling rumours. I note that you haven't tried to defend your ridiculous press release - is that because it's indefensible?

Posted by Andrew Carey at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 10:41pm BST

In all the conversation I almost forgot to mention that I am now ever more earger to see who is summoned back from Skeggy to convince the world of the Church of England's homophobic credentials and save the day.
Some wit has emailed me that based on my past performance I would be a good candidate !! Silly Billy!!!

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 11:02pm BST

You are quite right Andrew I was not at that meeting.
As to the Press Release, well I thought I had dealt with that by way of Andrew Goddard’s comments to The Tablet.
He explains clearly what should have happened, what we all expected to happen, the friends, advisors, strategists, campaign managers, handlers, speech writers, close confidants, supporters, fellow travelers were supposed to convince the Primate of Nigeria not to do what he has done.
I am as much at a loss as you are as to how that did not happen. It was, after all, what we predicted was going to happen. Of course, it still may, we may yet see Peter Akinola climb down from the position he has now adopted, even though it will be all the more difficult, embarrassing if not humiliating for him to so to do. We had been so impressed with how swiftly they dealt with the Malango interview with Mr David Virtue, but then they were all so thick on the ground at Nottingham they were able to contain the situation quickly, this time it seems holidays and other factors conspired against a speedy intervention and before you know it ……
So, Andrew, you have me banged to rights there. So far, our predictions even though based on past performance have proven inaccurate. I shall tell Richard.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Saturday, 6 August 2005 at 12:19am BST
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