Comments: General Synod: Sunday reports

Regarding the "Anglican bishops in secret Vatican summit", what have they to discuss? So far as the RC Church is concerned, they are laymen. At this, of all times, with the waters muddied - from their point of view - by the question of the ordination of women priests and bishops, there is no way that the power structure of Roman Church can or will risk recognizing Anglican orders, however conditional or circumscribed that recognition might be.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Sunday, 6 July 2008 at 4:18pm BST

There always seem to be so many Ifs in these hard controversies.

IF - only the several proponents of contrasting views did not feel so easily and terribly contaminated by believers who think differently?

IF - only historic Anglican space and oxygen were not institutionally vexed and beset by sharp problems of power - mainly by those powers of excluding the wrong sort, policing the shaky maybe sort, and of course punishing any who fall astray according to this or that weaponized doctrine?

IF only trust - or more likely, a lack of trust and behind that, a lack of transparent fairness - did not trump doctrine, ethic, theologies, hermeneutics?

IF only - we did not have the solid empirical data which reveal to us the high competencies of stellar real world women - reaching high and wide so expertly and so graciously in almost any realm of human productivity and accomplishment that matters - except of course in church life?

IF only - we could find a path to trust that did not involve just the mean instruments which so consistently offer guarantees - proving ourselves as those who singularly belong to Jesus of Nazareth by excluding, policing, punishing those who do not, according to this or that judgment seat of glory?

In USA, one of my former classmates was a priest who literally had a nervous breakdown when TEC approved women priests and bishops. He needed three years of hard work to resolve his mother issues (his way of putting it). His individual story left me feeling that to some extent we all have mother issues insofar as our mothers were necessarily imperfect humans who necessarily bore great, hurtful burdens; those unkind weights laid upon women globally by a huge economic-political-cultural-religious apparatus whose soundtrack is a loud chorus of gloriously deified idols - categorical definitions, limitations upon being and becoming and behavior, and not least, all those carefully worded damnations to second place valorizing women as the most glamourous and special among all possible human losers, compared to men.

Well USA got through it initially, more or less - though as the conservative realignment campaign demonstrates - we pay a price no matter what we do. Our choice is difficult: Somebody will not get his or her way, no matter what.

Posted by drdanfee at Sunday, 6 July 2008 at 4:52pm BST

This is a fascinating story, reminiscent in style and content of an old friend of mine, indeed there are even elements here that we discussed several months ago.

The top of the story as told by Wynne-Jones is “a group” of “senior” CofE bishops have had “secret” meetings with officials of the CDF, a branch of the Roman Catholic Curia.

The reporter tells us purpose of these “sensitive and potentially explosive” “highly confidential discussions” (!!!) was to “discuss the crisis in the Anglican communion over gays and women bishops” and to “attempt to build closer ties with the Roman Catholic Church” and to share “their dismay at the liberal direction of the Church of England and their fear for its future”.

And the Telegraph reporter tells us that these bishops of the Church of England have had these clandestine meeting(s) with a Department of State of a foreign power behind the back of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Sadly we have no way of confirming the facts of this part of the story. We have to depend on the integrity of the journalist in question.

The bishops are allowed to remain anonymous, their names only known to “The Telegraph”.

Amusingly later in the article a bishops identified as “involved in the talks” is reported as wishing to stay “loyal to the parishes in my diocese” ………

I can only wonder why, if such sensitive, explosive and secret meeting(s) took place, why this person would now talk about it to The Telegraph?

As the reporter tell us “The disclosure comes on the eve of a critical vote as members of the General Synod” and it may be part of an offensive intended to further wound Rowan Williams.

But as I say there is absolutely no way to check out this story – but it is interesting to read in this report what comes from the pen of the journalist and what comes as comments from anonymous sources.



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Wynne- Jones’ Sunday Telegraph story conflates the “secret” meetings of bishop with the CDF with other stories – almost seamlessly weaving them together.

The fact that some of the clergy who do not accept WO - and the bishops who were appointed from their ranks - are in conversations with the Roman Catholic hierarchy of England and Wales is not a surprise to anyone.
More follows.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Sunday, 6 July 2008 at 8:35pm BST

But the statement from the RC bishop of Arundel and Brighton goes further he says interestingly “Some are hoping for accommodation with the Catholic Church, but yet maintaining their Anglican identity."

And here we come to the running story/gossip/rumour that has been denied by both sides for several months/years – and yet is still being touted by some within the Vatican (particularly in the CDF!) as a “definite possibility” on Saturday a “certainty” after lunch on Tuesdays.

This says the Pope is about to legitimise a small America group that began as an Anglican breakaway and after discreet re-ordinations will be given its own rite under a personal prelature.

It is true that the Pope has taken a personal interest in this small group’s desire for reunion with Rome and has unusually asked his own dear CDF to report - bypassing the department normally charged with this duty.

For this reason and after some surprising recent decisions like reintroducing the Latin Mass in EVERY parish (and maybe even every mass) – the Gin and Lace rumour mill (on both sides of the Tiber – but particularly amongst the ex-pat community) is alive with the latest plot.

The latest twist I heard a few weeks ago was that Rome had done a deal with the Orthodox and the new Anglican Rite would also allow married bishops – apparently (the yarn went) the Russian Orthodox are running out of suitable candidates for Episcopal orders in the Monasteries and will want married bishops some time soon ………. Hmmmm ……

For some ex-Anglicans and soon to be ex-Anglicans the provision of the provision of an Anglican rite is a panacea with universal potential. The gossip mill specialists like dear Damian (also sometime at the Telegraph) have already “built” some parts of this story into a possibility and choose to confirm other bits see http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/damian_thompson/blog/2008/07/06/bishops_plan_conversion_to_rome
And the enticement here http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/damian_thompson/blog/2008/05/24/3000_iraqis_become_roman_catholics.

Old mates now RC’s are full of it.

“Yes it’s a done deal, I’m sure of it.” Says one
he tells me Rowan has been bamboozled and knows nothing – others that he has asked the Pope to delay the announcement of the Anglican Rite ‘till after Lambeth to spare his blushes. These stories have a life! ….

And of course the Pope is also going Canonise the Venerable John Henry just to make matter worse for the poor Anglicans and so the story goes on and on ……..


Posted by Martin Reynolds at Sunday, 6 July 2008 at 8:38pm BST

Just last week Ms Butt wrote, "Akinola accused him of leading the Anglican communion into a "state of turmoil and brokenness" and also appeared to accuse him of apostasy, something he later denied." Now, she drops the qualifiers and states simply, "The Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, accused Williams of apostasy."

The actual words of ABp Akinola when asked whether the term apostate which he had used with the leaders of the American provinces (from the day 1 press conference):

[Unidentified reporter]: Is Rowan Williams guilty of apostasy?

Akinola: I would not say that. He is a brother but we cannot agree on certain ways of doing things.

NYT: Who are the apostates?

Akinola: All those who have given up the faith and doing what we as a church cannot do, who are doing what we as a family of churches cannot do. They are the ones.

I am holding my breath for a retraction from Ms Butt.

Posted by robroy at Monday, 7 July 2008 at 5:46am BST

"All those who have given up the faith and doing what we as a church cannot do, who are doing what we as a family of churches cannot do. They are the ones."

And we, robroy, long ago gave up holding our breaths that Akinola would retract this untruth. The fact is that there are people in TEC, and indeed in the rest of the Anglican communion, who do not believe as he does on the authority of Scripture, or many other things. They are not Apostate simply becuase they do not agree with him. Of course there is a lunatic fringe on both sides. Many of the conservative lunatic fringe signed recently signed a statement of their abandonment of the catholic faith as Anglicanism has understood it for the past 500 years. Yet, no-one has called them apostates, it is left to them to hurl that accusation at others. There's a word for that, you know, accusing others of that of which you yourself are guilty.

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 7 July 2008 at 2:01pm BST
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