Comments: Vancouver's Anglican dissidents lose property appeal

Perhaps those of the ANiC in Canada who sought the affirmation of the State in their pursuit of legal ownership of Anglican Church OF Canada properties will now come to realise that schism does not pay.

You cannot forsake the jursidiction of your former Church - in pursuit of antithetical idealism - and expect to retain the perquisites thereof.

Perhaps this will teach a valuable lesson to those of conservative tendencies in the Church who take the law into their own hands in demanding rights to property that is not, legally, theirs. There are right and wrong ways of solving disputes among Church people - and attempts to break away, taking the family silver is not one of them.

Lt's all pray that the Anglican Church of Canada may now be able to go ahead with the liberating mission of the Church - as has been revealed to the lawful guardians of that Church in General Synod - to include those LGBT persons who are Christian in the life and ministry of the Church; so that God's saving grace may be made known to all people - regardless of race, colour, tribe or nation, gender or sexual orientation.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 18 June 2011 at 11:45am BST

Without commenting on the justice of this.. the legal system in the Dominion of canada seems swifter and fairer than that in the rebel republic to the south.

Posted by robert ian williams at Sunday, 19 June 2011 at 8:36am BST

Re Robert Ian Williams, "Dominion " of Canada. It's just Canada --no need to use the word "dominion".
July 1st is "Canada Day"--hasn't been called "Dominion Day" in decades. My condolences on the death of Queen Victoria to you all.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Monday, 20 June 2011 at 1:07pm BST

Yet Queen Elizabeth is Queen of Canada and her royal arms are to be seen in every Canadian court room. Canada is a realm and not a republic, and the monarchy is more popular than ever.

Posted by Robert ian Williams at Monday, 20 June 2011 at 11:07pm BST

Nor do we consider *ourselves* a rebel republic. My condolences on the death of George III.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Wednesday, 22 June 2011 at 5:55am BST

Without wanting to extend the thread drift too far, Robert Ian Williams yet again demonstrates that his parochialism leads him into an assortment of false assumptions and into a series of statements that are barely connected to reality.

While most public opinion research indicates that Mrs. Battenburg herself is personally popular and well respected, there is scant evidence for RIW's assertion that "the monarchy is more popular than ever" among Canadians. Apart from the odd uptick over a royal wedding or some such, the resounding Canadian attitude would better be described as benign neglect. The monarchy as effectively structured does little harm, and the complications of abolishing it (the details of a replacement, the complications of federal and provincial cosovereignty and most especially the need for the consent of all ten provincial legislatures in an era where there is no appetite for constitutional tinkering) is far more important to the institution's survival in Canada.

Posted by Malcolm French+ at Wednesday, 22 June 2011 at 2:25pm BST

As a Canadian who cherishes the monarchy, I do not regret the loss of "Dominion Day". It's a word that no one ever uses (we used to have a supermarket chian by that name but it is long gone). "Canada Day" has become very popular and it doesn't need translation into French. This year, the highlight of Canada Day on Parliament Hill be be the attendance of Prince William (Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) and last year the Queen was there, so there is no sense of trying to play down the British tie.

Posted by Adam Armstrong at Wednesday, 22 June 2011 at 5:25pm BST

Canada Day/ Fete Du Canada is not simply "very popular" as Adam Armstrong asserts, it is the official name of the 1st of July since our constitution was (finally!) repatriated from Westminster in 1982. I too I am old enough to remember "Dominion Day" and the old Red Ensign that was our flag before the introduction of the Maple Leaf that now proudly flies from my front porch.It is often accompanied there by the Stars and Stripes on American National holidays as a neighborly gesture. Although, on Friday it will be in the company of Quebec's Fluer de lis because, of course, June 24th is Bon Fete National in Quebec.

Just as Canada has its own flag and its own distinctively named July 1st holiday, so perhaps in the near future we will cut our ties to the British monarchy as quaint as all that is. There is no reason that Canada cannot join the growing number of republics like the many that are now part of the "Commonwealth of Nations".

Yes the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be welcomed in Canada with acclaim--pop icons that they are. However, I would not read too much into that from a political point of view. We would do the same for Elton John or Lady Gaga.

But whatever happens to the institutions from our colonial past, that is for Canadians to decide.

Indeed, to return to the issues closer to a dedicated site such as Thinking Anglicans, is it not the case that many of our problems, including the proposed "covenant" are due in part to the fact that the Anglican Communion, not as a sacramental reality but as an ecclesiastical institution, is one of the last vestiges of the Victorian Age?

Posted by Rod Gillis at Wednesday, 22 June 2011 at 7:09pm BST

I think Rod has a valid point; one that I have previously suspected, strongly, but did not think of in my reply to RIW until he brought it up. The Covenant, the whole AC - as it stands - seems a last, desperate refuge for a dream of empire.

I wonder, if the center, seat and focus of the AC were to be moved to one of the more moderate and less objectionable constituents - say, Canada or Mexico, or Japan - would this Covenant receive such heated and desperate backing from Lambeth?

Perhaps, it should be suggested that, as a corollary to this Covenant, and in recognition that the well of unity has been poisoned by recent actions of the CofE, the "capital" as it were, of the Anglican Communion - the seat of governance - be recognized in a different Anglican church.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Thursday, 23 June 2011 at 5:08am BST

Rod, you may wish to consider adding the stylized Union Jack which is the official flag of Newfoundland and Labrador since St. John the Baptist is an official holiday on the Rock as well.

As I mentioned before, the main obstacle to reconsidering the monarchy (besides the amending formula requirements) is the difficulty of replacing the current arrangement with something else - which was similarly the shoal on which Australian republicanism foundered.

But I think you're on to something with your reference to the so-called Anglican Covenant as the last vestige of the Victorian Age. Indeed, one might even say the last desperate gasp of English imperialism.

Posted by Malcolm French+ at Thursday, 23 June 2011 at 5:17am BST

All peripheral to my contention, that Justice under the Queen is far swifter in Canada.. look at the cases in America, manipulated by the schismatics and never ending.

Posted by Robert ian Williams at Thursday, 23 June 2011 at 6:48am BST

Robert Ian Williams, the notion about the comparative pace of "justice" in Canada v. the U.S. is a bit of an oversimplification. Some of the issues have to do with the differences around law in the two different federal systems. What is interesting to me is the persistence of the break away groups in chasing property claims against Anglican Church of Canada dioceses by means of a civil action in the courts. Their legal people should have seen this outcome a mile away based on precedent. Makes one wonder.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Thursday, 23 June 2011 at 1:15pm BST

Thanks to Mark Brunson and Malcolm French for their replies. Both use "empire/imperialism" in their reply. I agree. I'm quite serious about the politics of the proposed covenant as a mechanism grounded in an ecclessiology of a bygone era. Clearly, our Communion, like many of the countries and continents where it lives, is grappling with a post colonial situation. The dynamics of post colonialism i.e. who has power and who does not, and who is outraged at whom, are very much at play here.

My dream for Anglicanism is that we would continue to evolve into a more conciliar church.
There are (or were) hopeful signs in some of the existing components of our Communion for a more conciliar church with a greater voice for both presbyters and especially laity i.e. The Anglican Consultative Council (until recently), Anglican
Womens Network, and the ongoing evolution synodical government--something Canada helped pioneer.

The Covenant by contrast pushes us in the direction of more hierarchy, more control, more centralization. We will end up with a situation in which,on paper, future change and renewal is possible according to some ideal Communion wide consensus (by bishops no less!); but the political reality will be that change and evolution will be held hostage to the loudest voices and the most conservative of international episcopal agendas. Do we really want the Primates as the main PR group for God the Holy Spirit?

PS Malcolm, the notion that the monarchy is too difficult to replace in Canada is a cop-out. The amending challenges are formidable, but It can, and I suspect eventually will, come to pass. (And yes, I once lived on the rock. I am aware of their very busy new flag.)

Coincidentally, The Communion with a covenant may find itself in a situation comparative to Canada's current constitutional situation i.e., so overwhelmed at the process required by change that unimaginative stalemate becomes the default position.


Posted by Rod Gillis at Thursday, 23 June 2011 at 1:51pm BST

I agree that the so-called Covenant is "grounded in an ecclessiology of a bygone era." Ironically, it is the very ecclessiology Anglicanism rejected at its birth.

(Re: the monarchy - the amending formula isn't the biggest problem. The problem is that the notional powers of the Crown are almost absolute. The powers are not exercised (except on advice) because the office lacks democratic legitimacy. Short of a complete constitutional rewrite, simply converting the appointed Governor General into an elected President would mean that the new office has democratic legitimacy and therefore has no reason not to exercise the full scope of its powers. In other words, the "simple" fix most Canadian republicans offer actually creates an absolute dictatorship with no term limit.

The other problem has to do with the nature of Canadian federalism. If the new President is a federal creature, it undermined the constitutional remit of the provinces.

And finally, the thing that will kill any abolitionist proposal stone dead isn;t the white politics, but the inevitable objections of the First Nations.)

Posted by Malcolm French+ at Friday, 24 June 2011 at 8:07am BST

A final word on the monarchy as a segue back into the discussion at hand about a post civil suit climate.

You note several major problems confronting republicans in Canada. They are all solvable. It is within our power to declare independence and put in place a head of state that represents we the people or some such thing.

The biggest obstacle Canada faces with regard to any kind of major negotiated social change is overcoming the grip that elites and elitism have on our country. Our social legacy remains, in English Canada, the legacy of the family compact.

The Anglican Church of Canada is a microcosm of the wider society in that regard. I have difficulty imagining that a General Synod is going to decline to sign the covenant. In fact, I'll be interested to see how much latitude the General Synod is given to openly debate the matter.

However, The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision (together with the crashing and burning of the R.C.Ordinariate here) has brought down the temperature in the room. It has put a containment wall around the break away groups. The final word is that they cannot take property with them. And let's face it, in the current Canadian landscape few people are going to choose exodus with principle if it means they cannot take grand daddy's memorial window and granny’s memorial bishop’s chair with them when they go.

The long shot is that there may now be latitude for some independent thinkers at GS to attempt amendments to the Covenant. Amendments will fail mind you because, for one thing, the Order of bishops will probably veto them--but in the process the debate may cause enough sober second thought to derail the whole enterprise. On the other hand, our leadership may well see the Supreme Court decision coupled with a signing on to the Covenant as two major planks in a program to restore “peace order and good government” the Canadian Church. I think that is by far the most likely outcome. Bon Fete National Malcolm

Posted by Rod Gillis at Friday, 24 June 2011 at 4:14pm BST

Take away the monarchy and Canada would split up and there would be no reason for not joining the rebel republic to the south. Seriously.... why is American justice so much slower..look at the Virginia/ Cana dispute?

Posted by Robert ian Williams at Friday, 24 June 2011 at 5:04pm BST

Robert Ian Williams, you really must come visit us (Canada and U.S.A.)sometime. You are the victim of misinformation from afar. I can assure you that the monarchy has nothing to do with Canadian unity. Now take away a beer production and we would be in trouble.

There are significant differences between the two countries such as two different federal systems in Canada and the U.S. with differences in the division of federal and state/provincial powers , the economy of demographic size, not to mention different climates in each respective country with regard to civil litigation.

Hopefully however, there will be solidarity between the Anglican Church of Canada and TEC into the future.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Friday, 24 June 2011 at 11:12pm BST

"It's a word that no one ever uses"

I'll be no one then, I guess.

"It is within our power to declare independence and put in place a head of state that represents we the people or some such thing."

We've been independent since 1931, and we have no ties to the "British monarchy" apart from the offices being held by one person. As for the Family Compact, I doubt the average Canadian has heard of it, at least outside of history class. Perhaps it's you who hasn't exited the Victorian age?

Posted by Geoff at Saturday, 25 June 2011 at 4:26am BST

Hi Geoff. You are referring to the Westminster Statute of 1931. Good point, but not one that meets the test for full independence. The preferable benchmark for the kind of point you are attempting is the Repatriation of the Canadian Constitution in 1982. True political independence will come when Canada eventually becomes a republic. To borrow from Rene Levesque, "its a natural evolution". I respect our constitutional monarchy, but look forward to the completion of the evolution.

The Family Compact has its roots in the United Empire Loyalists. The unfamiliarity of the guy on the street with the term is irrelevant. The family compact has left an indelible mark on Canadian society. Its imprint on our psyche is ongoing. Canada wrestles still with elitism in government and the media. Have you been watching Canadian news the past few days i.e. coverage of Conrad Black, The Postal Strike, Senate Reform, and the Asbestos issue?

Bishop Strachan was the family compact Bishop. It is my contention that the ongoing political dynamics of this legacy are ingrained in Canadian Anglicanism. If you have ever attended a diocesan or General Synod, you must have been aware of the anxiety over democracy and true conciliarism not far below the surface. I can tell you from my experience with the ‘Nation and Identity” forum at GS 1998 that its very real. The tidy bowl man is alive and well.

Now that the litigation question is closed, the Canadian church has the opportunity to move forward with focus. The challenge will be moving forward with a distinctive Canadian solution. Urban dioceses have moved on the matter of same sex blessings. There are parts of the Canadian Church where this will not be possible for a very long time. Does signing onto the covenant help or hinder finding a reasonable accord that reflects our Canadian reality? Part of the challenge will be allowing delegates to GS 2013 the political maturity to talk with one another. Overcoming fear of “passionate and heated debate” will be one of the challenges.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Saturday, 25 June 2011 at 4:19pm BST

Canada became an independent Monarchy in 1931 and everything is done in the name of the Queen.

Posted by Robert ian Williams at Saturday, 25 June 2011 at 11:38pm BST

Robert Ian Williams, if i may scoff a line from elsewhere, Canadians are not bees, why do we need a queen.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Sunday, 26 June 2011 at 5:04pm BST
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