Comments: Hurd Report: the 2001 review of the See of Canterbury

"Anglican Communion

d. Steps should be taken to establish a post at episcopal level at Lambeth funded by the Anglican Communion to act as the Archbishop of Canterbury's right hand in Anglican Communion affairs, with a view to its holder deputising wherever practicable for the Archbishop in the Anglican Communion, and helping to coordinate support with the Anglican Communion Office. The post holder should come from the Anglican Communion overseas, and be selected by the Archbishop in consultation with the Anglican Consultative Council and Primates;"

This would seem to be the part of the report that the ABC was referring to in his interview for The Express - for which he was deemed to have been mis-quoted by the ACO.

This role of a 'deputy' for the ABC in the affairs of the Anglican Communion - at least in this report - would seem to be proposed as a role for someone from the other Provinces, outside of the Church of England. Is this a way of Canterbury sharing with other Provinces the traditional role of 'Primus-inter-pares?

Is this, in fact, a time for the traditional Role of Archbishop of Canterbury to become even more magisterial (like Rome) but with candidates from outside of the Province of Canterbury?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 9 September 2012 at 11:40am BST

Is this, in fact, a time for the traditional Role of Archbishop of Canterbury to become even more magisterial (like Rome) but with candidates from outside of the Province of Canterbury? - Father Ron.

Absolutely not! Let's be clear, the "traditional role of the Archbishop of Canterbury" is to be (1) the diocesan bishop for the diocese of Canterbury, a role that pre-dates by many years the break with Rome and (2) to be the Metropolitan of the southern province of the Church of England, a role which significantly pre-dates the concept of an Anglican Communion.

Candidates for the position may already come from other provinces - indeed +Rowan came to the post from the Church in Wales - but because of the Established nature of the Church of England, (I'm sure I have this right) all candidates must be British Citizens since the archbishops of the Church of England are ex-officio members of the House of Lords of the UK parliament and in that capacity, as well as in their capacity of being bishops of the Church of England, they must swear due allegiance to the Sovereign.

I have no difficulty with the concept of the Anglican Communion (s)electing somehow a bishop of any of the constituent churches to be primus inter pares among the bishops of the communion so long as it is clearly understood by all that the Anglican Communion is a fellowship of independent, self-governing churches and that there is NO SUCH THING as "the Anglican Church" and no need for a quasi-pope nor a pseudo-curia.

Posted by RPNewark at Sunday, 9 September 2012 at 2:35pm BST

I always think there is a danger of being very short-sighted about all this and to pretend that this is not something the Anglican Communion hasn't been grappling with ..... well almost as long as it has existed as a separate Church and then assembly of Churches, is not helpful.

Let's just look back to Robert Runcie's opening address to the Lambeth Conference in 1988 "The Nature of the Unity we Seek" quoted here in the ENS piece:
http://www.episcopalarchives.org/cgi-bin/ENS/ENSpress_release.pl?pr_number=88167
"Do we actually need a worldwide communion?" he asked. "Is our worldwide family of Christians worth bonding together? Or is our paramount concern the preservation or promotion of that particular expression of Anglicanism which has developed within the culture of our own province?"

Runcie makes his own ecclesiastical position blindingly clear when he says:

"We must never make the survival of the Anglican Communion an end in itself. The Churches of the Anglican Communion have never claimed to be more than a part of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Anglicanism has a radically provisional character which we must never allow to be obscured."

And it was no accident that the most episcocentric Orthodox theologian Metropolitan `John Zizioulas' was invited to respond in a speech that also attacked the ordination of women:
"We need to find the golden rule, the right balance between the 'one' and the 'many', and this I am afraid cannot be done without deJohn Zizioulasepening our insights into Trinitarianism theology. The God in whom we believe is 'one' by being 'many (three)' and is 'many (three)' 'by being one'."

And later:

"An ecclesiology of communion, an ecclesiology which gives to the 'many' the right to be themselves, to risk being pneumatomonistic, needs to be conditioned by the ministry of the 'one', just as. the ecclesiology of a pyramidal, hierarchical structure, which involves a christomonistic tendency, can undermine the decisive role of the Holy Spirit in the life and structure of the Church and needs the aspect of the 'many'
"A Church which is not able to speak with one mouth is not a true image of the body of Christ. The Orthodox system of autocephaly needs and in fact has a form of primacy in order to function, and I dare think that the same would be true of Anglicanism. The theology that justifies or even (as an Orthodox, and perhaps an Anglican, too, would add) necessitates the ministry of episcopacy, on the level of the local Church, the same theology underlies also the need for a primacy on the regional or even the universal level. It would be a pity if Anglicanism were to move in the opposite direction; it would then have to look for a non-institutional kind of identity, and the result would be ecumenically unfortunate, perhaps tragic."

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Sunday, 9 September 2012 at 9:51pm BST

Zizioulas' remarks form part of an interesting and well researched, though I think essentially flawed, essay by Dr Michael Poon already discussed here On TA back in the Spring of 2010.
http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/004299.html
Taking out the advocacy for the Covenant - and accepting how Poon finesses such things as WO - I think it's worth re-reading as the essay does give a perspective for the present and ongoing discussion about the Communion and the role(s) of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Sunday, 9 September 2012 at 10:08pm BST

"all candidates must be British Citizens since the archbishops of the Church of England are ex-officio members of the House of Lords"

I can't imagine this being the case. At the very least, a Commonwealth citizen (what used to be called a "British subject") who relocates to the UK would be enfranchised just like any other UK resident eligible to vote, and thus presumably to sit in Parliament. Whether it would be different if a bishop were translated from, say, Ireland or the United States, I couldn't say.

Posted by Geoff at Sunday, 9 September 2012 at 10:32pm BST

Geoff,

You are right. I've now located the briefing paper from the Secretary General of the General Synod (GS Misc 1019). It's at http://thinkinganglicans.org.uk/uploads/gsmisc1019.html and in the Q&A section near the bottom it states,

"11. Are all bishops from within the Anglican Communion eligible for consideration as the next Archbishop of Canterbury?

Since the Archbishop of Canterbury is automatically a member of the House of Lords he must, under the law of the land be a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen. The person chosen will be someone whom the CNC considers to be best able to fulfil the full range of responsibilities of the role, which, in addition to those concerning the Anglican Communion include being Primate of All England, Metropolitan for the Southern province and Diocesan Bishop of Canterbury. There is, however, no rule which limits the CNC to choosing someone who is currently holding an office in the Church of England. Indeed Archbishop Rowan was serving in another province of the Communion when nominated as Archbishop of Canterbury."

Posted by RPNewark at Monday, 10 September 2012 at 9:16am BST

I think it's perhaps important to remember that being in communion with Canterbury is primarily to be in communion with the see of Canterbury, and not just with the Archbishop of Canterbury. The papal model shifts that around, personalising it in one person; and it can (and arguably has) led to the model of papal universal jurisdiction, which is an alternative to the communion of churches qua churches. John Zizioulas has written on this in a number of places.....

Posted by Joe at Monday, 10 September 2012 at 1:49pm BST

"We must never make the survival of the Anglican Communion an end in itself. The Churches of the Anglican Communion have never claimed to be more than a part of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Anglicanism has a radically provisional character which we must never allow to be obscured."

- Archbishop Robert Runcie - (via Martin Reynolds)

As Martin points out here, one-time ABC Robert Runcie had a different perspective on the role of the Archbishop and Province of Canterbury as being
Head of a 'world-wide Church' - akin to the Roman Catholic model. He recognised that the Anglican Communion is based on each Province's claim to membership of the 'One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church - independently of its individual membership of the world-wide Communion.

This understanding is an important corrective to any idea of Canterbury as Headquarters of an indivisible Church Structure. We are not a Church, we are a group of auto-cephalous Churches in the Catholic and Apostolic tradition - joined by bonds of fellowship in the Anglican tradition.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 11 September 2012 at 3:13am BST
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