Comments: Primates gathering: Sunday news and comment

Well, the CofI primate has accomplished what the IRA couldn't: made me ashamed of my Irish blood.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Sunday, 17 January 2016 at 2:34pm GMT

Again, placating words from the Episcopal Church. It's at once impressive and simultaneously disappointing.

Posted by Kate at Sunday, 17 January 2016 at 4:20pm GMT

In working on something this afternoon in conjunction with Epiphany season,the quotation below came my way. It's a challenge to think in these terms after the past week; but I'm trying to let it percolate.

"When we have been wounded by the Church, our temptation is to reject it. But when we reject the church it becomes very hard for us to keep in touch with the living Christ. When we say, 'I love Jesus but I hate the church,' we end up losing not only the Church but Jesus too. The Challenge is to forgive the Church. The challenge is especially great because the church seldom asks for forgiveness, at least not officially. But the Church as an often fallible human organisation needs our forgiveness, while the church as the living Christ among us continues to offer us forgiveness." --Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Sunday, 17 January 2016 at 8:21pm GMT

A word to those who feel that TEC (and possibly other parts of the Communion where gay people are welcomed, notably the Canadian Churh of which I am a member) should withdraw support, secede, or otherwise vacate or undermine the Anglican Communion in some way: Don't do it! We have seen the ACNA, Anglican Network (in Canada) and other groups do this. They have played games in many of our parishes and diocese before walking out and they continue their petulant and mean-spirited whining and undermining. We must not descend to their level. We should also be aware that they are looking for the opportunity to be considered the "official" Anglican entity and they must not find a vacuum or opportunity to present themselves as such. The presence of Foley Beach in Canterbury supported by the Gafcon Primates is ample warning that this is the agenda and they will support or even force it, given half a chance. If we have deplored bad behaviour and unChrisitan activities in others, the worst thing to do is to begin doing the things ourselves. Then we would have no moral or spiritual high ground left all the world would just see a disgraceful and bankrupt Christianity. Someone has to make sure that doesn't happen. It hurts to be called names and lied about. It hurts to be treated badly for doing what is right. But we are the Body of Christ and we must be like him who walked the same path.

Posted by Adam Armstrong at Sunday, 17 January 2016 at 8:46pm GMT

I'm probably too hopeful, but a lot of it looked like episcopal speak for "Okay for you, pal." Budde seemed to be saying "You thought you'd blindside us, but we were prepared, have the sympathy, the next move, and the right side."

Posted by MarkBrunson at Sunday, 17 January 2016 at 9:53pm GMT

Glad to see the statement that clarifies the role of Foley Beach at the meeting and what it was 'appropriate' for him to do. The truth of the matter is that he shouldn't have been there in the first place and it was naive to invite him. The whole raison d'être of the ANCA is predicated on its wish to replace the Episcopal Church at almost any cost and this certainly involves enlisting the support of the Equatorial African provinces to do so. It's a near miracle that the meeting was as 'successful' as has been claimed. The graciousness and patience of the American Episcopal Church in all this has been remarkable.

Posted by Nicholas Henderson at Sunday, 17 January 2016 at 10:58pm GMT

++Philip Richardson, Pakeha senior bishop in ACANZP has written this reflection on the Primates Meeting, here:

Posted by Simon at Monday, 18 January 2016 at 12:41am GMT

Abp Welby's stale games with people's iives and welfare are the darkness and the language of the TEC bishops is the light that dispels it.

Posted by Spirit of Vatican 2 at Monday, 18 January 2016 at 3:05am GMT

Sam Wells: beautiful words.

Posted by Pam at Monday, 18 January 2016 at 7:32am GMT

Rod Gillis, thank you very much for your quote from Henri Nouwen. I needed it. I am also grateful for the letter by Sam Wells, thank you TA for linking to it. Jayne Ozanne got it right in her interview on Radio 4: it was very good to hear ++Justin apologise to the LGBTI community for the way they had been treated, but what is also needed is action. So having felt very despondent at the end of last week, having read Rod Gillis quote and Sam Wells, I am still hanging on in there.

Posted by Anne at Monday, 18 January 2016 at 10:09am GMT

MarkBrunson - So Richard Clarke has done something much worse than the IRA with their murderous actions over a 30 year period? On reflection is your comment not slightly OTT?

Posted by Noel at Monday, 18 January 2016 at 10:16am GMT

My point was, Noel, that their violence was less shameful a reflection on Ireland than the primate's hypocritical defence of spiritual violence on behalf of all the CofI. No one expects a cowardly terrorist to show compassion, and the IRA didn't claim to be holding the UK together! OTT? Yes, but perhaps that helps you understand just how deeply the communion has wounded us over 3 nightmarish decades.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Monday, 18 January 2016 at 12:04pm GMT

Leaving the AC isn't leaving the Church, and it is the Christlike thing to do. Our values and culture is too different from the others'. We are making things worse, and have no home there. We've screamed at the top of our lungs about human rights and it's finally produced the statement, "So sorry we're going to continue to hurt gays and lesbians. So, march in to their little meetings defiantly, like angry children and watch them ignore us as they have for thirty years while we are cast as petulant brats.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Monday, 18 January 2016 at 12:23pm GMT

It's not just our sacrifice. What about a gay kid, on the edge of suicide who heard our message of strength and dignity, only to feel that message denied by our refusal to rebuke and step away from the worst of those who deny his humanity. What about the millenial, cut off from a community to nurture him because he believes religion violent, bigoted and anti-intellectual only to see one of the few mainstream churches that might have helped him instead confirm his rejection by trying desperately to be a part of all that was wrong? It isn't just about our willingness to sacrifice but collateral damage. We have ignored our own people chasing a pipe dream. We are an American church. We can't help outside because their problems are the by-products of their cultural outlook. They have to find their strength and decide their own path. We *can* do much in our own culture, which needs us home and strong. We weaken ourselves in a war with no support, and that is not our right. Let ACNA have it if they're that dense!

Posted by MarkBrunson at Monday, 18 January 2016 at 1:07pm GMT

FWIW, one learns a good deal from this interview with +Beach.

Posted by cseitz at Monday, 18 January 2016 at 1:16pm GMT

More of the tragic martyrdom of ACNA/GAFCON: "No, see, we're the real victims 'cause we didn't get to hurt 'em *enough*!"

Posted by MarkBrunson at Monday, 18 January 2016 at 2:51pm GMT

I agree that the Beach interview is fascinating. At 9:07 he directly contradicts the 'Statement on votes given to Primates at the meeting in Canterbury' at the top of this story. At least one of Abp Beach or the author of the Statement is not telling the truth. Which?

Posted by Iain McLean at Monday, 18 January 2016 at 3:35pm GMT

sorry, MarkBrunson. Whatever way you dress it up I think you have lost all sense of balance or proportion. Richard Clarke is a godly man and does not deserve to be associated in any way with your sense of shame.

Posted by Noel at Monday, 18 January 2016 at 6:52pm GMT

"Richard Clarke is a godly man."

That may be, but he's not very good at understanding how the primates' communique was intended and is being perceived.

Clarke said, "Those who wanted to push - as they're entitled to do - an agenda about gay marriage, wanted to say say 'look the Americans have been sanctioned, they're being humiliated'," he said.

"The reality is they haven't."

Several things wrong here:

First, to use the phrase "agenda about gay marriage" is to use anti-gay rhetoric. Only in fundamentalist world is the demand for equal marriage an "agenda." Archbishop Clarke should know much better.

Second, The Episcopal Church is more than "the Americans." TEC includes 17 nations. So Archbishop Clarke is mistaken about who is being sanctioned.

Third, of course, he's flat wrong. Yes, TEC has been sanctioned, and of course the point was to shame and humiliate. TEC was just disciplined (again) in a way that no other province has ever been disciplined. And why? Because TEC is speaking and acting in favor of justice for all God's children.

Archbishop Clarke is trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Doubtless for his own domestic political reasons.

(By the way, to say that people are making political use of the Primates' communique -- well, no surprise there. Welcome to the world that Jesus lived in, a world in which religion and politics are often intertwined.)

And in Ireland the politics have changed--thanks to the referendum.

A referendum, by the way, that Archbishop Clarke apparently did not support. Do a bit of googling and we find, from 2014: "The head of the Church of Ireland, the Archbishop of Armagh Richard Clark, has suggested that gay people don’t want to marry, and that civil partnerships are sufficient.

"Saying same-sex couples 'don’t want gay marriage', Clarke spoke to the Irish News in an interview published today in conjunction with the beginning of the Church of Ireland’s General Synod."

So Archbishop Clarke's statement today looks more like an effort to get himself out of his own hot water in Ireland--political and otherwise--and less like a genuine effort to understand the primates' communique.

Sort of like Canterbury's "apology."

Did either of these primates actually vote against the sanction? Or did they abstain? Are they trying to have it both ways?

Posted by Jeremy at Monday, 18 January 2016 at 8:45pm GMT

Have to agree with Noel that Richard Clarke is a decent sort. But I share Mark's sense that TEC shouldn't be left alone to carry the inclusive flag.

Posted by David Oxley at Monday, 18 January 2016 at 10:13pm GMT

You seem to think the worst of people.
Happy to stop at "Richard Clarke is a godly man."
That is enough for me.
He may also be good enough at understanding perceptions - some may differ from yours.
My beef is with MarkBrunson's nonsensical comparison to the IRA.

Posted by Noel at Monday, 18 January 2016 at 10:40pm GMT

Sorry, Noel. We Americans tend to be rather passionate about what we actually believe, rather than passive - that's *our* cultural difference - and your response shows to me that we, in TEC, can expect no help, no support, and no attempt to engage seriously with us in the AC.

Thank you for helping me to make the case for withdrawal.

Oh, and we also tend to respect that other peoples' emotions - which we regard as an important part of being a human - is theirs to feel and define. Thanks, though.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Tuesday, 19 January 2016 at 6:22am GMT

Nice luke-warm words - no action from Sam wells, Holtam, giles Goddard et al. What conviction...& courage....? How important English liberals think the fight for their principles is.... TEC being excluded gets nothing more than a whimper. Principles are So important that they do nothing but offer warm words? Another 3 years of under the radar, brave inaction? That won't achieve anything good. Who will not waste more years and set up TEC(UK)?

Posted by S Cooper at Tuesday, 19 January 2016 at 10:19am GMT

"TEC includes 17 nations. So Archbishop Clarke is mistaken about who is being sanctioned."

Well, I guess so....

But inadvertently you do raise an interesting question about the several territories that voted No at GC 2015 re: same-sex marriage. Will they also seek now to detach themselves from the soi disant 'TEC Communion'?

Posted by cseitz at Tuesday, 19 January 2016 at 11:46am GMT

Decent sorts don't churn out apologetics for institutional homophobia, nor do they try to deny LGBT people their civil rights. Richard Clarke may be pleasant company, but his actions are contemptible.

Posted by James Byron at Tuesday, 19 January 2016 at 12:19pm GMT

Clarke's doublethink seems to be the result of a personal distate for homophobia and a desire not to offend the influential Orange wing of the CoI in the six counties.

Posted by Henry at Tuesday, 19 January 2016 at 1:05pm GMT

I wish you well in your discernment. People are entitled to their emotions as others are entitled to point out comments which seem overwrought and unbalanced.

Posted by Noel at Tuesday, 19 January 2016 at 8:21pm GMT

"Jeremy[,] You seem to think the worst of people."

No. But I am extremely familiar with the habit of politicians--and I include bishops in that class--to avoid taking a controversial stand, if they can possibly avoid it.

Posted by Jeremy at Tuesday, 19 January 2016 at 10:51pm GMT

But not, Noel, to accuse others of *being* unbalanced.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Thursday, 21 January 2016 at 4:30am GMT
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