Thinking Anglicans

more about Canada and the USA


We carried our own correspondent’s account of a recent Toronto meeting. Now the Diocese of Toronto has published this account by Carolyn Purden. Here’s a portion:

The Primate painted a picture of deep division at the gathering in Northern Ireland. Among the 38 Primates attending the gathering, a group of about a dozen from the global South shunned the North Americans (Archbishop Hutchison and Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold of the Episcopal Church of the U.S.A.).

These Primates, who were primarily from Africa and Latin America (the Southern Cone), petitioned the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, not to hold a daily eucharist at the gathering. When the eucharist was held with a chaplain presiding, they would not attend. When the Archbishop of Canterbury invited all to attend the final eucharist at which he would preside, they refused to attend.

The same group was also involved in leaking information from the Primates’ sessions, which are held “in camera,” to the media. The final report of the meeting was released a day early because an earlier and erroneous version had appeared in the press.

Archbishop Hutchison spoke with anger and passion about these same bishops who, without notice, suddenly abandoned the Primates’ meeting for an afternoon and evening. “The Archbishop of Canterbury left the chair,” he said. “The Africans had decided to meet off site and had taken others with them.” The 16 bishops remaining had received no prior notice from Archbishop Williams or the General Secretary of the Anglican Communion that this was taking place. “It seemed our agenda was hijacked and put in the hands of others,” the Primate said.

Today Bill Bowder in the Church Times reports that English can’t throw stones – Hutchison:

THE CANADIAN PRIMATE, the Most Revd Andrew Hutchison, has suggested that the blessing of same-sex relationships is much more prevalent in England than in Canada.

Speaking on Tuesday afternoon, Archbishop Hutchison said: “There are many priests conducting same-sex blessings sub rosa with the full knowledge of the bishops, but without any sanctions. This is going on in the Church of England, unannounced, all the time.

“I know of one report from one bishop in England that this is now done in 14 dioceses. From a report by the English House of Bishops, it is quite clear that they know this.

“For the Church of England to do any posturing about Canada being out of order is frankly ridiculous.”

By contrast, he said, “In Canada, if a priest gives an informal blessing, and I know of two instances, that priest is disciplined by his bishop immediately. That does not happen in England, where you have a much bigger problem. A little transparency would be helpful.”

This story also reports the opinions of Nigel McCulloch on the ECUSA HoB:

The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, attended the US House of Bishops’ meeting in Texas ( News, 18 March). He said this week that he was “realistically optimistic” about the chances that the Anglican Communion would hold together.

He said that the US bishops had been “stunned” by the Primates’ reaction in February. He said he had received a standing ovation, after telling the bishops of the seriousness of the issue. “I said that this decision would have its knock-on effect on other churches, including the Church of England.”

Bishop McCulloch felt that the US bishops at their meeting had a very deep sense of communion with Anglicans across the world. “They also valued their sense of personal communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury.”

The bishops’ agreement not to consecrate any more bishops for 18 months was “a costly thing”, he said.

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Graham Kings
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In the official version of the controversial comments of Archbishop Andrew Hutchinson, the Canadian Primate, on 16 March 2005 at St James Cathedral, Toronto. http://www.toronto.anglican.ca/index.asp?navid=78&fid3=368&layid=18&fid2=-888 it is reported: ‘At the last Canadian General Synod, the Primate’s Theological Commission was asked to determine whether same-sex blessings are a pastoral or doctrinal issue. In response to a question, the Primate said that if the issue is pastoral, there will be no delay in moving forward with the blessings. “Justice must be done in our time, in our place, in our way,” he said to loud applause. “Freedom to act in conscience is… Read more »

Robert Leduc
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Robert Leduc

In response to Mr. Kings, it seems in reality it is certain conservative primates and other conservative agitators [not all conservatives] that are pushing the boundaries of Bishop Chartres’ comment. They are the ones that are saying others are expendable if others do not agree 100% with their own position. Quite to the contrary, Archbishop Hutchinson is not compelling these other primates to bless gay unions or to ordain gay priests or bishops (or women for that matter). What he does say is that within Canada, the Canadian church needs to act in a way that it appears to be… Read more »

Richard Ball
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Richard Ball

I wouldn’t make too much of this we-need-each-other stuff. The same Anglican bishops who raise this rallying cry see no need for Baptists, or Pentecostals, or Catholics, etc. In fact, a more compelling case can be made for the importance of shunning those who have departed from the faith. Those who have a form of godliness but deny its power? Keep away from them! And the fact is, we have precious little in common. Scripture? Easily dismissed. The atoning blood? Barbaric! Supreme allegiance to Christ? We would rather cosy up to those of other faiths than to those who share… Read more »

anonymous Canadian
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anonymous Canadian

To Richard Ball: I’m a bit confused about your statements with regard to how Anglicans relate to other denominations. Although we are not administratively part of the same church, as far as I know, Anglicans (except certain African bishops and other schismatics) believe in an “open table” — that we are willing to share the Eucharist with *all* baptized Christians. One of the most shocking things to me about the debate is the refusal of some to share Communion with others. Certainly the Anglican Church of Canada remains committed to this openness — perhaps at this time of year it… Read more »

Neil
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Neil

Anonymous Canadian: “as far as I know, Anglicans (except certain African bishops and other schismatics) believe in an “open table” — that we are willing to share the Eucharist with *all* baptized Christians” In the CofE Canon B15A “of the admission to Holy Communion” does indeed welcome all baptised believers. But Canon B16 “of notorious offenders not to be admitted to Holy Communion” gives (complex) guidance for “if a minister be persuaded that anyone of his cure who presents himself to be a partaker of the Holy Communion ought not to be admitted thereunto by reason of malicious and open… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
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“who presents himself to be a partaker of the Holy Communion ought not to be admitted thereunto by reason of malicious and open contention with his neighbours”

. . . and yet at Dromantine the ABC (going the extra mile) invited the “Errant 14” come to Holy Communion *anyway*!

Neil
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Neil

Yes thank you JC Fisher. It again is an interesting reflection of the topsy-turvy state we’re in that you can describe those who are holding to biblical orthodoxy as “errant”.

Of course the quote went on “….or other grave and open sin without repentance”. I think perhaps you’re right. If the Archbishop had not admitted Griswold or Hutchison as those who unrepentantly uphold false teaching (no doubt about it ‘grave and open sin’), then the 14 wouldn’t have needed to make their stand.

Robert Leduc
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Robert Leduc

Regarding the comments by Neil, Indeed, the canons of various Anglican churches refer to the withholding of communion from those who have on occasion been called “notorious and evil livers”. However, that is at the discretion of the Celebrant who must then inform his or her bishop. Those who simply refuse to receive have cut themselves off from the Body of Christ. Indeed, in Anglican Eucharistic doctrine, it is from receiving communion that we become the Body of Christ; it is how the church receives its unity, not the other way around. Contrast this with the Roman Catholic position in… Read more »

Robert Leduc
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Robert Leduc

Regarding the comments by Mr. Ball, I do not place much hope in believing that these 14 conservative primates will put much emphasis on the “we need each other” statement. Rather, I would hope they would assert that our common belief in the primacy of the Resurrection, the forgiveness of sins, and the sacraments are more important than our individual differences in interpreting the Scriptures. St. Augustine, in his Confessions, condemns male to male sex. He also states that those who differ with each other in interpretation of Scripture should not condemn each other. So there is some Patristic support… Read more »

Neil
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Neil

“…in Anglican Eucharistic doctrine, it is from receiving communion that we become the Body of Christ; it is how the church receives its unity, not the other way around.”

Robert, I’ve not found this in my Bible or the 39 articles. Can you show where your statement of “Anglican Eucharistic doctrine” comes from?

Taking the bread and the wine is a sign, a symbolic expression, of unity. Logically, not taking it is the opposite.

Robert Leduc
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Robert Leduc

In response to Neil: To quote Flannery O’Conner, “if the Eucharist is just a symbol, then to Hell with it.” From the ECUSA catechism, and I expect elsewhere, what you call the bread and the wine are “the outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ AS SURE AND CERTAIN MEANS BY WHICH WE RECEIVE THAT GRACE.” In particular, the Eucharist is “the Church’s sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving…the way by which the sacrifice of Christ is made present, AND IN WHICH HE UNITES US TO HIS ONE OFFERING OF HIMSELF.” [emphasis mine]. It is… Read more »

Neil
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Neil

Not sure we’re going anywhere here. I just cannot relate what you’re saying to Anglicanism AT ALL.

You don’t seem to like Catholicism but you argue what sounds like a remarkably Catholic line to me. [And I’ve never heard of Flannery O’Conner and I’ve never heard of “frikkin” either! 😉 ]

I don’t recognise the words you quote as Anglican.

“…in receiving the Eucharist that the Church becomes the Body of Christ and hence BECOMES Christ.” ????????

Robert Leduc
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Robert Leduc

In response to Neil: It appears that our discussion may be your first encounter with an Anglo-Catholic Anglican. If so, you may find it helpful to achieving a balanced view of Anglicanism if you widen your Anglican reading list to include some Anglo-Catholic authors. There are a number of 19th century references available online through Project Canterbury at http://justus.anglican.org/resources/pc/ Some modern sources to consider would be, for example, the current ECUSA prayerbook, especially the text of its Eucharistic prayers and the catechism. These fully affirm a teaching based on and consistent with catholic antiquity, although not exactly the same as… Read more »

Neil
Guest
Neil

Thanks Robert.
My lack of recognition of these arguments as Anglican is not because I haven’t encountered them before.
It is because they cannot be supported from the Bible to which the 39 Articles and the BCP give their ultimate allegiance – whether or not ECUSA or ARCIC do.

Neil
Guest
Neil

“….certain proponants of this so-called orthodoxy find themselves comfortable with turning their backs on Christ.”

Hardly. A more accurate interpretation is that they reluctantly turned their backs, not on Christ, but on those who run the risk of His wrath for their apostacy – in the ultimate hope of them coming to repentance.

Jesus’ words to the Church in Thyatira seem totally apt – perhaps these Primates had been listening to Jesus again.

Robert Leduc
Guest
Robert Leduc

If you are familiar with the content of these arguments, you seem to be entirely unfamiliar with their effect on Anglicanism. The original Eucharistic prayer of the Reformers has been modified to incorporate Catholic practice all over Anglicanism, including the Church of England. Lex orandi, lex credendi and all that. This new so-called “orthodoxy” is a vain thing. It is silly to claim to be orthodox and disagree with well over a billion Christians in the East and the West on the doctrines of the Eucharist for which same hundreds of millions give biblical support. Christ was present at the… Read more »