Thinking Anglicans

APO: more about Pittsburgh

As previously noted,the Diocese of Pittsburgh will consider the issue of APO this weekend at its annual convention. But, as Lionel Deimel has noted on his blog, What Does the Diocese of Pittsburgh Really Want?

…The bigger problem is that the resolution that the diocesan convention will rubber stamp this Friday asks for alternative primatial oversight. (The actual resolution to be voted on incorporates the earlier resolution. Whoever put this together has read Robert’s Rules rather too often.) Alternative primatial oversight is what the leadership of the Pittsburgh and several other dioceses requested as an immediate reaction to the 75th General Convention. The Archbishop of Canterbury was apparently not pleased with receiving multiple requests from Network bishops — one must suspect that he was not pleased with receiving any requests at all — so he asked that the requests be consolidated. Because not all dioceses had asked for the same thing, the replacement combined request did not correspond exactly to what was asked for previously. In particular, although Pittsburgh had asked for “alternative Primatial oversight,” the combined request asked for the appointment of a “Communion Commissary.” (The Bishop of London sent representatives called commissaries to the Colonies in pre-revolutionary times. The colonists actually wanted bishops, however.) That request was dated July 20, well in advance of this week’s convention.

So, what does Pittsburgh actually want? Why is the convention being asked to endorse a request that essentially has been withdrawn, rather that supporting a request that is actually on the table? Is the Bishop of Pittsburgh just trying to confuse matters? Did no one have the energy to draw up a new resolution? Are we asking for two things, in hopes that we will get one or the other? Who knows?

One thing is clear: the militant traditionalists who are disrupting The Episcopal Church have consistently made outrageous requests, so that they can claim to be persecuted when those requests are not granted. Aren’t two outrageous requests better than one?

Other PEP briefing papers here.


  • One pattern that is coming clear is that “we’ll play by the rules if we like the rule and have control over the rules” but “stuff the rules” if they aren’t going our way. Another example of where “rule of law” is fine for imposition and containment of others, but not to be honored if and when it suits them. Considering God works in fractal patterns, I wonder if anyone else can recognise an other entities that only acknowledges laws applying to themselves on an “as convenient” basis?

  • David Huff says:

    Lionel wrote, “One thing is clear: the militant traditionalists who are disrupting The Episcopal Church have consistently made outrageous requests, so that they can claim to be persecuted when those requests are not granted.”

    And that, of course, is precisely the intended purpose of all this ecclesiastical / political maneuvering.

    Clearly a Monty Python-ist bit of ” Help, help, I’m being persecuted!” 😉

  • Alan Marsh says:

    The only thing which is clear is what the dioceses concerned do not want. But in the absence of any known alternative it is hardly surprising that an agreed solution does not exist.

    The Commissary idea is not such a bad suggestion. It offers a limited form of oversight (which FTG has acknowledged does not belong to the office of PB) more akin to guardianship, while not purporting to be a transfer to an external province (Canterbury) or the formation of a new internal province.

  • Richard III says:

    Why is the Commisary idea a good one? It’s still a way to stand apart from the Church and make sure that those individuals who claim to have been persecuted, clergy and laity alike, can continue to draw attention to themselves. How about living up to what was agreed to when they, the leaders of the Network, AAC, etc., took their vows as Bishops and priests of the Church and swore they would conform to the doctrine and discipline of the Episcopal church? There is a polity in this church in which we all can work – to exact change, engage in dialogue, and wrestle with the issues that we disagree on rather than acting like spoiled children who don’t want to play unless they get their way.

  • Alan Marsh says:

    There’s more than polity involved in being faithful to the one holy, catholic and apostolic church. In the opinion of many outside as well as within ECUSA, much of its leadership has not lived up to its commitment to the doctrine of that church. That leadership is now trying to demand conformity from those with whom it disagrees, and a way needs to be found to make space for those being marginalised. A Commissary seems to me to be a better idea than a split.

  • Richard III says:

    You’re right, it is better than a split and maybe it might even buy time for people to engage in real dialogue and focus on those things which unite us rather than the things that divide us or else it will allow folks time to dig their heels in and harden their attitudes even more. Not very Christian if you ask me. What would Jesus do?

  • laurence says:

    Dialogue is all very well — but the essential matter is justice for lgbt individuals and communities. This can never be an arcane discussion about the Bible and ethics between euqal groups. There is power imbalance here — look at how we are treated in America, Nigeria and the UK. Look at the LAWS.

    Look at how these Churches and their Laws operate. ECUSA alone is in the process of bringing in justice for us — and has a long way to go……….

    So don’t talk to me about dialogue with those who have created and uphold this apartheid against lgbt people

    I’m tired of riding in the back of the bus — or having to walk / trudge……

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *