Updated Friday evening
Today, the Daily Telegraph catches up with the news, as Jonathan Petre reports Liberal bishops reject parallel Church, but compensates for the delay by printing this leader column: Communion no more. Part of it reads:
…The text of the American bishops’ statement is damaging. This is a national Church speaking with an (almost) united voice. The casus belli has shifted from the ordination of Gene Robinson, a bishop who is in a relationship with another man, to allegations of bullying by a group of primates led by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Dr Williams now finds himself out of favour with liberals and moderate conservatives in his own Communion. And, harsh though it may sound, he has only himself to blame.
In the past couple of years, he has allowed conservative Anglicanism to be hijacked by extremists. Archbishop Peter Akinola, Anglican Primate of Nigeria, is the leader of the Global South provinces opposed to the ordination of actively homosexual clergy.
That is fair enough, but he has also defended new Nigerian legislation that makes “cancerous” (his word) same-sex activity punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment. The deeply divisive figure of Archbishop Akinola was central to Dr Williams’s Tanzanian compromise; is it any wonder that it has been rejected?…
It takes a while for the RSS feed to arrive, but the Damian Thompson blog entry related to this is now on Holy Smoke: It’s all over for the Archbishop. He starts out this way:
Rowan Williams is finished as Archbishop of Canterbury. His authority has been utterly destroyed by the decision of the American bishops to reject his scheme to hold together the Anglican Communion.
If there is a Lambeth Conference next year – and it is hard to see how there can be, if its American bankrollers are kicked out – then I shall be very surprised if he presides over it.
Any Archbishop of Canterbury would have faced almost insurmountable obstacles to preserving the unity of the Anglican Communion, many of whose members do not recognise each other as Christians, let alone as Anglicans. But Dr Williams has not come even close to surmounting them.
Just as John Major never recovered from Black Wednesday, Rowan Williams has never recovered from Black Sunday: 6 July, 2003, when he forced his friend Canon Jeffrey John to withdraw his acceptance of the post of Bishop of Reading…