Thinking Anglicans

Lambeth: Saturday morning news reports

(I realise earlier reports for the past couple of days are missing, but I will start the catch-up process with the most recent material.)

Guardian Riazat Butt Lambeth Conference: Archbishop of Canterbury backs Anglican ‘Holy Office’
Telegraph Martin Beckford Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams backs ‘Anglican Inquisition’
The Times Ruth Gledhill Anglican version of the ‘inquisition’ proposed to avoid future schism

What is this about? It is about this document, available here. Right at the end is this sentence:

The Common Principles of Canon law Project ( Anglican Communion Legal Advisers Network) gives a sense of the integrity of Anglicanism and we commend the suggestion for the setting up of an Anglican Communion Faith and Order Commission that could give guidance on ecclesiological issues raised by our current ‘crisis’.

Ruth Gledhill explains further in her blog, Lambeth Diary: Anglican ‘Holy Office’.

Robert Pigott has a diary entry for 25 July about this press conference, see Agreeing to Disagree here.

In the Church Times blog Pat Ashworth had Rowan on ecumenism – all in the same boat.
And here is the Anglican Journal report on this story, by Marites Sison Proposal calls for creation of Faith and Order Commission
and Episcopal News Service has this report by Mary Frances Schjonberg, Lambeth Conference begins considering ‘difficult situations’
and Religious Intelligence has a report by George Conger Lambeth: Is Inquisition on the cards?
and the Living Church has a report by Steve Waring Archbishop: Communion Faith and Order Commission Gains Momentum.

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poppy tupper
poppy tupper
12 years ago

I look forward to the hearings of the Committee investigating Unanglican Affairs. Bishop Tom Wright in the Chair. ‘Are you now, or have you ever been, an Arian?’ It will be very edifying and will be a powerful instrument of evangelization. NOT!

Paul H
Paul H
12 years ago

I’m amazed for two reasons about this crop of stories. The first reason is the shocking use of the word ‘inquisition’ – together with a depiction of torture in Ms Gledhill’s article – for a proposed commission of guidance. However unwelcome the commission idea might be, that kind of reaction is ridiculous. The second is more important – they are missing the big story. The really shocking thing about the official communique is the elevation of the deliberations of the Lambeth conference, to an equivalent standing with the primitive ecumenical councils. As it is written, this seems to apply retrospectively… Read more »

Grumpy High Church Woman
Grumpy High Church Woman
12 years ago

Historical comparisons to the Inquisition are perhaps overblown. But more recent history is instructive. As an Anglican, I very much admire Roman Catholic theologians such as Hans Kung – his early book The Church, was very important to me in my theological formation. Now, if a theologian of Kung’s stature ends up on the banned list (or think of a number of admirable liberation theologians – from the developing world, please note), this should tell us something.

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
12 years ago

Institutions like the Holy Office are a large part of the reasons I left the Roman Catholic church in my college years.

To see the Anglican Communion suggest it needs something even remotely like it moves me to tears.

Father Ron Smith
Father Ron Smith
12 years ago

All this tralk of an Anglican ‘Inquisition’! Is this what is really needed? Is this what the Roman Catholic Church needs from us before it will think about further talks on ‘unity’? If so, then, in the light of Rome’s retreat into pre-Vatican II theology, we Anglicans ought to pursue the more Gospel-oriented aims of the Reformation. Pope John XXIII would never have gone along with a recession into inquisitorial tactics to pursue the cause of the Kingdom of justice, truth and love in the world of our day. Surely Christ died to set us free from the Law of… Read more »

Spirit of Vatican II
12 years ago

If Anglicans think the activity of the CDF since 1978 are something to write home about, they should think again. But perhaps if the CDF had reformed itself as requested by Paul VI at the end of the Council it might approximate to a relatively benign guiding organism and that may be what the Anglican proposal aims at. The apple of discord among Anglicans is, however, one not very susceptible to a dogmatic resolution. It is also an apple of discord among Catholics and the CDF utterances on it have been found confusing and offensive by very many people. Nice… Read more »

drdanfee
drdanfee
12 years ago

Even if some sort of punishing/policing Anglican fifth instrument of unity – now there is a conservative Anglican euphemism for us, worthy of its plain doublespeak – really comes to be. Even if such a thing had existed, all it would do, all it would have done – is bring fear, policing, and punishment more centrally into the life of the gathered fellowship of the provincial Anglican churches, daily, on multiple levels. Such a commission immediately is hoist on fudging its own Anglican standards relative to womens ordination, if not also to key domains of science where indeed change is… Read more »

Hugh of Lincoln
Hugh of Lincoln
12 years ago

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Some do, it seems. Are there any comparisons to be made with Torquemada and the heresy of the Judaizers? The Holy Office was certainly successful in its collaboration with the State in the political and religious unification of Spain after the Reconquista. Is this our “ecclesial dementia” by not learning from history and taking a sufficiently firm line on gays and gayizers? On the other hand, do we really need an extra layer of ecclesiastical bureaucracy, with its inquisitors, jurists and theologians? The UK’s Equality legislation is bound to run into conflict again with the… Read more »

Malcolm+
12 years ago

Interesting to me the the fact that it was conservative-leaning columnists like Ruth Gledhill who were labeling it an Inquisition.

It is, of course, precisely that: a body whose job it will be to root out perceived heresies, searching for Arians under the bed. Yet somehow I suspect it will never take on the overt Donatists who are leading the false “conservative” putsch.

The one positive thing is that an Anglican Inquisition appointed by the present dysfunctional Instruments of Disunity is liable to be feckless and feart. No Tor Quemada here.

JCF
JCF
12 years ago

I think this is ultimately a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing. I have little doubt that there are signficant bishops at Lambeth (whether measured in numbers, or passion!) to “block consensus” about any revision that would change the AC into a binding “majority rule” (w/ accompanying abuses sure to follow).

If Rowan Cantuar REALLY wants to avoid schism, he won’t ram through (see re +++Carey and 1.10!) any proposal (ala a “Holy Office”) which GUARANTEES it will happen.

Walsingham
Walsingham
12 years ago

Frankly I’m not surprised by the reactions to the proposal given the loaded use of the word “Inquisition” by our friend Ms. Gledhill and company. But if you examine the actual idea, as well as the increasing anarchy within Anglicanism (border crossings galore, ad hoc creations of new provinces, even new “Primates’ Councils”, etc.) then clearly something has to be done to create at least some sense of order and be able to enforce it, even if only mildly. That goes, by the way, at least as much for the border-crossers as it does for anyone else. I can hardly… Read more »

Cheryl Va.
12 years ago

Not surprised by the suggestion. If they can’t win the debate on theological grounds, then use censorship to keep others from learning about that loving generous God that is found in both the Old and New Testament. That one that provides for both Jew and Gentile, male and female, healthy and afflicted, seen and unseen. Pompous theology that portrays that they worship the only loving manifestation of God rely does rely on illiteracy and ignorance. It’s hard to be credible when it becomes clear they are just as legalistic, manipulative and selfish as the Pharisees who attacked Jesus. Maybe the… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
12 years ago

“Frankly I’m not surprised by the reactions to the proposal given the loaded use of the word “Inquisition” by our friend Ms. Gledhill and company. But if you examine the actual idea, as well as the increasing anarchy within Anglicanism (border crossings galore, ad hoc creations of new provinces, even new “Primates’ Councils”, etc.) then clearly something has to be done to create at least some sense of order and be able to enforce it, even if only mildly. That goes, by the way, at least as much for the border-crossers as it does for anyone else.” Because what is… Read more »

Treebeard
Treebeard
12 years ago

Glad we have Pat O’Neil hearing taking good sense. One of the posters I never scroll-down on and skim or ignore.

Thanks

Father Ron Smith
Father Ron Smith
12 years ago

What I fear the most, I think, is that those bishops (invited and uninvited) who are not at the Lambeth Conference) will be rejoicing at this attempt to corral the Communion into some sort of ‘Commonality for the Sake of Unity’ on the basis of the original ‘Windsor Report’. If Jesus had waited for the Sanhedrin to agree to his controversial proclamation of the Gospel to All Creatures, then his death might have been avoided, but his mission would have been in vain. Do we have to regress to a pre-scientific and pre-enlightenment (and some might say Pharisaical) understanding of… Read more »

Walsingham
Walsingham
12 years ago

@Pat O’Neill: “Because what is being suggested is not described as enforcing rules and traditions of polity and ecclesiology, but of theology and Christology.” In fact, the document says in the closing paragraph: “The Common Principles of Canon law Project (Anglican Communion Legal Advisers Network) gives a sense of the integrity of Anglicanism and we commend the suggestion for the setting up of an Anglican Communion Faith and Order Commission that could give guidance on *ecclesiological issues* raised by our current ‘crisis’.” (emphasis mine) Once again, I don’t see the reason for paranoia on our part. ECUSA isn’t the one… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
12 years ago

Walsingham:

Yes, but the document spends far more words lauding praise on the works of the Anglican Covenant and the Primates Meeting, both of which are decidedly negative regarding TEC (including TEC’s polity–the Africans especially seem to have no use for an elected episcopate). That last paragraph reads–to me–as an afterthought and an attempt to “make nice” with the Americans.

Walsingham
Walsingham
12 years ago

@Pat O’Neill: I don’t see anything in the current drafts of the Covenant for ECUSA to worry about. (Indeed conservatives have been moaning that it’s nowhere near enough for them, which I think is a pretty good sign…) The last Primates’ Meeting in Dar-es-Salaam only went relatively badly for ECUSA because of the foot-dragging by Nigeria accompanied by ++Cantaur’s almost desperate hope for a consensus document, but ECUSA can play that game just as well as anybody. I really don’t see a reason to dismiss the whole process out of hand or draw comparisons to the Inquisition. Thus far the… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
12 years ago

Walsingham:

We’ll see. My fear is that once such a “commission” is created, its job will grow in leaps and bounds, far beyond what its creators intended.

Walsingham
Walsingham
12 years ago

@Pat O’Neill: Well, it cuts both ways, of course. It could grow by leaps and bounds — and take the Communion the way ECUSA, the ACC, Church in Wales, the SEC, the more liberal bits of the C of E, etc. want it to go. Which I think is just why the GAFCON people are so paranoid. Then again the existing Instruments of Unity hardly seem to have grown in stature at all since *their* creation. If anything their outright impotence is all that I detect. Some argue that that impotence is a Good Thing, but I think it’s precisely… Read more »

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