Updated Tuesday morning
George Conger Religious Intelligence Bishop of Rochester’s surprise resignation
…Details of Bishop Nazir Ali’s new work have not been finalized, the diocese noted, leading to speculation that the 59 year old bishop might be preparing for another role in the Anglican Communion in light of his high profile stance within the conservative wing of the church.
However, the General Secretary of the Church of Pakistan, Humphrey Peters tells The Church of England Newspaper the news of the resignation came as a surprise. “So far we have no idea nor have we heard anything from Bishop Michael Nazir Ali. But, in case he feels like working for Church in Pakistan in these most critical times, the Church will be more than happy to welcome him.”
A spokesman for the Gafcon movement, stated while its leaders were generally aware of Dr. Nazir Ali’s wish to move on, they had no specific knowledge about his Saturday announcement.
Speculation that Dr. Nazir Ali might take a leadership role in the third province movement in the US was downplayed by its leaders, who noted that there was no shortage of bishops in the breakaway group. Dr. Nazir Ali had sought out posts in the US in the past, and in 2004 explored becoming dean of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, however US sources expect the conservative leader to lend his considerable talents to the church in the developing world…
Andrew Brown Comment is free Belief What next for the Bishop of Rochester?
…His position within the diocese of Rochester had become a difficult one. A lot of his clergy were unhappy with his decision last year to boycott the Lambeth Conference, which was meant to be a gathering demonstrating the unity of the Communion’s 800 bishops around the world. In the event, something like 230 stayed away but the only English heavyweight to do so was Nazir Ali.
Signing up for a declaration that describes the Archbishop of Canterbury as an apostate for his tolerance of liberal views on homosexuality was not a way to endear himself to his colleagues, who already regarded him as vain and ambitious. But he is also consistent about his beliefs and prepared to act on them and suffer for them. As a young man in Pakistan, the son of a convert from Islam, he became the youngest Anglican bishop in the world, in a back-country diocese from which he had to be rescued, after local fundamentalists threatened to kill him and his family.
That kind of experience shaped his view of Islam in general and Pakistani peasant Islam in particular. It lay behind his claim last year that there were already “no go” areas in British cities, although he never specified where they were. It also shaped his curiously fierce monotheistic criticism of the religion. The last time we had a serious conversation, he wanted to talk about how Sufistic Islam was corrupted by its veneration of saints. He has also been unfashionably fierce in his view of Roman Catholicism as a corruption of pure Christian virtue.
I will miss him because he was one of the few principled conservative intellectuals in the House of Bishops; while I thought he was wrong about almost everything, he spoke from a lot of knowledge and a real sense of tradition…
Tuesday morning update
Jonathan Wynne-Jones disagrees with George Pitcher’s earlier comments, at the Telegraph Liberals too hasty in claiming victory at Bishop Nazir-Ali’s resignation
Charles Raven, who is already outside the Church of England, has strong criticism of GP, see Bishop Michael Nazir Ali – ‘Enough is Enough’
Bishop Pierre Whalon had this to say, On Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali’s resignation.