Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, February 5th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 53 Comments
Apparently, standing still is the same as moving. “Conservative” Anglican primates seem to be delighted with how Alexandria turned out:
High marks have been awarded to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and the 2009 primates’ meeting by conservative archbishops, who report that consensus was reached following four days of intense talks in Alexandria, Egypt.
“Archbishop Peter Akinola is pleased, I’m pleased, Henry [Orombi] is pleased” with the outcome of the meeting, the Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, the Most Rev. Gregory Venables, told The Living Church.
“Something like the freshness of the Holy Spirit” descended upon the meeting, Bishop Venables explained. There was “something different here, something special,” he said. “Without a doubt there was a lot of anger and tension,” he added, but the “orthodox had a calmness and peace” that Bishop Venables attributed to divine intervention.
Why? Because conservatives got exactly the same thing that they got the last two times the primates met? Because Dr. Williams, mirabile dictu, suggested talking? Because all the primates did was to throw that solid metal ball down the road again?
The closing communiqué recognized the “mistrust” within the Communion, reaffirmed Lambeth 1.10 as the agreed statement on human sexuality, continued the moratorium on rites for the blessing of same-sex unions and the consecration of same-sex bishops. It also affirmed the call for a halt to cross-province violations. The meeting agreed that the members of the breakaway groups in the United States and Canada are Anglicans, but did not define their status.
Both primates agreed that a legislative or legal solution would not resolve the splits as two different faiths were in contention. “A liberal expression of Christianity is not Christianity [as we know it],” Bishop Venables said. Addressing this gap needs to take place before structural or legislative solutions are imposed on the church.
Have conservative Anglicans been played? It sure feels like it.
The question of recognizing a parallel province in North America was premature, both primates said, because the underlying theological differences had not been addressed.
“Being an Anglican without knowing Jesus” conferred membership “in a club” and not in the true church, Archbishop Orombi said. Before a vote on a third province is taken, he said, “we have to see what happens to the Communion.”
Archbishop Orombi said he hoped that a theological council would be called by Archbishop Williams that could devote the time and expertise to engage in these issues.
“My proposal is, let’s have two sets of theologians and debate these things,” he said. “Primates don’t have the time,” and the primates’ meetings are not the proper venue for these issues.
Nevertheless, orthodox Anglicans should hang in there for…some reason.
The two primates urged traditionalists in the United States to take heart from the agreement and both pledged the support of their provinces until a “safe place” had been established for them. Archbishop Orombi urged traditionalists to make their case to Archbishop Williams, as to why they needed a province. Traditionalists must “hold together, remain together” and persevere in their fight, “for we are standing with you,” he said.
Orombi hopes two groups of theologians will sit down and talk this out? Orombi doesn’t know if more theological babbling is definitely on the agenda?
And how long do these theologians keep talking? Until the next primates meeting in two years? No, can’t be that since that’s not the “proper venue” to decide this sort of thing.
What about the 2018 Lambeth Conference? Well, nothing was decided at the last one so whoever is the Archbishop of Canterbury then will no doubt see to it that nothing much is decided in 2018 either except that we all need to keep babbling some more.
Let’s be blunt here. Dr. Williams and rest of the Anglican Communion leadership have no interest in EVER solving this problem. All this yammering will never end until one thing is achieved. People like me get fed up and go away.
As for a parallel province, I’ve got four words for you. Cold day in hell. The Windsor Continuation Group
basically came out and admitted that ACNA will not be recognized in the lifetime of anyone reading this:
The WCG therefore recommends that the Archbishop of Canterbury, in consultation with the Primates, establish at the earliest opportunity a professionally mediated conversation at which all the significant parties could be gathered. The aim would be to find a provisional holding arrangement which will enable dialogue to take place and which will be revisited on the conclusion of the Covenant Process, or the achievement of long term reconciliation in the Communion. Such a conversation would have to proceed on the basis of a number of principles:
* There must be an ordered approach to the new proposal within, or part of a natural development of, current rules.
* It is not for individual groups to claim the terms on which they will relate to the Communion.
* The leadership of the Communion needs to stand together, and find an approach to which they are all committed.
* Any scheme developed would rely on an undertaking from the present partners to ACNA that they would not seek to recruit and expand their membership by means of proselytisation. WCG believes that the advent of schemes such as the Communion Partners Fellowship and the Episcopal Visitors scheme instituted by the Presiding Bishop in the United States should be sufficient to provide for the care of those alienated within the Episcopal Church from recent developments.
The Primates know what the problem is. And they’ve had over five years to actually move in the direction of beginning to do something about it. But window-dressing aside, Anglicans are in exactly the same place they were when Robbie got his pointy hat.
If the primates haven’t gotten anywhere near an actual action yet, they never will. If the generals don’t want to fight, there is no reason for the rank-and-file to continue to waste their time.