Thursday, March 22, 2007

a great piece from father ephraim radner

Read it all here.

He seems to think its Game Over for the orthodox in ECUSA. He has been one of the most coherent and conciliatory voices among the orthodox -- definitely not a hot head. That he thinks its over says much about the gravity of the situation in light of the House of Bishops' rejection of the Primates' requests.

So what now? In my view, the Communion MUST establish the Pastoral Council / Primatial Vicar, now clearly without the help or input of the ECUSA hierarchy. If the councils of the Communion do nothing, then Anglicanism in American will be lost... for years or decades, if not forever. The orthodox will continue to bleed off into a myriad independent and incoherent jurisdictions, or will simply move away from Anglicanism altogether, to Roman Catholicism, Orthodoxy, etc. Moreover, if ECUSA is allowed to get away with their intractable arrogance, then Anglicanism will be betrayed as an incoherent theological joke -- one in which a thousand mutually exclusive doctrines are held and taught in the name of plurality.

The ONLY way forward, I believe, is for the Primates and the ABC to act NOW (by which I mean something like "by the end of this year") 1) to allow ECUSA to go its on way, apart from the Communion, and 2) to provide a coherent place / primatial jurisdiction for the orthodox who wish to remain in communion with Canterbury and the rest. Lastly (and this will be the most difficult and unlikely): the American orthodox -- Network dioceses, CANA, AMiA, etc. -- must band together and agree to abide by the Primates and the ABC's decisions.

There are a lot of if's and unknowns here. But they must be sorted out very quickly, in my view, or American Anglicanism will be lost.

PS: Now is the time for action by the orthodox BISHOPS in ECUSA. Its time for them to stand up and start acting like orthodox bishops. Its time for them to act concertedly, coherently, unitedly, and humbly -- as the shepherds God has called them to be, and to whom He has given His Holy Spirit for that purpose. The orthodox bishops must come together and show bold leadership. If they do, their priests and laity will follow them. If they don't, all will almost certainly be lost.


KGL+ said...

I am in full agreement with this post. For the past year, I have suspected that the Anglican experiment has failed- but I haven't been sure. I resigned my position on a diocesan staff, stepped out of full time ministry in ECUSA, and have prayed, waited, prayed, and waited. I now have great clarity about ECUSA and will have clarity about Anglicanism (either way) by the end of this year.
I am not a protestant and cannot be a part of a "denomination" that is not faithfully working for reunification, "that we all may be one." Nor am I willing to stay an Episcopalian- or an Anglican- if they reject the Catholic Tradition, teaching, and authority. So... time for a bit more praying and waiting and we'll see.
-Ken +

father thorpus said...

Ken+, let us know what you find. I'm not aware of too many other Western churches/denominations who claim full catholicity and are working toward reunification on that basis. Rome counts, of course, but there's baggage there. The Orthodox are just so dang Eastern. Other than Anglicanism in communion with Canterbury, I don't see anywhere else to go.

your comment points out the real stake that we all have in this crisis: our church's catholicism, and hence also our own souls' health, is at stake. Too rich for my blood, but we've got no choice.

father thorpus said...

From Fr. Radner's piece:

In general, the Communion should simply allow TEC to go its own way for the present, and withdraw indefinitely its invitations to participate in general councils, such as Lambeth, the ACC, and the Primates’ Meeting.

This could be done, and could HAVE BEEN done, at any time since Bp. Robinson's election, by an ABC with backbone. WWLD - What would Laud do? We could also ask, what would the Communion look like today if Akinola had been made ABC instead of Williams? Divided? Probably - but it appears there was no way to avoid that. At least we would have had integrity.

The great tragedy of this entire crisis, to my mind, is ++ Rowan Williams. Because of his inaction, because he is personally sold out to TEC's perspective, he has consistantly refused to do all that he could have done to deal with the crises decisively, quickly, and in the most catholic way possible. Instead, he's hemmed and hawed, played the field, stepped aside while the real vigor of leadership in the Communion - the primates - usurped the power that ought to be his (and now wants to enshrine that in the Covenant). Although there's much to respect about ++ Williams and the way he's filled the office, I fear that, in the end, he will not be one who traded his 'talent' and gained profit, but rather one who simply let it lie buried, while others did the hard work of leadership. Will his defense at the end be, "I tried not to get in the way." ? Will this merit a "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." ? I'm glad that's not my call.