Friday, May 04, 2007

cana and the acn

Is it just me, or is CANA seemingly overtaking the Anglican Communion Network as the entity best positioned to replace ECUSA as the repository of orthodox North American Anglicanism? I haven't heard much news about the Network in quite some time, but I have of course heard more and more about CANA. Also: +Minns' rhetoric seems to indicate that he is moulding CANA into a provincial shape (with himself as its primate, I would venture to guess). I mean things like this from the LA Times (read it all here):

Minns said the convocation, which he said included about 30 parishes and 50 clergy members, was the result of a "broken relationship" between the Episcopal Church and the rest of the Anglican Communion. He said he planned to work closely with other groups of breakaway Episcopalians to try to bring them together.

"We are what the church used to be," Minns said. "Our desire is not to interfere with what [the Episcopal Church is] doing. We simply don't agree with it."

The message seems to be that ECUSA has become irrelevant with respect to the Communion. I tend to agree... but what's interesting is +Minns' implication that CANA is taking over.

What does this mean? It means, I think, that +Duncan is being sidelined as a potential primate. The tone of the rhetoric seems to indicate not only that realignment is definitely in the pipes, that it will happen sooner rather than later, but most significant with regard to my point here: that the "inside strategy" suggested by such things as Windsor, Camp Allen, the DeS Communique, +Stanton, the ACI, inter alia, has lost out to the more bellicose and evangelical.

What do I think about this? On some level, I'm glad something is finally happening. All the talk was indeed frustrating. On the other hand, I've made no secret of my agreeement with the "inside strategy." I'm sorry to see that it seems to have been sidelined, and that its probably now a lost cause. I also worry that the fact that CANA is the brainchild of Nigerian Anglicanism, that unpleasant things like the 39 Articles and other exclusivist, evangelical, confessional standards will be enshrined as the benchmarks of the new North American orthodoxy. I also wonder where this leaves the FIFNA folks? Will they sign on with CANA, or will they form some other thing? I can't say what I think would be better. Probably joining CANA (and insisting on Tract 90 type interpretations of the 39 Articles), as starting a new thing would mean further division.

Also note that those carrying the day (the more vociferously orthodox) do seem to have cast aside the DeS Communique, and that it IS dividing the Primates. Note that whereas ++Williams and ++Akinola were on the same page at Dar es Salaam, they no longer seem to be. These are the dangerous waters I spoke of in a post a few days ago.

Time will tell. But has anyone else sensed this shift (ACN ---> CANA) in recent weeks / months? Other thoughts?

UPDATE (May 5) -- From Fr Kendall Harmon's liveblogging of Bp Minns' sermon at his own installation: "CANA is God’s gift to orthodox Anglicans for those who cannto find a home in TEC as it is currently led." Funny, Bp Minns describes CANA in exactly the terms I would have applied to the proposals of the DeS Communique. Read Fr Kendall's liveblogging here.

UPDATE-PRIME (May 6) -- Then there is this quote from the NY Times, which gets at how the secular world perceives CANA's doings, whatever the nuanced truth may be: "The hope among leaders of the new diocese, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, is that it will eventually be recognized by the communion as its rightful representative in the United States, replacing an Episcopal Church they say has strayed from traditional Anglican teachings." Read the whole NY Times article here.


Jody+ said...

I think that most people on the orthodox side thought the DeS communique to be the last best hope for any inside solution in the Episcopal Church. The rejection of it, even in spirit (I know the argument from 815 has been that the mind of the house resolution isn't binding) spelled the death knell of a robust entity within ECUSA carrying the banner of the orthodox faith. I thought all along that the only hope for a strongly orthodox entity and not some laodocian body was the insistence of the Communique that the arraignments make room for CANA and AMiA, if not the continuing churches and REC.

I don't attempt to predict the future anymore, and I can't say what the future holds, but it seems pretty clear that it's going to be a bumpy ride, especially for those in Dioceses that are largely orthodox, but with institutionalist majorities or large minorities.

Dave Sims said...

This is exactly what worries me about CANA, AMiA, and the rasher voices at Stand Firm, T19 and the like -- that on the one hand you would have ++Williams and the Primates moving forward with the Windsor process, and on the other hand Akinola and Minns doing an end run. If Minns and CANA are positioning themselves as the de facto new Anglican Province for North America, my feeling is this will greatly hinder any possibility for meaningful orthodox Anglican unity. What we will have in CANA is Continuing Church #58, and another handful of bishops who pay lip service to catholicity but enjoy the feel of their mitres too much to actually unify into anything meaningful.

I'm beginning to suspect that the ACI and genuinely catholic voices like Dan Martins+ have been right all along in arguing that the Windsor process is the best hope for long-term Anglican unity. Anything else is just another splinter. What are the chances that Christ Church or St. Matthias would come into the fold of a Canterbury-sponsored Anglican province a year or two from now, when they've been arguing all along -- as Akinola did in his letter to KJS -- that "we're already as Anglican as we need to be."? How does AMiA play into this? Will Chuck Murphy and Martin Minns jockey for position or will they come in line with a post-TEC Anglican Province sponsored by Williams and the Primates?

Quite frankly this is starting to look like 1979 all over. Once parishes get a taste of independence, and bishops get a taste of power, they very rarely give it up.

Welcome to the New Continuum.

Adam said...

CANA, AMiA, etc are protestants, through and through, as is much of the Anglican Communion NOTwork. I don't see how Catholics can get together with Evangelicals, especially those who ordain women enthusiastically, and think they're part of an "orthodox" body. Completely absurd. I just don't understand. I've been saying this for 2 or 3 years now, but I still haven't gotten a good answer. AH!!!

I'd rather not say said...

I, too, have noticed the same phenomenon---the rise of CANA, the . . . well, I won't say 'decline', but 'increasing quietude' perhaps says what I mean best. However, there are several points to consider here.

1 - For all of its apparent evangelicalism, CANA has taken in Bishop Bena, whom I have the impression would not normally be classed as low church.

2 - CANA does not, so far as I know, "ordain" women, since it is a missionary work of the Nigerian church. On the other hand, it has taken in a vociferous supporter of WO, the Rev. Don Armstrong. This means that either Don Armstrong has had to surrendur his convictions, at least for the time being (and he is not the shy retiring type) or the movers and shakers in CANA are more open to this innovation than some suspect. Let's hope it's the former and not the latter.

3 - Personally, I have no big problem with the Articles, provided they are indeed given their proper, historic interpretation. Tract 90 didn't get it all right, but it was closer to the mark than many evangelicals realize.

4 - There are still several big shoes to drop. September 30 is getting closer and closer. A Primatial Vicar may yet be named. Rumors of entire dioceses leaving continue to fly. An Anglo-Catholic in CANA is surely no more anomalous than the Diocese of San Joaquin joining ++Venables and the Southern Cone.

So I say, give CANA a chance. I've heard the arguments of the ACI and Fr Dan Martins. I didn't think much of them before, and even less now. If CANA gives people like me and Fr WB space to believe and pray the catholic faith, that's a good sight more than TEC does.

Dave said...

IRNS -- if you don't think much of the ACI, then you must not think much of the Windsor process or the prospect of ++Williams' covenant, because that's all they've been arguing this entire time -- follow the Windsor trail and see what happens. If nothing else that's the best possibility for unity.

What I don't understand about your line of thinking, nor that of +Matt Kennedy and the SF crowd, is that you seem to hold to opposing principles as if there were nothing amiss -- that the emergence of CANA and AMiA were somehow part and parcel of the Windsor process, which it very clearly is not.

The other issue that gets very little play, to my mind, is the fact that, aside from the recent union of the REC and APA, the history of Anglican splinter groups is dismal. Again I ask -- even if, at this point, the ++ABC and the Primates come up with a real primatial vicar, and later a real, new official province in North America with all the Anglican bona fides, what could possibly compel a parish like Christ Church to join up? Why shouldn't this end up just like all the other Anglican splinter groups have in the last 30 years? More archbishops, less unity, less catholicity.

Again, the only thing the ACI and folks like Fr. Martins have advocated is patience with the Windsor process. It seems to me a lot of folk have sworn allegiance to Windsor when it seemed to suit the conservative cause, but when it comes down to it, they have no more loyalty to it than the progressives do.

I'd rather not say said...

IRNS -- if you don't think much of the ACI, then you must not think much of the Windsor process or the prospect of ++Williams' covenant

Correct, I don't, and I never have.

I'm not in favor of splinters. However, I think that the direction of primates such as Akinola or Venables is probably the best hope for avoiding that, not forming new "continuing churches." My impression is that such primates are not, in fact, interested in empire building in the long run, and would be perfectly happy with a local church created with their help that eventually runs on its own.

But I could be wrong . . .

William Tighe said...

IRNS (and others),

I have read in various venues, and heard from trustworthy sources, that Martin Mynns is a strong supporter of the "ordination" of women. I read somewhere on the internet, about a month ago -- but I have not seen it repeated -- that CANA (or at least Mynns himself) will have the "discretion" to ordain women, despite the fact that the Church of Nigeria does not "ordain" women to the "diaconate," let alone to the presbyterate and episcopate. But, then, Abp. Akinola's statements about WO, rare as they have been, should provide little comfort for those whose Anglicanism swings Catholic, since they have always been along the lines of "we see no need for it in our situation ... we have not considered the issue theologically .. if we decide to do it, we will not let the opposition of other churches deter us" -- and so forth. It's the same line that has been spouted by the two successors of Moses Tay as Primate of the SW Asia Anglican church province, and does not argue well for the stability in their current position of those largely Evangelical Anglican churches.

father thorpus said...

An interruption in catholicity through communion with Canterbury constitutes a rejection thereof. Once catholic unity is tossed, no splinter that I'm aware of from the Patristc age on ever has seen fit to pick it up again. Independence from authority fits our tastes much better than the unity and obedience that characterize both the Catholic system and, to my mind, authentic Christianity. It's like breaking your marriage vows - once you've trod upon the idea of a binding vow, it's simpler just to keep treading on it again and again, rather than to do the hard work of reconciliation and submission to the proper authorities.

Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. An anti-catholic independence is sneaky and sly and "quicker, easier, more seductive" - unity is hard work, but work we're commanded to do.

Comprehensiveness can go hang - it's always bothered me that Anglicans tend toward accepting catholicism as a matter of pragmatism (see Akinola quoted above) or tradition, but not because it's a divine miracle. A more human church is easier to disobey, and in America we love our 'freedom'.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Tighe is quite right about Archbishop Akinola giving CANA permission to "ordain" women.

What I'd like to know is: (1) Do the canons of the Church of Nigeria permit this? and (2) Is this still just a theoretical matter, or are there priestesses currently serving in CANA?

In related news, the AMiA has apparently created a new parent stucture to receive congregations with a preference for WO, thus enabling the practice without technically reversing their policy of not doing so. How very Episcopalian of them!

William Tighe said...

If Fr. Thorpus has written "Rome" or "Constantinople" or "Alexandria" or "Antioch" or "Jerusalem" in his post, then he would have a point -- but "Canterbury" has no more claim to be a necessary linkage to "Catholicity" for Anglicans than does "Armagh" or "Abuja;" and in the larger scheme of things, no more claim since 1533 than the Swedish archiepiscopal see of Uppsala has had since 1531. One of the delightful ironies in the current mess is the prospect that of the Anglican Communion should split up and TEC find itself on the outside, no longer in communion with Canterbury, then if TEC decides to put together a neo-Anglican liberal countercommunion, it may well attract into its communion the Union of Utrecht Old Catholic churches of Europe who have "outstripped even the Anglicans in their iniquity" by formally adopting, over the last decade, SS as well as WO; see:

for the details, although the piece is nearly a decade out of date by now. The present OC archbishop of Utrecht was an honored guest at last year's GenCon and was the principal celebrant of one of the daily eucharists. Abp. Vercammen is an ex-RC priest who joined the OCs precisely due to their adoption of "the liberal agenda" and so he would be in every respect a more fitting head of TECianity International, Inc., than the AbC, who does retain certain aspects of his one time orthodox Anglo-Catholic beliefs.

William Tighe said...


Thank you for this. I, too, would be interested to learn whether there are presently priestesses serving in CANA.

But I would make some slight correction to one of your statements. It was not the AMiA that created a parallel structure (a better description than "parent structure") to allow priestesses to serve congregations that want them, but rather Abp. Kolini of Rwanda, the link of the AMiA to the rest of the Anglican Communion. As you will be aware, some two years ago the AMiA promulgated, to the dismay of not a few, a moratorium on the ordination of women as priests that was worded in such a way as to suggest that this "moratorium" was really a repudiation of their previous support for this novel practice (certainly, their "grand old man" John Rodgers had repudiated his own earlier support for it); and there is growing support in the AMiA (adsit omen) for doing the same wrt the diaconate. Abp. Kolini is a STRONG supporter of WO, ans a sI understand it was at his behest and with his support that the parallel structure was set up about a year ago.

I'd rather not say said...

I suppose we ought to let CANA speak for itself: the following is from the FAQs on their recently updated website,

Q13. Does CANA welcome Anglo-Catholics?

At least one of CANA’s priests and congregations is an active member of the Fellowship of Concerned Churchmen: Our Saviour in Oatlands, Virginia. Bishop Minns also has a good working relationship with Forward in Faith bishops, as well as with leaders in the Reformed Episcopal Church. Yet the spectrum of CANA priests and congregations is diverse. There are many who identify with the Anglo-Catholic stream, and then there are those who are more low-church and protestant. We trust that faithfulness to the Word and Christ our Lord will continue to unite us for the glory of God and the building up of the Body.

Q16. What is CANA’s position on women’s ordination?

CANA recognizes that there are differing theological positions in the Anglican Communion about women in ordained ministry. CANA acknowledges the integrity of those who understand Holy Scripture to permit the ordination of women to the priesthood and those who believe the Scripture prohibits women’s ordination. Because of the differing positions, CANA policies regarding the ordination of women will be developed from a biblical and pastoral perspective. This is a matter that is being actively pursued by the CANA clergy and lay leadership.

So a mixed bag, it would seem . . .

Dave said...

IRNS: So I say, give CANA a chance.

A chance for what? To wreck the Windsor process and any hope of a meaningful Anglican future in North America? Anyone who thinks CANA is going to have any more momentum than the REC, APCTK, etc., once the dust settles, is kidding themselves. CANA may be viable in the short term, but it will not be Anglicanism. It will have reduced ++Canterbury to marginal status at best, and once ++Akinola loses the visibility and "bully pulpit" he enjoys now because of the current crisis, how appealing will a "Nigerian" Communion be to Americans in the long-term? I predict not very, and at that point the REC/APA looks much more legitimate and historically rooted than CANA. The whole appeal of CANA has been its connection to Canterbury, and yet by its own actions it is undermining the significance of that very thing. Akinola has as much as said Canterbury is irrelevant to the Gospel.

So, I ask, why give CANA a chance? I'd much rather throw my support behind something like the REC, who is much more stable, which has a longer historic rootedness in the States, has State-side leadership, and apparently takes Canterbury and its Anglican identity more seriously than CANA does.

What CANA is doing is undermining the will of the primates to discipline TEC after Sept. 30th, and putting ++Williams in an impossible situation. If CANA's actions undermine the Primates' and ++Canterbury's will to discipline TEC, CANA will have also made itself completely irrelevant. And if ++Canterbury doesn't discipline TEC, then Nigeria, Uganda and the rest of CAPA will probably leave the Communion anyway, and at that point the whole excercise will have been one big farce. CANA will at that point become continuing church #58, competing with REC and APA and all the rest.

Again, welcome to the New Continuum.

I'd rather not say said...


I'd much rather throw my support behind something like the REC, who . . . . apparently takes Canterbury and its Anglican identity more seriously than CANA does.


Mind you, I'm not in the business of defending CANA. I'm just lookin' around, and while I don't like everything I see, I also don't find CANA so awful. That it may be jurisdiction #58 is not a good thing; but come September 30, I expect that either it will be followed by jurisdiction #s 59, 60, etc., or those still in TEC will have simply signed their own death warrants, at least institutionally.

I certainly see no hope in the "Windsor process," since I am really not sure just what that is at the moment, and I doubt anyone else is, either. It is a phrase which has come to mean pretty much whatever one wants. The closest thing that I can see it meaning is "wait for Canterbury and the Primates collectively." Well, we did. The HoB of TEC signalled their response. Further, the fact that the ACI (self-appointed godfathers of the "Windsor Process", etc.) think that the recent statement from the Canadian bishops is actually a step in the right direction makes it clear (to me) that no help or wisdom is to be found from those quarters.

Dave said...

IRNS: My question for CANA supporters is this: why does CANA tout its connection to Canterbury when its very existence undermines the signifigance of Canterbury?

If Akinola truly believes "you don't have to go through Canterbury to get to Heaven," (a statement which no Christian would disagree with, and which also completely obscures the actual ecclesial questions at hand) and his ostensible goal is to provide "faithful episcopal care," then what does he have to recommend himself over ++Grundorff or ++Riches?

All I'm asking is that we be clear, consistent and forthcoming with the real issues. ++Akinola cannot remain credible marketing CANA as an orthodox path to Canterbury while at the same time undermining everything Canterbury stands for.

Dave said...

Well, "everything Canterbury stands for" is too sweeping, but you get the point. What I meant to imply was "the ecclesial signifigance and historic apostolic office of Canterbury."

Dave said...

IRNS said: The closest thing that I can see it meaning is "wait for Canterbury and the Primates collectively." Well, we did.

No, you didn't. Sept 30 was the deadline we all rejoiced in a couple of months ago, and it's still the deadline, no matter what the HOB has said (never mind the fact that the HOB answered a question that it wasn't asked, and hasn't answered the question that is was asked.)

father wb said...


As I've said, I have supported the "inside strategy" a la the ACI. This whole crisis began because TEC refused to submit to the mind of the Communion. It looks to me like its being exacerbated by the orthodox in North America who are all too willing to ignore the mind of the Communion (as expressed by the Windsor Process, DeS, etc.) because its not fast enough for their tastes, or because they see an opportunity in the chaos to establish themselves as prelates, or otherwise extend their authority / agenda in the American Anglican scheme. This DOES look distressingly like the history of the continuum. There's a good deal of "purple fever" -- and maybe not a little primatial fever going around: bishops and influential / powerful priests jockeying for position. Its gross and dangerous.

Another interesting point is with regard to the rumors aired by Fr Dan Martins last week. That seemed to have nothing to do either with AMiA or CANA. I would wager it has to do with Venables. If so, this will raise the number of North American jurisidictions in communion with Canterbury (for the moment) to four: TEC, AMiA, CANA, and this new, yet-to-be-announced whatever-it-is. And yet this will leave out Communion-minded Network and Windsor dioceses which, when push comes to shove, will probably go with the Communion, but which are not chomping at the bit as much as CANA et al. I'm thinking of such dioceses as Dallas, Albany, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, and others. Where will they go? Into CANA (doubt it), AMiA (doubt it), the New-Thing (who knows?), or will they start a FIFTH jurisdiction (seems likeliest). This is turning into a disaster and a scandal -- on top of the disaster-scandal that is TEC.

Dave said...

Far be it from me to question Dr. Tighe on anything related to church history, but Canterbury seems to me to carry much more significance than Abuja or Armagh. How does 1531 compare to 597? If nothing else it's a simple matter of the older see carrying more weight. Of course Canterbury is not in the same category as Constantinople, but it's nearly millenium closer to it than Uppsala.

And beyond that, the symbolic and politically unifying effect of Canterbury cannot be ignored. Whatever your abstract definition of "catholicity," catholic-minded Anglicans are much, much more likely to rally around the ++ABC than ++Abuja, all things being equal. From a simple pragmatic standpoint alone that gives Canterbury more unifying power and therefore more catholic significance in the context of the present crisis.

I'd rather not say said...

This is turning into a disaster and a scandal -- on top of the disaster-scandal that is TEC.

Correct. But it is also, to some degree, inevitable. Therefore, how do we align ourselves and work for unity? On what grounds or principles? Those are the important questions, and I don't think the "Windsor process" answers them anymore, if it ever did.

I must respectfully differ with Dave. The HoB, for all realistic intents and purposes, has signalled its position, and there has been nothing---not one thing---since its last meeting to indicate that it will do anything different before September 30. If anything, the words that have come out of the movers and shakers in the HoB--Bruno, Chane, Lee and co., not to mention the Presiding "Bishop"---have demonstrated just how dug in the majority is. I agree that September 30 is an important formality, but that is what is has been reduced to. It is not too soon to be considering what to do and where to go, and if CANA wants to put in a bid for my interest, fine.

It is indeed sad that this thread has the appearance of a quarrel. I don't wish to quarrel with cyber-friends. It is, in fact, a measure of how confused and desperate the times are that we are discussing this at all. Certainly to that extent the CANA phenomenon is regrettable---but I still maintain that something like it was inevitable.

father wb said...


"It is indeed sad that this thread has the appearance of a quarrel."

Perhaps. It doesn't seem overly quarelesome to me. At least compared with many threads out there these days. I love yall. I even agree with most of what all of you said -- even Dr. Tighe, with whom I'm not in Communion. There is an awful lot of common ground among the commenters on this thread. Let's remind ourselves of that.

Substantively, IRNS, I'm not sure I agree that this was all inevitable, as you say. I will grant, however, that CANA is now a fact, and it is becoming more and more of a fact even as I write this (with Minns' ongoing installation in VA). But there was nothing to stop everyone from following the course of action advocated most clearly by ACI.

But I agree that winds have shifted, and if unity among the North American orthodox will be achieved, it will almost certainly have to be a post hoc unification. Perh. all the orthodox (and semi-orthodox) jurisdictions will get together and elect a primate. That seems sadly unlikely, but I continue to hope for it. I really, really hope that they can manage to achieve a single coherent provincial structure to replace TEC.

This all seems endemically American. As Fr Thorpus said, we Americans do love our "freedom" (=autonomy). Again: that's how we got into this mess. And the recent HoB letter was chock-full of ecclesial libertinism masquerading as anti-colonialism. Its just that the American orhtodox are all too susceptible ot the same disease. Argh.

Dave said...

It is indeed sad that this thread has the appearance of a quarrel. I don't wish to quarrel with cyber-friends. It is, in fact, a measure of how confused and desperate the times are that we are discussing this at all. Certainly to that extent the CANA phenomenon is regrettable---but I still maintain that something like it was inevitable.

If it's a quarrel, it's one with no animosity. Consider it a polemic. But I think it's one that needs to happen, because the future of Anglicanism is at stake. With the current developments moving as they are, there is a disturbingly high probability that ++Williams will find himself in the next 18 months having executed a "voluntary exclusion" of TEC, while the Windsor process and the Covenant -- and with them the significance of his own office -- dwindle into irrelevance. He will have done virtually everything the Primates asked of him, only to watch those very primates develop parallel ecclesiastical structures that effectively marginalize him.

The history of Anglican splinter groups, and as Fr. Thorpus points out, the history of the Church in general teaches us that any hope for the future of Anglicanism lies with Canterbury, not CANA or any splinter group, and the only path to Canterbury from where we are is the Windsor process. Too many rash voices seem to be betting the farm that Nigeria and CANA can buck history and rejuvenate Anglicanism in North America. Color me deeply skeptical.

Again I ask -- is it not profoundly duplicitous for CANA to tout itself as an orthodox path to Canterbury, while it clearly doesn't give two figs for the catholicity (however truncated in Dr. Tighe's view) that Canterbury represents?

I'd rather not say said...

Again I ask -- is it not profoundly duplicitous for CANA to tout itself as an orthodox path to Canterbury, while it clearly doesn't give two figs for the catholicity (however truncated in Dr. Tighe's view) that Canterbury represents?

Well, maybe not profoundly . . .

Seriously, it seems to me that, re: Canterbury, CANA and Nigeria are doing what the heterodox in TEC did for a long time---acting unilaterally and creating "facts on the ground," then telling everyone else to accept it. One of the reasons that TEC (in the person of Schori and her blogger flaks) is howling so loudly is that it is getting a taste of its own medecine, and it has found out just how awful that is.

What this does it not create an impossible situation for the ABC---it creates a situation where he has to choose, something he clearly does not want to do. Whether or not CANA was inevitable, making that choice was inevitable. All that CANA has done is to create different "facts on the ground" and thereby up the pressure on ++Williams to make the right choice.

Again, I'm not endorsing CANA, and it may be that this "outside" strategy will backfire. But the "inside" strategy of the ACI has failed.

BTW, it is worth reading Kendall Harmon's "liveblog" on the CANA event on either Stand Firm of T19. It inspires mixed feelings in me, but these days, mixed is better than almost anything else.

Dave said...

I was reading Kendall's live blogging, and I agree to some extent that had not CANA intervened in places like Virginia, perhaps a good number of parishes and parishioners would have been lost.

But -- and I hate to keep harping on this -- the appeal of CANA, over any of the existing Alternatative Primatial Structures (read: the continuum) has always been its connection to Canterbury. But it seems increasingly like CANA's connection to Canterbury will be on its own terms, or perhaps not at all.

At this point, the fact on the ground seem to be this: you can get to Canterbury through Windsor, or through this awkward and tenuous relationship with Nigeria or Uganda. The only difference between the two is that one has the legitimacy of primatial endorsement, but will take anywhere from 6 to 24 months longer to materialize, and the other is a quick-fix novelty with poor prospects for the future, if history is any guide. I don't really have a dog in this hunt -- yet -- and I'm sure the intentions of CANA and Minns seem right and good to them at this time. But if there is any hope of real Anglican catholicity in this day and age, CANA doesn't look to me like a good prospect. It's too novel, too awkward, too ad hoc. I'll be delighted and thrilled two years or so from now to be proved absolutely wrong, and I'll happily down that plate of crow if it comes to it. I hope I have to.

Dave said...

One of the reasons that TEC (in the person of Schori and her blogger flaks) is howling so loudly is that it is getting a taste of its own medecine, and it has found out just how awful that is.

My own feeling is that KJS and Beers and company are loving every minute of this, because it's more likely to pull any possible primatial swing votes their way when it comes to to respond to the Sept. 30 deadline. The primates did ask CANA and AMiA to cease and desist, remember.

Kendall says KJS "protests much," but I suspect it's just as likely that she's leaving a very calculated public trail of exaggerated anger and frustruation with CANA that she can bring to bear on ++Williams and the primates. Watch for Minns' consecration to be Exhibit A in TEC's defense to the primates after Sept. 30.

Anonymous said...

There are those of us who have prayerfully considered WO and have come to terms with it but who also abhor what TEC has become. Not all to the right of middle are anglo catholics -- some of us are protestant. Some of us are ordained persons whose ministries were discerned and blessed by godly bishops (such as Stephen Jecko). Where would you have us go? Do you have no place for us unless we renounce WO? Thankfully, that is not the mind of all -- if it is your mind -- where do be belong?

I'd rather not say said...

Do you have no place for us unless we renounce WO?

Well, not in any church that claims to be catholic, no.

I'm speaking for myself, of course.

father wb said...

Anonymous and IRNS --

"Do you have no place for us unless we renounce WO?"

Well, let's not be hasty. Its true that we must renounce WO -- because we are called to bend the knee of the heart, and submit to the teachings of the Bible as they are expounded by the Universal Church.

But with regard to Anonymous' question: it depends on what you mean by "us". There is no place in the cathoic priesthood for women, because the catholic Church teaches that Holy Orders are only for men. However, that doesn't mean that there is no place for women in the ministry of the Church. This may seem obvious, but I think its a fact taht has been neglected, and its neglect contributed to the WO innovation within ECUSA. We went along acting like the only ministry within the Church (or the only worthwhile ministry) was that of priests. Horse hockey.

I think the order of deaconesses should be revived. Let us be clear (along with the Council of Nicea) that this is a lay order, distinct from the order of the diaconate. But the ministry of deaconesses is a catholic ministry, and it could be very helpful in this day and age. Let women share in pastoral work; let them preach; let them catechize. Pay them for their work. Let them wear collars. But let the ministry of the sacraments be reserved to men, as it always has been.

I think catholic-minded Anglican women who feel a call to full-time ministry, should go to their bishops and tell them: "I don't believe in women's ordination. It is an anti-catholic, schismatic innovation. Make me a deaconess." What a fantastic witness that would be to semi-orthodox bishops - to have intelligent, capable women demanding this!

Hope springs eternal.

Anonymous said...

What about anglicans (it is not only women who support WO) who consider themselves "catholic" in the sense that we are one body but are evangelical and protestant?

father wb said...


I would suggest: saying it doesn't make it so.

The Lord was clear that the unity he gives he gives through those who believe in him through the teaching of the Apostles. And who says? Well, Paul says in 1 Timothy that the Church is herself the pillar and foundation of truth. And since the government of the Church was given to the Apostles, and since they handed on this ministry to their successors, and so on and so on, in the episcopate, from their day to ours, we have to look to the duly ordained bishops (all of them, living and dead) to divide the wheat of Apostolic doctrine from the chaff of schismatic / heretical innovation. In the case of WO, this determination is really a no-brainer. Once you give up deciding for yourself and submit to that which has always and everywhere been taught, the truth is clear. (I don't mean "you" personally, but "one". Maybe "you" personally are seeking to do this. I hope so. If you do, I think the truth will become clear to you (personally). Because its clear objectively.)

Anonymous said...

Always and everywhere been taught where? Always and everwhere taught now -- where? I know this has always been the teaching in the ancient branches of the church -- but it has not always and everywhere been taught in all branches of the protestant world. The Anglican church is not a "catholic" church in the definition you give to catholic. Some pockets are -- many are not. In that reality -- we all must ask the same question -- where do we belong in all of this? Are we the excluders -- or the excluded according the the "no brainer" senario you present. I personally have a brain -- a devoted love for the Lord Jesus -- a heart for evangelism -- and a different conclusion than yours.

Anonymous said...

I know this has always been the teaching in the ancient branches of the church

Just to be clear, then: you consider yourself more competent than the earliest apostles to determine the will of Christ for his Church?

father wb said...

Anonymous -

I don't mean to question whether you're intelligent, or love the Lord, or have a heart for the Gospel. I just mean to say that once you decide that there is a coherence and integrity to the Apostolic teaching, down through history, that things become much easier. You don't have to worry about figuring this stuff out. You just ask: What has the Church always taught?

For my part, and with respect to the Protestant innovations embraced by portions of the Anglican Communion, I would say this: I would rather be out of doctrinal communion with them and in doctrinal communion with Aquinas, and Hildegard, and Gregory the Great, and Gregory Naz., and Basil, etc. etc. etc. Not to mention the overwhelming majority of Christians alive today, East and West. The Tradition of the Universal Church, as Chesterton said, is a democracy of the dead.

Anonymous said...

Yes my friend I am competent -- and father wb -- if you must consider yourself out of communion with someone like me -- then your communion is not so large. Thank God I don't consider myself out of communion with you -- I do consider myself out fo communcion with most in TEC. Have a joyful and blessed Lord's Day!

father thorpus said...

Dr. Tighe,

Dave is right. The signigicance of Canterbury is its historic connection to Rome, as the mission of St. Augustine. And the significance of Rome is that it stands among Antioch, Constantiople, Alexandria, and Jerusalem.

One thing that bears consideration at this time, though its pragmatic usefulness is rapidly slipping away, is the Pastoral Scheme of Dar es Salaam. It's a window into the way that world-wide Anglicanism views our 'continuum.' The Primatial Vicar (in the Primates' plan, not PB Schori's) should have been a way to unify all (58, is it?) splinters under one ecclesiastical leadership with a clear connection to Canterbury. To the Primates, then, all our splinters and all their interventions are temporary anomalies that suffer, more or less, from a lack of connection or a distant connection to Canterbury. They aren't meant to stand alone, for the most part. Splinters like the REC, of course, have been standing alone for some time. Regardless, this disease of splintering does not fit the Anglican system, in their minds. The only acceptable pattern is the direct recognition by and responsibility to Canterbury that have always characterized legitimate Anglican leadership.

So my prediction is: look for these splinters to be gathered up. No matter the fate of TEC, Cantuar and the Primates don't seem satisfied with the splintering phenomenon. At some point, they'll make an attempt to link all the splinters together through the same Anglican Covenant, if not the same leadership (e.g. the Primatial Vicar).

Anonymous said...

An interesting tidbit in the Washington Times today:

"When asked whether CANA is the seed of a new Anglican province in the United States, [Minns] said, 'I see ourselves as a building block for that.' "

texanglican said...

Indeed, the quote from Bishop Minns is excellent. I would be most surprised if there is not substantial unity between CANA, AMiA, and ACN (at least those portions of ACN who are able to act[i.e., have bishops who are courageous enough to act definitively and who are not intractable TEC institutioanlists at heart]), before March of 2008. But perhaps once a new province is actually up and running and is recognized by a dozen Primates as legitimate, even Bishops Stanton and Howe will come on board! Let us hope and pray it will be so.

father wb said...

Anonymous --

"...if you must consider yourself out of communion with someone like me..."

There's no perfect being-in-communion this side of the eschaton. I'm sure I'm much "more in communion" with you than I am with the vast majority of North American Anglicans. We can rest assured that we come closer into communion with one another as we come closer into communion with Christ, by believing in him through the whole doctrine of the Apostles (John 17.20).

Dave said...

Texanglican wrote:I would be most surprised if there is not substantial unity between CANA, AMiA, and ACN (at least those portions of ACN who are able to act[i.e., have bishops who are courageous enough to act definitively and who are not intractable TEC institutioanlists at heart]), before March of 2008.

My question is, how can a genuinely Anglican province and Archbishop (assuming we've all had enough of "Presiding" Bishops) emerge out of "substantial unity" between CANA, AMiA and the ACN? To my mind this can only be accomplished if CANA and AMiA relinquish any pastoral and episcopal claims to the diocese and parishes currently under their care, and defer to the Covenant process outlined by the ++ABC in his essay The Challenge and Hope of Being an Anglican Today. Any meaningful long-term Anglican unity in North America cannot be sustained under an indirect relationship to Canterbury by way of an African province.

It will be difficult enough to unite catholic and evangelical factions into new diocesan structures -- if we have AMiA, CANA, ACN and the Communion itself all proposing their own versions of these structures, our definition of "substantial" unity may become a moving target.

Maybe one of the leaders in this collection of acronyms really does have a grand scheme in mind and the political clout and statemanship to unite these bodies into something genuinely Anglican. But so far this does not appear to be the case. I see no deliberate or visionary leadership among the ACN leaders, catholic OR evangelical, and the recent news of a potential 5-diocese block leaving en masse speaks to a fundamental division among the ACN leaders.

The developments of the last 4 months have trended towards more fragmentation, not less. This is just consistent with the history of Anglican groups that precipitously break with Canterbury.

It's discouraging to see the ACI's genuinely catholic rationale of patience and trust in episcopal structures painted with the broad brush of "TEC institutionalism." Surely Ephraim Radner's nuanced and thoughtful ecclesiology deserves more than that. Not everyone who advocates patience at this point is doing so out of concern for their pensions (although I'm sure there are a few.)

father thorpus said...

Hey, it's a great pension.

Anonymous said...

Clergy (except the recently ordained) don't lose their pensions when departing ECUSA.

Ralph said...

I'm an evangelical Presbyterian-becoming- Anglican seminary student. My seminary (RTS) is very evangelical, and very reformed. Part of the reason I'm becoming Anglican is because from my education here, I'm becoming more convinced that the Puritan legacy found in conservative Presbyterianism is quite reactionary...while I'm more concerned with being catholic, and focusing on the beauty and graciousness of our Lord--which I think is best expressed in conservative orthodox Anglicanism.

I can tell you that at my very evangelical seminary the "womens' issue" is not even an issue. The under-30 generation of evangelicals I know are VERY conservative (but not fundamentalist), and looking just at scripture--without reference to Tradition, they see no role for women in the ordained pastoral ministry. These guys have grown up with Politically Correct feminism jammed down their throat, and they don't buy any of it...

There is a bright line in evangelicalism, dividing the liberal wing from the (growing stronger all the time) conservative wing--which rejects women's ordination. Like I tried to say above, this is especially evident the YOUNGER students are. I'm in my 40s, and amidst baby-boomer types older than I, evangelicals are without much conviction on women's ordination....but the next generation, Gen X and especially Gen Y, are returning to traditionalism--even amidst those who just look to scripture, and devalue tradition--as evangelicals do tend to do.

So, do not assume all, or even most, evangelical folk in CANA or other parts of American Anglicanism will fight the ordinals. The feminists will--but they are a distinct, and I believe shrinking, group.

father thorpus said...

I knew it! - there are few problems in TEC that can't be blamed, somehow, on the baby boomers!

But seriously, it's encouraging to see the rise of a new, or rather a new movement in the same, Anglican orthodoxy.