Monday, May 14, 2007

good questions

I think the significance of what's going on now (with CANA, AMiA, etc.) is lost on most, though I and others have tried to point it out. Here is one of the first quasi-profound analyses of the ongoing saga of American Anglicanism that I've seen from the secular media. Read the whole thing here. (Via T-19.) I've often reminded myself that as bad as things may be for us now, they have been worse for others. Think of St. Athanasius and the Arian crisis of the fourth century. I've been reading a biography of St. Gregory Nazianzus, and it was much the same for him. Juridical / ecclesial chaos and political maneuverings left and right, swimming upstream culturally, at odds with secular authority, theological confusion, etc. The best we can do, I think, is to tell the truth within whatever contexts we find ourselves, and strive for personal holiness. That's really all God asks: that we turn to him, and then do our best.


The reason for Akinola’s delay seems to be that he wanted there to be no doubt that the leadership of the Episcopal Church would refuse to comply with the demands of the worldwide Anglican Communion before he acted — especially the demand that it accept a “primatial vicar,” or alternative chief presiding officer, for conservatives. Once the door to a primatial vicar was closed, Akinola offered a Nigerian alternative.

Which leaves observers with certain unanswered questions. Why did Akinola establish his own Nigerian alternative rather than support the already existing Anglican Mission in America established by Archbishop Kolini? What, if anything, will mark the difference between the two missionary initiatives? Why did the Anglican Mission, for its part, send no representative to the consecration? Does this action represent a further fragmentation of the conservative opposition?

Some liberal commentators think so and point to the fact that very few congregations have actually withdrawn from the Episcopal Church. But that comment may miss the real significance of the African initiative — namely, to revitalize Anglicanism in America.


William Tighe said...

For what it's worth:

I heard on reasonably good authority yesterday that +VGR will be invited to Lambeth, as will be a number of the "more respectable extra-mural" Anglican bishops also (CANA, AMiA and even maybe some Continuing Anglicans). While at the level of ecclesiological principle I think that this will display the utter incoherence of contemporary official Anglicanism (please note the two preceding adjectives!) and the utter fraudulency of its "claims to be Catholic" (and perhaps even meaningfully Christian), nevertheless and on pragmatic grounds (since if you have dwelt in a whorehouse for many years after knowing the nature of the establishment, and now if you tarry but a while longer you can collapse the building and perhaps get away with some of its spoils, why not do it?) I think that the "Global South" bishops should turn up in force -- and, before then, why not increase the number of Nigerian dioceses to, say, 500, every one of whose bishops can claim an invitation to Lambeth? -- and simply seize control of the conference from its "managers" and expel ECUSA (and also the Canadians) from the Anglican Communion? It would be a consummation greatly to be desired.

father wb said...

Dr. Tighe,

Interesting idea. I'd love to see Nigeria attempt to carry it out. Though time is getting short.

Given today's news, its looking more and more like every man (or parish, or diocese) for himself.

William Tighe said...

And if perchance the Nigerians should think my idea a good one, but wonder how they could afford to get their 500 bishops to Canterbury to seize control of the Lambeth Conference, I reply:

Apply for funding to the Ahmanson Foundation and the Scaife Foundation. It would be a worthy and attention-getting use of these families' money, on the one hand, and, on the other, it would neatly hoist the Crews, the Kaetons, the Russels, the Fr. Jakes and the Mark Harrises of ECUSA, and all that sorry lot who have been chattering like alarmed monkeys in a tree about the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy funded by these foundations, with their own petard, as well as giving them something to be really alarmed about.