Tuesday, May 22, 2007

an interesting day at the anglican circus

The plot thickened interestingly today. Lambeth Conference invitations were issued. +New Hampshire was not invited, and both +Robinson and his allies immediately issued several petulant childishnesses in response. ("How dare you?!" etc. and so forth. The first version (?) of Robinson's statement actually used the punctuation "?!". Incredible.) The bishops of CANA and AMiA were also not invited. +Minns issued a measured, thoughtful statement. The press office of ++Abuja also issued a testy statement.

Here's what I think: Williams has done fine. First of all, its his prerogative. Secondly, he is working within the context of, and being guided by, the Windsor Report and the Primates' Meeting Communiques, as he and the Primates have consistently done. Those who are upset about +Minns not being invited (apparently +Minns himself isn't terribly upset) should remind themselves that these invitations are properly viewed as a step along the road to a coherent Anglican ecclesiology, and NOT as some kind of stamp of theological approval for invitees, or of theological disapproval for non-invitees. The fact is, as orthodox as +Minns and Nigeria may be, +Minns' installation was, in fact, a wrench in the careful, costly, and painstaking achievement of the Windsor Report and the various Primates' Meeting communiques (including and especially, most recently, DeS). If CANA is indeed provisional, as Akinola has insisted, then +Minns ought to be willing to sit this one out for the greater good -- even if it is an injustice for him not to be invited (and I don't think it is).

For those of you who see nothing wrong with initiatives like CANA and AMiA, and who are piping mad that +Minns wasn't invited, here's a question: fifty or a hundred years from now, what will stop the Angelus-praying, Sarum-Mass-saying Anglican Archbishop of Ft. Worth from consecrating a bishop in South Carolina because the legitimate Bishop of SC wants all of his priests to swear they believe and love the 39 Articles? I'll tell you what: a pan-Anglican agreement about WHO MAY AUTHORITATIVELY DECIDE what is, and what is not, within the bounds of our common life as Anglicans. Such an agreement, hopefully, will the Covenant be. May it come, and may it come quickly.

In the meantime, don't harass the ABC for being guided by the mind of the Communion as expressed by the Primates who have, as a group, endorsed the Windsor Report, which has asked that stuff like CANA stop happening until we can sort this stuff out -- just as much as it has asked that practicing homosexuals not be made bishops. Lambeth invitations are not about who's better, or who is more correct. They are about how we live together and order our common life. So my advice is: relax. Its okay that a good and godly bishop (Minns) was not invited. Its part of the plot.


Anonymous said...

"these invitations are properly viewed as a step along the road to a coherent Anglican ecclesiology"

I would like to agree you, but +Williams has made clear that he wants Lambeth '08 to be a "dialogue" rather than anything approaching a synod or council of the Communion. When, then, would the next step be taken (e.g., adopting the much-discussed Anglican Covenant)? If not at Lambeth, I don't see it ever happening. Given the choice between an ecclesiologically coherent Communion (which of necessity would exclude some of the current members) or an incoherent federation called a Communion (which because of its incoherence includes all), every indication is that +Williams will choose the latter.

father thorpus said...

Well done, Father. I wholeheartedly agree. As much as I think ABC Williams' leadership has been lacking, this is a sound and just move. May it be accepted as such.