Wednesday, December 07, 2005

AAC: The Network's Covert Operatives

Last month, at the Conference of Disgruntled Episcopalians, David Anderson, President & CEO of the American Anglican Council, attempted to explain how the AAC differs from the Network. I found this segment rather interesting:

...As a non-ecclesial body that has worked within, but never been under the auspices or authority of ECUSA, its constitution, canons or 815 leadership, the AAC has inherent freedom to move across classic hierarchical boundaries within the Anglican Communion...
In other words, the AAC can ignore diocesan boundaries, encourage and enable foreign bishops to poach parishes, and disregard the authority of any bishop with whom they disagree, which allows the Network to appear squeaky clean regarding staying within the bounds of the constitution and canons of the Episcopal Church.

If there was still any question as to the role the AAC plays in the larger Network, Canon Anderson quickly dispels all further doubt:

...We consult with a large number of our constituency on a variety of issues including assistance with legal, strategic and communications issues. This includes some covert activity! One of the major problems we face in the AAC is that a large portion of what we do is under the radar or behind the curtain...
Covert activity? Under the radar? Behind the curtain? Unusual language for those claiming to do nothing more than create a "safe place" for conservative Anglicans. Unless, of course, the Via Media folks have been right all along:

Property, not piety is keeping dissident parishes in the Episcopal Church. In the longer term, the AAC expects to use foreign intervention to trump American law and the Episcopal Church Constitution and Canons. Its leaders are assuring dissident parishes that the Anglican primates, a consultative body with no governing authority or standing in the United States, will ride to the rescue of Network parishes, negotiate property settlements and transfer the assets of 2.3-million-member church to a group representing perhaps a tenth of that body. The Chapman letter reveals the AAC's "realignment" for what it really is -- the overthrow of the Episcopal Church by extra-legal means.
Such commentary is dismissed by the AAC as paranoid and reactionary. It is difficult to imagine a scenario in which the Network would end up with everything. I've heard it argued that since the preface to the constitution refers to the Episcopal Church as a "constituent member of the Anglican Communion," if we
were no longer part of the Communion, we would cease to exist. I can't imagine that happening. Certainly no court is going to buy that. It's a pretty weak case.

I'm sure the Network is aware that 10% of the members are never going to successfully convince the other 90% to join them through argumentation or threats. So what is all this covert activity about? If it's not an attempted coup, what is the AAC/Network's goal?

Whatever their intention is, I think it is time to draw back the curtain, open our eyes to the "covert" machinations going on "under the radar", and identify who it is pulling the levers.

J.

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