Thursday, June 01, 2006

Saving Anglicanism

Dr. Lionel Deimel, who last week provided us with some excellent commentary on the Special Commission's resolutions, has now produced a background document entitled Saving Anglicanism: An Historical Perspective on Decisions Facing the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church.

Lionel offers a good summary of what led up to the situation the Episcopal Church finds itself in as we head into General Convention this month. At the conclusion of his summary, he also makes an important point that is worth repeating:

...Passing the 11 resolutions or a set a resolutions not too different from them may buy more time, but one has to question the purpose in so doing. Unless the Anglican Communion gets off its current path, its character will be destroyed and the theological essence of Anglicanism, the comprehension of Richard Hooker, will be extinguished. Our object, then, despite what the militant traditionalists tell us, must first be to save Anglicanism, not to save the Anglican Communion, which we cannot allow to become an object of idolatrous veneration...

...We should consider making a more principled, straightforward, and courageous response...In simple, clear sentences we could express our sorrow for the hurt that others have experienced and express our sincere desire to remain in communion with all our sister provinces. We could remind others of Bishop Desmond Tutu’s explanation for how we have always maintained communion—“we meet”—and insist that removing the Episcopal Church or its representatives from Communion discussion is hardly characteristic of the Anglican way. Before the Communion creates more rules, we could insist that existing ones be observed. Before we cede authority to others, we could insist that those to whom we have ceded no authority refrain from intimidation. And we could declare that that name-calling, misrepresentation, and subversion are unbecoming a Christian and unacceptable in a bishop.

We could, in other words, insist that we have as much right to make claims on the Communion as it does on the Episcopal Church. Most importantly, however, we could declare our commitment to save Anglicanism at all costs and to save the Anglican Communion if at all possible.

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