Thursday, October 12, 2006

From Wales

The Presidential Address of the Rt. Rev. Dr. Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales, adresses nuclear weapons, just war theory, the Government of Wales Act, and developments within the Anglican Communion. It is a segment of the latter that I want to highlight. Keep in mind that Dr. Morgan was a member of the Commission that authored the Windsor Report:

This is what I believe the Archbishop of Canterbury was implying when he wrote to all provinces about the implications of the break up of the Communion. He was not advocating a two tier Communion – one for true believers and another for those who could not swallow the full faith as it were, who would be in some form of loose association with the Communion. He was merely pointing out the danger we are in. The Windsor Report advocated that provinces should covenant with one another and consult with one another before making decisions, which might affect the life of the Communion as a whole. As a member of that Commission, we did not have in mind a covenant that was prescriptive and detailed and intrusive. What we did have in mind was what ECUSA did at its convention in July when:

  • It re-affirmed its abiding commitment to the fellowship of churches that constitute the Anglican Communion and sought to live into the highest degree of communion possible.

  • It reaffirmed that it was in communion with the See of Canterbury, upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer.

  • It went on to make a commitment to the vision of inter-dependent life in Christ, characterized by forbearance, trust, and respect, and commended the Windsor Report and process as a means of deepening understanding of that commitment.

    I do not know about you, but I could sign a covenant such as that. For, just as we have to recognise that the theory of the just war does not answer all the difficulties raised by modern methods of warfare, so too we have to recognise, as far as the Anglican Communion is concerned, that globalisation and instant communication have changed the nature of our relationships with one another and that what happens in one part of the church does affect another for good or ill. A covenant, setting out our mutual inter-dependence would remind us all of that fact. But that is totally different from the kind of covenant that some people want – a kind of prescriptive one, setting up an inter-provincial constitution that would set out theological boundaries and perimeters for individual provinces in both belief and behaviour, policed by a central curia of the primates or Archbishop of Canterbury. That would go much further than what ECUSA has done, or the existing agreement of the Lambeth quadrilateral, based on the acceptance of the scriptures, the creeds, the two dominical sacraments and the historic episcopate. It would cut at the root of the Anglican Communion as it has been traditionally understood with to my mind, disastrous consequences. We are after all a communion not a confession. We all need reminding of the words of St Augustine ‘In certis, unitas. In dubiis, libertas. Et in omnibus caritas.’ ‘In fundamentals of faith there must be unity. In disputable matters there must be freedom for debate. But in everything there must be love.’
  • I'm not so sure I could personally sign such a covenant, if "commending the Windsor Report" was a part of it. I simply don't think that document is salvagable.

    The Windsor process seems more promising, but even that would be building on a flawed foundation, which would seemed destined to crack and eventually crumble.

    But, I must say that it is refreshing to hear a voice that is suggesting that TEC has modeled more what the authors of the WR had in mind, and beyond that, what Dr. Williams had in mind. Even more importantly, Dr. Morgan spells out what the authors of the WR did not have in mind (a Covenant that was "prescriptive and detailed and intrusive...policed by a central curia of the primates").

    On a lighter note, MadPriest offers us a sampling of the new stand up routine of AlPO Bishop Ackerman of Quincy:

    ...He said Americans were responsible for exporting McDonalds, "then we exported McSacraments, then the McBible, then McPreists and now we are debating in some quarters, McBishops." This, he said, often times bring indigestion...

    ..."The American province was asked to say 'sorry'. The American province responded with one word 'Schori.'"

    ...The last two primates in ECUSA promised to take us to a deeper place. By electing a professionally trained oceanographer she may actually do so," he said to roars of laughter...

    My suggestion? Keep your day job, Bishop.


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