Tuesday, October 10, 2006

No Cardinals and No Curia

Thinking Anglicans points us to a statement by InclusiveChurch regarding the current shenanigans of the diocese of San Joaquin. Within it is a clear summation of a point that I think it is important we keep straight:

...4.1 It is in this context that we believe that what we are seeing is a serious distortion of Anglican polity and theology. In particular, bodies which have no legal or executive status in Anglicanism - notably the Lambeth Conference and the Primates Meetings - are being promoted to a position where they are being used to override fundamental Anglican principles - provincial autonomy and synodical government. Resolution 1.10 – which came at the end of a notoriously unedifying debate and is the flawed result of a badly managed process – apparently justifies the elevation of the Windsor Report to a quasi-legal status with the Primates sitting as judge and jury on the “Windsor compliance” of the Episcopal Church (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC).

4.2 None of this is acceptable. Primates are not cardinals. The Primates’ meeting is not the Curia. Primates of any part of the Anglican Communion do not have the right to commit their provinces to action without implementing detailed and comprehensive synodical processes. The Windsor Report was an attempt to find a way through the apparent impasse we had reached. We acknowledge that it has, in the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury, been “widely accepted as a basis for any progress”. As a result and in order to go the extra mile, TEC and the ACC have agreed in the interests of unity both to withdraw from the meetings of the Anglican Consultative Council and to major amendments in provincial practice. But the notion that TEC has in some way “broken the rules” has no place in Anglican ecclesiology...
Over the last few years, we've heard some folks insisting that this group or that group is the REAL authority in the Episcopal Church. I think they believe if they say it enough times, it will eventually become accepted as true.

I think we need to start correcting those who make such inaccurate claims. The Archbishop of Caterbury, Lambeth, the Primates and the ACC have, at the most, an advisory role within TEC. We make our decisions at General Convention, at which all four orders of ministry are represented.

For those who desire a more authoritarian structure, I suggest that they quit trying to reinvent the wheel. There are existing communities of faith with solid pedigrees that I am sure would accomodate such desires. The Episcopal Church simply doesn't happen to be one of them.


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