Thursday, February 15, 2007

Report on TEC's Response

Last March, the Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council nominated four of its members to assist the Archbishop of Canterbury in "discerning the response of the Anglican Communion to the decisions of the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church," specifically in regards to the Windsor Report. That report is now avaialble here.

A few passages worth noting:

...The response of the 75th General Convention to the Windsor Report as a whole in its resolutions was positive – Resolution A159 affirmed the Windsor Report, and its vision of the interdependent life of the Communion, including the appointment of a person to carry forward work on this proposal; the proposal for an Anglican Covenant was welcomed (Resolution A166[2] ); resolutions reflecting what the Windsor Report had had to say about the pastoral care of dissenting groups, and provincial autonomy were passed (A163)...
Regarding the election of bishops, specifically resolution B033:

...The group noted that while the Windsor Report restricted its recommendation to candidates for the episcopate who were living in a same gender union, the resolution at General Convention widened this stricture to apply to a range of lifestyles which present a wider challenge. The group welcomed this widening of the principle, which was also recommended by the Windsor Report[4] , and commend it to the Communion.

The group believes therefore that General Convention has complied in this resolution with the request of the Primates...
Regarding Public Rites for Unions:

...It is therefore not at all clear whether, in fact, the Episcopal Church is living with the recommendations of the Windsor Report on this matter. The Primates in their statement of March 2003 did admit that there could be “a breadth of private response to individual pastoral care”, but it is clear that the authorisation by any one bishop, diocese or Province, of any public Rite of Blessing, or permission to develop or use such a rite, would go against the standard of teaching to which the Communion as a whole has indicated that it is bound. We do not see how bishops who continue to act in a way which diverges from the common life of the Communion can be fully incorporated into its ongoing life. This is therefore a question which needs to be addressed urgently by the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church...
Note that the above conclusion was offered after acknowledging that TEC has not authorized any public rites.

Regarding the resolution that included our expressions of regret:

...The group was unsure how these words should be understood. On the one hand, there does not seem to be any admission of the fact that the action of consenting to the particular election at the centre of this dispute was in itself blameworthy. On the other, there is the use of the strong language of “apology” and the request for “forgiveness”. These words are not lightly offered, and should not be lightly received. Taken with the apparent promise not to repeat the offence (Resolution B033 discussed above) we believe that the expression of regret is sufficient to meet the request of the primates...
And their concluding comment:

...We recognise that the Windsor Report was addressed to the whole of the Anglican Communion. This report has been concerned with the response by the Episcopal Church to that Report. We understand that the Anglican Church of Canada is in the process of preparing its response. We have to express our concern that other recommendations of the Windsor Report, addressed to other parts of the Communion, appear to have been ignored so far...
That seems to me to be referring to border crossings, among other things.

So, there you have it. The group feels that TEC responded well to the Windsor Report, with the noted concern regarding diocesan bishops continuing to sanction blessings. This is a well written presentation. It is difficult to imagine the Primates as a whole deciding to go against it.

J.

1 comment:

Rodney said...

"the apparent promise not to repeat the offence"

Did anyone else catch this? The beauty of B033 (if there is one) is precisely that there is no such promise, only the encouragement for everyone to proceed with caution (which many of us believe is already the case). I firmly believe that if there was a tacit understanding in B033 that "we'll never do it again" then it would not have passed. In fact, even ++KJS said to the House of Deputies that she did not believe this was a stopping place (my paraphrase).