Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The End Run of the "Windsor" Bishops

The Living Church tells us that the "Windsor" Bishops have written to Dr. Williams and expressed their strong support for the Windsor Report. They have also revealed the formation of a Steering Committee and the scheduling of two meetings.

These bishops are getting organized. As we have previously discussed, these are self-styled "Windsor" Bishops. In their previous meetings, they have said not a word about the violation of diocesan boundaries, or the Nigerian "listening process" (incarceration), even though both of these issues are part of the Windsor Report. In light of their silence on these important issues, one must come to the conclusion that they are not "Windsor-compliant," and have no right to claim that title.

What are they up to? There is some speculation that they are following the advice of the new and improved Anglican Communion Institute (sans Don Armstrong, of course). The ACI has proposed that the Windsor Bishops go ahead with the Primates' Pastoral Scheme, even though our House of Bishops have rejected that idea. As set out by the Primates, the election of a Primatial Vicar and the formation of a Pastoral Council requires the consent of our Presiding Bishop. In light of the recent House of Bishops Meeting, I cannot imagine Bp. Katharine giving such consent. The Pastoral Scheme, as presented, cannot go forward, unless the "Windsor" Bishops have some plan to make an end run around Bp. Katharine. If they do, it is doubtful if their actions will be recognized as having any authority by the rest of TEC.

The ACI's latest missive does not specifically mention the Windsor Bishops pushing forward without the leadership of TEC, but instead calls for "the Dar es Salaam communiqué to be followed up on." It seems to me that this more subtle wording amounts to the same thing.

In the midst of this, we have rumors of five diocese ready to jump, and even speculation that they will jump to Rome. Regarding dioceses thinking they can leave TEC, one needs to remember that individuals are free to leave, but a diocese can only be dissolved by General Convention. As to going to Rome, I think these extremists, who only accept the authority of bishops whose stance on peripheral issues agrees with their own, are in for a big surprise. They may want to recall the story of Bishop Pope before making such a hasty decision.

Mark Harris also has some thoughts on these self-styled "Windsor" Bishops.


UPDATE: Jim Naughton offers us further information about these "Windsor" Bishops, including some insights about the Bishop of Western Louisiana that are new to me:

...The steering committee’s cause has also been damaged by one of its own members. News of what transpires inside the Primates Meeting filters slowly through the Anglican system, so descriptions of Bishop Bruce MacPherson’s pointed personal attack on Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori at the meeting in Tanzania is just beginning to achieve wide circulation. Observers say that MacPherson, who had been invited to the meeting to speak on behalf of the bishops who had endorsed the Camp Allen principles, characterized Bishop Jefferts Schori as the embodiment of everything that was wrong with the Episcopal Church. The comments, observers said, went well beyond the issues under consideration at the meeting and included a general condemnation of her beliefs and her ministry. MacPherson’s remarks made those of Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, who spoke on behalf of the Anglican Communion Network, seem mild by comparison, observers said...

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