Monday, December 10, 2007

Canterbury Has Not Endorsed the Southern Cone's Plan

There's been a rumor circulating that the Archbishop of Canterbury told Bp. Venables of the Southern Cone that his plan to lay claim to congregations and dioceses in North America was "a sensible way forward."

On November 9, Ruth Gledhill reported the following:

...According to well-informed insiders, Dr Rowan Williams, while opposed to separatist solutions to the Anglican crisis, has described the plan of Bishop Venables as a “sensible way forward"...
Later that day, Ruth expanded that comment:

...I have it on impeccable authority that Rowan's response to Bishop Greg, while not exactly falling over himself with joy, was that this was a 'sensible way forward'. Bishop Greg discussed it briefly with the Archbishop in London in September, I understand, but Greg himself declined to tell me what the Archbishop said...
This bit of information then took on a life of its own, repeated over and over again by by Bp. Lyons of Bolivia and the former Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, among others.

The problem with this rumor is that it is simply not true, according to the Lead:

"Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has not in any way endorsed the actions of the Primate of the Southern Cone, Bishop Gregory Venables, in his welcoming of dioceses, such as San Joaquin in the Episcopal Church, to become part of his province in South America," a spokesman for the Anglican Communion said.

(Via email from The Rev. Canon Dr. James M. Rosenthal, Anglican Communion Office, Director of Communications.)
Since the actions of the leaders of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin to join the Southern Cone were not sanctioned by Canterbury, their current status within the Anglican Communion is in question. Quite possibly Bp. Schofield will end up in the same position as the other bishop that Bp. Venables has taken under his wing; the former Bp. of Recife, who is unrecognized as the bishop of any diocese in the Communion, and not the recipient of an invitation to Lambeth.

One hopes that Bp. Schofield considered the cost of such a radical move before leaping into it, as now he just may have to pay a dear price for his risky behavior.

J.

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