Friday, May 19, 2006

North Americans as Second Class Anglicans

Prior Aelred has pointed us to a story in the Telegraph; Archbishop Backs Two-Track Church to Heal Divisions:

...The proposals, which have parallels with the idea of a two-speed European Union, could permit liberals from North America to push ahead with divisive reforms such as homosexual bishops without destroying the Church.

But they could also allow conservatives from Africa and Asia to form an influential inner core that would edge out the liberals from positions of power and reduce them to a second-class status...

...Under Dr Williams's plan, all Anglican provinces - the 38 autonomous Churches that make up the worldwide Communion - will be asked to sign the covenant, an agreement that will prevent them from acting unilaterally over contentious issues.

The covenant would effectively be the Anglican Communion's first constitution, a notion strongly resisted by liberals who dislike the idea of centralised power or of the Archbishop of Canterbury becoming an Anglican pope.

Those who refuse to sign up because they want to retain their freedom - possibly up to a third of the provinces -would not necessarily be seen as less Anglican, but they could find themselves pushed to the fringes...
From what I understand, Jonathan Petre is a reliable reporter.

So, this is the result of the quiet meetings Dr. Williams has been hosting? No surprise, since, to my knowledge, no representative of the North American perspective, other than Bp. Griswold, were invited to these meetings. Note that under this arrangement the North Americans will be required to ante up without being dealt a hand. If they were simply expelled, this wouldn't be the case. Pretty slick.

Since this plan was hatched after the proposed resolutions from the Special Commission were released, which are most likely very close to the way the final wording of resolutions regarding the Windsor Report that will be passed at General Commission next month will shape up, we can assume that this will be the response from Canterbury, regardless of what we do in Columbus. One might speculate that the timing of the circulation of this proposal is connected to the election in California.

The Communion will do what the Communion feels it must do. At this point, it would seem to me to be a waste of time and energy to try to change this proposal. Hopefully, Petre is right in his prediction that we will not sign any covenant agreement. As Bishop Alexander said, "If we allow the missionary fabric of our worldwide Anglican relationships to be replaced by juridical and canonical structures we will have compromised our greatest strength for accomplishing the mission of Jesus." To encourage our leaders to reject any proposed covenant would seem to be a better use of our energy.

So, we are being asked to pay the bill, but have no seat at the banquet. I can live with that, especially since the alternative would be to compromise our witness to the radically inclusive love of God made known to us through Jesus Christ.


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