Thursday, May 03, 2007

Nigeria Responds

Abp. Akinola has responded to our Presiding Bishop's letter. Here's part of it:

...You will also recall from our meeting in Dar es Salaam that there was specific discussion about CANA and recognition – expressed in the Communiqué itself – of the important role that it plays in the context of the present division within your Province. CANA was established as a Convocation of the Church of Nigeria, and therefore a constituent part of the Communion, to provide a safe place for those who wish to remain faithful Anglicans but can no longer do so within The Episcopal Church as it is currently being led. The response for your own House of Bishops to the carefully written and unanimously approved Pastoral Scheme in the Communiqué makes it clear that such pastoral protection is even more necessary.

It is my heartfelt desire – and indeed the expressed hope of all the Primates of the Communion – that The Episcopal Church will reconsider its actions – and make such special measures no longer necessary. This is the only way forward for full restoration into fellowship with the rest of the Communion. Further, I renew the pledge that I made to your predecessor, Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, that the Church of Nigeria will be the first to restore communion on the day that your Province abandons its current unbiblical agenda. Until then we have no other choice than to offer our assistance and oversight to our people and all those who will not compromise the “faith once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 1:3)
Here is the part of the Communique that refers to CANA:

...Although there are particular difficulties associated with AMiA and CANA, the Pastoral Council should negotiate with them and the Primates currently ministering to them to find a place for them within these provisions. We believe that with goodwill this may be possible...
I fail to see how this defines CANA's "important role." Also note that CANA is mentioned along with the AMiA, an ecclesiastical body that is commonly recognized as being "not in the Communion."

Regarding diocesan border violations, the Windsor Report is clear that they must end. The latest Communique is less clear, offering a number of conflicting statements, which are most likely the result of the 11th hour bullying session in Tanzania. Here's a couple of these conflicted statements:

...The interventions by some of our number and by bishops of some Provinces, against the explicit recommendations of the Windsor Report, however well-intentioned, have exacerbated this situation. Furthermore, those Primates who have undertaken interventions do not feel that it is right to end those interventions until it becomes clear that sufficient provision has been made for the life of those persons...

...Third, the Presiding Bishop has reminded us that in The Episcopal Church there are those who have lost trust in the Primates and bishops of certain of our Provinces because they fear that they are all too ready to undermine or subvert the polity of The Episcopal Church. In their view, there is an urgent need to embrace the recommendations of the Windsor Report and to bring an end to all interventions...
One must assume that Abp. Akinola has now rejected the Windsor Report, and is using this latest Communique (in which he demanded that the segments that would benefit him be included) as his claim to authority.

He has been asked very clearly to not make this particular visit. It appears he intends to come to Virginia anyway. By so doing, he will be sacrificing any remaining "benefit of the doubt" that some members of TEC, and others within the Communion, might have held for him.

It's been a shell game from the beginning. And now that the ABp. has been called on his subterfuge, his pride hinders him from doing the right thing.

Mark Harris has more on this.


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