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Thursday, 10 June 2010

Archbishop of Canterbury's Pentecost Letter: A European Consequence

In his Pentecost letter, the Archbishop of Canterbury warned of certain consequences for provinces of the Anglican Communion which have failed to stand by the three moratoria. (No authorisation of blessings services for same-sex unions; no consecrations of bishops living in same-sex relationships; and no bishop authorising any ministry within the diocese of another bishop without explicit permission). One consequence would be that representatives from such provinces would not be able to participate in the formal international interchurch dialogues of the Communion.

One of those dialogues is the Anglican-Old Catholic International Co-ordinating Council (AOCICC), the official instrument set up to deepen the relationship of communion established in 1931 between the Anglican Communion and the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht. As the member Churches of the Union of Utrecht are all European, the AOCICC is effectively a European body. (I am one of the members, appointed by the Anglican Consultative Council as is Mrs Marion J├Ągers, who is also from our Diocese in Europe). The Revd Carola Von Wrangel (above left), the Rector of the (American) Parish of Christ the King, Frankfurt, has represented the Episcopal Church, one of the provinces which has not observed the moratoria. A few days ago, Carola wrote to the members of AOCICC to inform us that she has "been removed from participation in the AOCICC by the office of the Anglican Communion because of the recent developments in the Communion, and the Archbishop´s Pentecost letter".

Sadly, the consequences of the Episcopal Church's actions are now felt directly here in Europe. We will miss Carola's contribution to our official dialogue with the Old Catholic Churches.


  1. Pretty odd since several Old catholic Churches permit same-sex blessings. I cant understand why if it is so important the C of E hasnt suspended full communion...also with the Church of Sweden which has a partnered lesbian bishop Perry butler

  2. I think it is particularly unfortunate because, as we surely all know, gay and partnered clergy ( and so I hear also bishops) are present and often highly esteemed in the C-of-E, it's just that no one is supposed to talk about it. 'Discretion' Cardinal Kasper of the Vatican Commission for Christian Unity once called it (yes, a well-known situation also on the other side of the Tiber) but as an American, dare I say, it sounds awfully like hypocrisy, and I would guess creates a very unhealthy and painful condition for those involved.

  3. How times have changed! When I was a young man, the then Bishop of Fulham and Gibralter was one of my most ardent admirers. I was fortunate to be entertained by the many gay Anglican chaplains in different parts of Europe. Happy days!

  4. It's also odd, given that the C of E is just entering into full communion with the Church of Denmark. The Danish Church authorises blessings to same-sex civilly-registered couples, and is currently in the process of moving to the same situation which now obtains in Sweden, viz of offering non-gender specific marriage ceremonies, when the law changes here, as is anticipated within the next year or so. Norway, Finland and Iceland are all rapidly moving in the same direction.

    In fact, a quick tour around the C of E's non-British Isles partners in full communion in Europe makes it evident that it will soon only be the Church of England which has failed to come up with any proper pastoral provision at all for its gay members - it's the C of E that's the odd one out, rather than TEC.

  5. Fr John E. Harris-White11 June 2010 at 10:16

    Clearly the ABC, and his cohorts at at pains to seperate those who wish to live by the Holy Spirit, and seek an inclusive church for all Gods children. Seperating members of the Poorvo churches from dialogue, together with our American and Canadian bretheren. The ABC is blind to the hurt he has caused to the Body of Christ, and dismay to many members of the Church of England, both clergy amnd lay. If he doubts this just watch the numbers attending the Mass at Southwark Cathedral, when the Presiding Bishop of the USA prays and preaches at the Mass

  6. Robert McCloskey11 June 2010 at 13:38

    I know that you must tout the ABC's line, but really 'the consequences of the Episcopal Church's actions' is a long stretch from what caused this most recent dilemma. Punitive actions taken with questionable authority, based on yet to be approved reports and documents, is the real cause. And now it appears that these disinvitations were a secondary option to the ABC's request of our Primate, that she step down from the so-called "Standing Committee". Little did we think in the run-up preparations for the disastrous Lambeth '98 that +Rowan would be such a dismal failure in succession to George Carey.
    Pax, Bob McCloskey

  7. Each the comments above makes it abundantly clear that it is not "the Episcopal Church's actions" but rather the hypocrisy of Rowan Williams and Kenneth Kearon - no sanctions on border-crossers, nor, I'll lay heavy odds, will there be - that have deprived you of Carla's participation in dialogue with these churches.

  8. There really are three problems with this situation, quite apart from the theological posturing on the presenting issue.

    1. Both Lambeth and the Anglican Communion Office have asserted powers they do not legitimately hold - and which, ironically, they would not even hold unilaterally if the appalling anti-Anglican Covenant were ever implemented.

    2. Both Lambeth and the Anglican Communion Office have demonstrated rank hypocrisy in acting against only one of the provinces violating the moratoria. Rwanda (the first of the border crossers) is left entirely alone - as are Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya. Southern Cone is sent a pretty letter asking if Greg Venables has been a good boy. (And Souther Cone is only asked because their acts of aggression have struck at provinces besides the US.)

    3. Cantuar is punishing the Americans for two things that are both commonplace in the Church of England (the one province where he actually does have canonical jurisdiction). Indeed, it has been asserted that the Diocese of London alone sees the blessing of more same sex unions annually than the rest of the Communion outwith the CofE combined.

  9. "the consequences of the Episcopal Church's actions"

    Blaming the one family member who dares to be honest (the Episcopal Church) is the sort of behavior that, as a therapist, I see in broken and dysfunctional families. Usually it is the abuser or addict who needs to punish or shame the one family member who dares to be honest and to speak the truth about the family environment.

    The Episcopal Church has, after 35 or more years of open discernment, decided to be honest and open about their acceptance of God for all people, including gays and lesbians and their relationships and call to ministry and leadership in this church. Openness and honesty seem to be marks of the Spirit and worth celebrating.

    The Church of England, it seems, has been so far unable to be honest about the fact that many of its members and clergy also recognize and celebrate the relationships, lives and call of gays and lesbians. That sort of behavior, that hidden and shameful pretend, are, as I said, the sorts of things that one sees in shame filled families fighting against crippling addictions and abuse.

    To blame the family member who is honest for the consequences that result is to side with the abuser, to side with silence, to side with a lack of honesty and openness and truth.

    The "consequences" are the actions of the family member trying to enforce silence and shame. The abuse is coming from the family member who imagines that they lead the family and that their leadership is to be used to hide and cover up their own addiction to position and role and power and authority.

    Where there is shame and silence and lies in a family, there is a need to blame someone, anyone, other than the real perpetrator.

    If one feels shock, anger and horror at the thought of blaming the ABC for the consequences it might be a sign that they have bought into the pattern of covering up and hiding an abusive addiction to power and fearing the truth and light that is acceptance and love.

    Siding with the abuser helps no one, least of all the abuser. It is time for honesty. For acceptance. And for an end to the actions of the abuser (the ABC in this case) as he tries to enforce a cover up and silence.

  10. Comment on Robert McCloskey's: why do say +David must toot the ABC's line? I thought this was the C-of-E - we haven't crossed the Tiber yet, though some in high places seem to long for primatial infallibility (depends on the primate of course).

  11. Focusing on the ecumenical effects Bishop David has blogged about, perhaps the Old Catholics will find such clarity helpful from the Anglican Communion. It surely illuminates the Communion's likely position with regard to the Old Catholic's inclusion of Lesbian and Gay members, and might suggest that a side dialogue with TEC would be of mutual benefit.

  12. I simply do not see how the Anglican Communion has the right to remove a member of an Anglican Committee: what is it, a Curia? And does Rowan Williams think he's some sort of Pope? As a Welsh Anglican since childhood, I can say that Rowan does not speak for his own church at home, let alone the Anglican communion in Eurpoe. There is an arrogance to his actions that Katherine Jefferets Schori rightly identifies as colonialism. All these committees should simply tell the AC and Williams where to get off, and carry on as usual.

  13. I assume that neither the C of E nor its European interfaith partners care about or are subject to the EU's human rights provisions. After all, TEC members have been taken off the committees, disciplined and fired, for belonging to and/or representing a church which consecrates gay and lesbian bishops. Doesn't this amount to discrimination against gays and lesbians?

    Why aren't the Danish Church and some of the Old Catholic Churches which support human rights protesting this and refusing to accept the firings?

    When real action is required, why are the churches who say they are in favor of human rights willing to accept such blatant discrimination from the ABC and Canon Kearon?

    --sheila stanley--

  14. The Archbishop of Canterbury is being charged with hypocrisy on both sides of this debate; I find it rather short-sighted to be charging him with hypocrisy when he is only fulfilling, after a very, very long time, and with ample patience, the mandates of the Windsor Report, the primates meetings at Dar and Dromantine, and the clear consensus of the last Lambeth conference that the moratoria were necessary. It is also to be blind to the many other ecumenical consequences which we have had to face from TEC's actions. It is also disingenuous to take this action as one which is aimed at people of a particular sexual orientation; it addresses deeds, and not orientations.

    I am deeply saddened that so many gay and lesbian people have seen in TEC a kind of partner for what they consider to be their legitimate struggle. A more circumspect analysis of the situation within TEC, and of those most actively promoting the virtue of same-gender sexual intercourse, would have shown that this is in nearly in all cases in TEC tied to denials of the most basic elements of our faith - one needs only look at the best-known figures of the last few decades in Pike, Spong and Schori. I do not understand how anyone could be enthusiastic about inviting KJS to Southwark when it should be very clear by now that she denies the divinity of Christ and the resurrection. I would hope that we could extend to our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters a hope less bleak than this, and instead of a hope so focussed on embracing a particular sort of sex act, rather offer them a community which embraces the Risen Christ. The lives all of us, including gay and lesbian people, are characterized by more than just sex, and even if we are completely wrong about the sex issues, we are better off than if we have lost our love for Christ and our faith in Him.

  15. Most of the comments have been about inclusion of gays in the church. What do you think about the requirement that 'no bishop authorising any ministry within the diocese of another bishop without explicit permission'?

    Within Europe bishops have exercised their authority without reference to one another, pretty much from the start, when Diocese of Gibraltar was formed in 1842. There is currently overlapping jurisdiction of bishops through Porvoo, Bonn, and the inclusion of the Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church and the Lusitanian Church in the Communion. So when did the Anglican Communion think that overlapping jurisdiction should result in punitive action? TEC seems pretty het up about it, but we've been practising it for years in Europe.

  16. Mark Collinson: more to the point, what do you think about the continued exclusion of gay people on the part of the Church of England? It's not much of a witness to modern Europe is it, as it merely reinforces the prejudice that continental Europeans already hold about the English - that they are pretty screwed up and hypocritical about sex.

    Britain is the only European nation where Puritans seem to have any say in public discourse about sex, and is also the European nation with the worst rates of teenage pregnancies, teenage abortions, STDs, etc, etc. The situation is quite the opposite amongst the other North European monarchies. So perhaps we Brits have more to learn from our fellow North European churches - particularly our partners in full communion, such as the Old Catholics and Scandinavian Lutherans - than we have to teach anyone else.

  17. James: "I do not understand how anyone could be enthusiastic about inviting KJS to Southwark when it should be very clear by now that she denies the divinity of Christ and the resurrection"

    This is the kind of slander that Christians should avoid making, and which gives us a bad name. Attend to whatever motes are in your own eye, please, and leave it at that.

  18. This marks the Birthday of the Archbishop of Canterbury....and many more our Bishop !

  19. Fr Mark,

    This would be slander if it were simply "left as that." I have provided you with a link containing quotes and commentary, you are welcome to rationally argue against the point. The post also describes in detail in what manner she does, and what manner she does not ... as it is very important for all of us to make up our minds regarding what has happened here, rather than poisoning the well by stamping this as "slander" before you have even viewed the evidence yourself.

    A liberal mind does not throw around vituperative epithets before examining the evidence at hand - it's at hand here, you don't have to do the research yourself, and I think that you will find that the case is water-tight enough to summarize the situation this way amongst persons who consider themselves Trinitarian.

    If we are willing to re-define the resurrection as "a moment which inspires us toward certain ethical principles, amongst them self-sacrifice" then: she does not deny the resurrection. Read the article.

  20. Fr. Mark, while we're at it -

    We can perhaps engage in some mutual motes-in-eyes work here. I would suggest you look over your posting above regarding "Puritans" and ask if this is simply stating a matter of fact or if it isn't a rather slanderous characterization of people with whom you disagree (not to mention a slanderous characterization of the Puritans - whose writings are sometimes refreshing "liberal" on some points where evangelicals, especially, need schooling).

    Why is it that when someone brings up a problem in TEC, it is described as "slander" and implied to be hypocrisy (with the motes in eyes bit), whereas no one complains so vehemently of the many stones thrown at Rowan Williams in this thread? I would enjoin you to entertain the possibility that those with whom you agree might also, at moments, be engaging in hypocrisy or less-than-sympathetic rhetorical ploys.

    Most of all, though, I'd like you to read the article, I find it rather ghastly that you simply wish to swat down well-prepared evidence with the term "slander" when it is an issue which regards the introduction of a different Christology into our own church.

  21. James: it is wildly over the top to characterise Bishop Katherine as a heretic: never far below the surface of current rhetoric from certain quarters is the subliminal cry of "burn the witch." Puritans were renowned in the past for doing prescisely that, and I hoped that modern Christians might have moved on by now from having to judge & condemn everyone else in order to feel good about themselves. When I deprecate the malign influence of puritanism upon British culture in my post above, I do so as a product of that culture, and feel perfectly entitled to point out that obsessive judgementalism regarding other people's private lives has long been a bane of our society (have you read any Victorian novels?), without ever making it any more moral than our neighbours'.

    As a Brit who has been living in the Low Countries & then Scandinavia, I am intrigued by the fact that these societies simply do not get wound up about sex in the way that only Anglo-American Protestants seem to do. If I were an English Protestant, I imagine I would want to make common cause with the main Protestant bodies in the neighbouring countries in Europe - after all, young people today think, in ethical terms, increasingly in much the same way right across Europe. The very odd thing is that the tenor of debate vis-a-vis the gay issue amongst British Protestants is quite different from that of the North European Lutherans, otherwise the most comparable churches to the C of E (hence full communion through Porvoo). To what can we ascribe that difference? The baleful Anglo-American Puritan legacy of sexual hypocrisy (encompassing the likes of Ted Haggard, George Rekers & any number of Republican Religious Right politicians) is one possibility, surely?

  22. Fr Mark,

    I have not used the word "heretic" above and I don't actually consider KJS to engage in "heresy" in the classic sense - I'm not sure any of her points of view are adequately developed or coherent to really count as a "heresy." Shall we then conclude that KJS does deny the resurrection and the divinity of Christ as described by the paper, and agree not to call her a "heretic" due to the absence of any good, solid heresy?

    Agreed that popular opinion amongst youth in Europe is intriguing, though many, though they are scrupulous in appearing non-chalant about it in public, are quite wrought up about sex matters in private in a very unhealthy way. But let's stick to Christology here, maybe we can discuss European youth & sex later.

  23. I am sorry about the last comment, it almost sounds as if I take her denying the divinity of Christ and the resurrection lightly, or that we can just agree about this in dropping the heretic epithet. That is far from the case, I think it's a very weighty issue for the whole Communion. You probably don't even want to "go there" and probably don't even want to read the paper. You've heard though, and if you want to see the evidence, the paper is there. It's important, though, to know who it is you're supporting to come teach the flock of the CofE, and it breaks my heart each time I hear of a CofE clergyperson supporting her visit here, not to mention someone from our own diocese. But I'm used to that kind of heartbreak from reading about TEC (from both "sides of the fence", as it were).

  24. James, I am sorry but this is an unkind and untrue caricature of Bishop Katherine. I have spent time in her company, and listened to her preach, as I have done with each of the last three archbishops of Canterbury at various times, and came away with the impression that Bishop Katherine is a church leader of an altogether higher calibre than the C of E has been able to come up with for a long time. Many other Britons of my acquaintance have reached the same conclusion.

    If you want to pick holes in bishops' preaching, looking for ways to accuse them of not being "proper Christians" you could do so with any number of the C of E's bishops since 1660 or so, I should think (you probably wouldn't at all have approved of Richard Harries, who ordained me, for example)... and how would that profit anyone's eternal soul, except make one feel, like the Pharisee and the publican "Thank God that I am not like that one over there"?

    My point is that that judgmental small-minded type of Christianity has had its day, and it's time to realise this and move on to a more positive and charitable way of looking at people. This is the whole fault in the way "conservatives" handle the gay issue. What do they say to the gay community that is good and attractive? Do they praise and build on the good that is present in every loving relationship? Not at all: they are just embarrassed by gay people's existence and wish they would go away, which isn't a selling point, frankly.

  25. James errs in two points. His initial post takes it as granted that the Eames Commission (which prepared the Windsor Report), the Lambeth Canferences, the Primates Meetings and the Archbishop of Canterbury are bodies with jurisdiction to establish binding rules and to enforce compliance to those rules.

    If James were familiar with Anglicanism, he would understand that this assumption is categorically false.

    As to his slanders against the American Presiding Bishop, I note that were +KJS to stand up and say "Jesus is Lord" and simply sit down, the usual suspects (and their acolyte James) would still accuse her of some heresy or another - and possibly of biting the heads of live puppies to boot.

  26. Frs Mark and Malcolm,

    You may presume what you wish of me.

    I thought I'd covered the notion of "slander" above - there is evidence and explication thereof in the link provided above, which I'll also link again here for your convenience in case you decide you still might read it. I think, though, that by rendering judgment without mentioning a word about it, it's fairly clear neither of you cares much about what she teaches and doesn't teach regarding Christology, but nonetheless wish to label these concerns as "slander" without looking at the evidence.

  27. Fr. Mark: One aspect of postmodernism I wish we'd see emphasized more is Derrida's critique of phonocentrism and the "viva voce." I have not spoken with Bishop Katharine in person, but have analyzed numerous texts of hers - not as published by sources which are unsympathetic to her, but rather sources like the Episcopal News Service, NPR, CBS, etc.. I am happy that you were able to see her in person and have an opinion of her on this ground; I would suggest, however, that a few minutes of personal conversation with her also does not invalidate the printed matter which relates her sermons, interviews, and other publicly available materials. You may be very thoroughly convinced of something based on an impression from a personal encounter; but it is also important that she, and the church, face up to the facts of what she has been teaching.

    I agree that much of what has been written about her seems to be swatting at statements which in themselves are not particularly significant or harmful. I have been profoundly disappointed, for example, by some of the criticisms brought to bear upon her by the American Anglican Council and by Archbishop Akinola. There are statements criticized there which I myself easily could make, and perhaps even have made. I don't think I am the "conservative" that you make me out to be. But like the Latitudinarians in their time, I am quite willing to rise to the defense when it comes to the very core of the gospel - though I aspire always to remain so in a dialogical and respectful manner.

    It is indeed to possible to make statements which are damaging, or deny an important truth, as I believe you are accusing me here of doing - and thus, is it a sin then to call these to question, and when the damage is great, stipulate precisely what that damage is? That is what I believe that I am doing here. If it is though, why do you then criticize me as engaging in "slander," is this not the same sin? Let me remind you of the criticism of certain statements of Archbishop Akinola - do you think that all parties should have refrained from calling attention to them, for general prevention of small-mindedness?

    (continued below)

  28. Fr. Mark (cont'd):
    Just so, these are statements which I believe do constitute a denial of the doctrines of the divinity of Christ and the resurrection, and as such, we should do what we can to call Primate Schori to accountability, and indeed The Episcopal Church, and the Communion as a whole. I don't think any chief leader of a prominent church claiming to be Trinitarian has denied these things since the council of Nicea, in the way that she has. So this is actually a rather historic moment, in some respects, we may be entering into a new era of the church.

    My position is, I think, in many ways like the much-maligned Latitudinarians - I choose to refrain from significant criticism on some issues where I believe we need a thorough-going tolerance and respect, even where these issues are contrary to what I personally believe about such matters. Remember, the Latitudinarians argued in their day against the Anglo-Catholics for the inclusion of the Dissenters, and allowances for them to partake in the eucharist, and in political office as well.

    It seems that today, however, the "Puritans" who we want to remove from the church are those who insist that such basic things as the divinity of Christ, and the resurrection, are important. I recognize that this is not your intent, but it is vitally important that we realize what we are doing when we are defending Schori too vehemently. We could be, inadvertently, removing from the church those who do hold these doctrines dear, and aren't willing to replace them with "versions" or "interpretations" of "the resurrection" and "the divinity of Christ" which amount to no more than semantic play with an essentially agnostic version of a social agenda. The agenda may be good, but it is essential that we somehow insert God back into the equation - and not merely a sacred-sounding three-letter word beginning with "G," with insinuations in our teaching that this word has no reality outside of our social platform.

    I would argue, like those Latitudinarians of old, that these Puritans who insist that the divinity of Christ and the resurrection are important - that we need them in our church; and if this requires some criticism of church leaders who deny these teachings in order to keep them in the church, let us not cringe or accuse when that criticism is brought to bear. Those church leaders who are so critiqued may have adequately generous and liberal spirits to profit from it.

  29. Fr. Malcolm: Let me preface this remark by saying that I realize that time is limited, in comments we often tend to swing epithets around, and I understand that you are not being malicious and simply participating in a tradition that's arisen in the last few years of blog commenting. Nonetheless, here goes. You are accusing me of slander and then insinuating that either I don't know about "Anglicanism," or that I am lying. I nowhere state that these bodies have "jurisdiction" to "enforce." I am not sure about the specific canon law and other constitutional prerequisites regarding the removal of the TEC people from these ecumenical panels, but it appears to have been researched by canon lawyers, and you aren't providing any specific evidence here. Presiding Bishop Griswold of TEC was present at the emergency primates meeting of 2003 and, together with the other primates, affirmed the conclusions of that meeting. The rest has followed since, and a TEC primate was present at the other primates' meetings, and with the other primates, affirmed those conclusions. So this is simply acting on a mandate created by, amongst other persons, TEC Presiding Bishop Griswold and TEC Presiding Bishop Schori. Either of them could have dissented or withdrawn consent during the meetings they attended. The Primates meeting may also call upon a province to take a particular action, however "binding" one might interpret this bodies' pronouncements to be.

    And as I pointed out above, this does not bode well with your very simplistic ad-hominem-like characterizing my remarks as "slander," when they are amply documented, and you, as everyone does, have the opportunity of rebutting the analysis provided. This is not enlightened, dialogical, listening discourse; it's more characteristic of the bigotry which is increasing on both sides of a rather polarized church. I recognize the circumstances make this more common, but I would implore you to consider more profitable ways of engaging in discourse.

  30. Fr. Mark,

    This is something I think you also should know, if you are inclined to trust Schori - so much that apparently you can't even bring yourself to consider the possibility she has said the things she has. It is quite possible that she fraudulently influenced the election that resulted in her attaining the position of Presiding Bishop. At the very least, she did not warn General Convention when it was presented with materials which were highly deceptive about her accomplishments. See this article. If you value democratic process, you may find you are less likely to find her a credible witness; though I agree with you, she can make a very convincing appearance. I think she is very skilled at telling people what is most likely to influence them into accepting whatever it is she wishes them to accept at the moment. I also think she is, in general, a very caring person. But I think that you will agree that for the position she holds, more integrity is desirable.

  31. James, the issue is not what the Eames Commission, the Primates Meeting or the Lambeth Conference concluded. It's pretty clear what they concluded and no one is disputing any of these things.

    However, to use these as a justification for the anti-American actions of last week necessarily presumes that these conclusions had some form of juridical authority to which the provinces of the Communion were canonically obliged to submit. This is patently false. Indeed, over the years there were many formal attempts to accord that sort of conciliar authority to the Lambeth Conference - and such attempts were consistently rejected. Thus the canonical status of Lambeth and the rest of these bodies is exactly as Archbishop Longley said:

    "It should be distinctly understood," said Archbishop Longley, "that at this meeting no declaration of faith shall be made, and no decision come to which shall affect generally the interests of the Church, but that we shall meet together for brotherly counsel and encouragement.... I should refuse to convene any assembly which pretended to enact any canons, or affected to make any decisions binding on the Church.”

  32. On your other point, James, I will observe that I rarely used Pravda or Isvestia to judge the political doings of the capitalist west. Neither did I use the John Birch Society as a reliable source to understand the state of things in the Soviet Union. In general, propaganda pieces will "prove" what they set out to prove.

    One can certainly prove that Jefferts Schori (why can't you people ever get her name right, btw - is it stupidity or bad manners?) is "heretical" by taking sentences out of context, parsing them uncharitably and reading untold layers of meaning. Of course, one can similarly prove most anything that way.

    I've looked at your "proof," and your "proof" is no proof at all. Merely another "conservative" brief.

    Certainly there are those one the "reappraiser" side whose theology is fluffy at best and dubious at worst. The same can be said of the reasserter side - which seems rife with Donatists at the very least. There was a "prophetic utterance" from Archbishop Duncan a year or so ago that actually led me to wonder about his mental state.

    But sorry, lad. Your "proof" is at least as vapid as some of the writings it condemns.

  33. Thanks for looking at it, Malcolm. Unfortunately we don't have much to go on here though, you may be unconvinced and find it vapid, but we're also not engaging in dialog when your response to a 12-page paper is simply "well I don't like it and it's vapid and it doesn't prove anything." I appreciated the bit of rhetorical lacing referencing Pravda and the John Birch Society, it at least spiced your prose up some.

    You should read about the Dontaist controversy sometime - what the Donatists suggested, what "the good guys" (seems we're falling into the black hat / white hat type debate) required of those who they believed had sinned - it involved removal until repentance had taken place (and even after repentance had taken place, exclusion from many aspects of the community for a number of years).

    From my reading of Augustine and the history surrounding the Donatist heresy, I was actually quite astonished that some in TEC were calling their opponents "Donatists." One needs only to read a page or two of that history to understand why. Augustine leaves no ground for inclusion in the community of those who are unrepentant, and was quite "strict." No one in the Anglican community is suggesting anything remotely close to the strictness of Augustine here - i.e., the "good guys" in the debate - not to mention anything like the position of the Dontatists.

    I think we're probably done here though, this discussion has probably run its course; we're not engaging in dialog very much.

    Re. your last note on Langley and the formation of the Lambeth Conference - yes, that is an important founding ground of the Lambeth Conference. It means all agreements need the consensus of the provinces they effect - i.e., we can't place restrictions on Province A, unless Province A's representative says, "ok I agree, this is reasonable." The point I made above was: in the Primates meetings, this is exactly what occurred: the TEC Primate agreed. So the mandates also came from the TEC Primates. You will need to bring more to the table in terms of canon law regarding the removal of TEC's representatives from the ecumenical gatherings - Langley's quote is nice, but it is not so broad as to cover the intricacies of such things, and we have the opinions of Lambeth's canon lawyers here.

    Michael, you seem to be throughly bound up in a kind of group-think, your words are also the types which divvy people up into groups. Not everyone falls nicely into a "group." One might insist that it's important that Jesus rose from the dead, and that Jesus is the Son of God - and that our church leaders should not teach contrary to these things - while not committing one's self to any position regarding sexuality. But with you it seems we all have to belong to parties and we are all pre-determined in somehow doing those same things that these parties do.

    I'd encourage you to consider a bit more diversity and to open your mind to alternative viewpoints.

    And yes, the labels "Donatist," "Puritan", etc., these are being used ad nauseum by ... yes, one side, as is Langley's quote, which has frequently been used by the Episcopal News Service. Note however: this is a good quote, it's the right quote to use in this circumstance, so I won't write you off as a "droid of the left" as it were.

    But still: consider for yourself - how important is the resurrection to you, personally, and what kind of significance would you want it to have for your ministry? How about the divinity of Christ?

    And before you go further in putting your stock in Jefferts-Schori - do read the article on the possible election fraud. This is one which it seems most on the left side of the church have missed. I'm not sure even that Susan Russel knew about it.

  34. PS -

    Malcolm -
    Peter Brown's biography on Augustine is most excellent. The Donatist crisis is a fascinating bit of church history - very sad as well. Before "one side" of the church started using this term, I had actually expected them, at some point or other, to add Augustine's role in the crisis to their general "bones to pick with Augustine" list, since the Donatists were a very poor and socio-economically underprivileged group, and victimization was a very important part of their self-perception. Their very strictness would appeal to those looking for something "authentic," and their opposition to church structures which had proven corrupt was quite "grass-roots" and anti-establishment. There were multiple things which could be interwoven into a compelling narrative as long as a few crucial facts were omitted.

    I was wrong, and I am happy that when the debate is used in rhetoric, that it isn't assumed that Augustine was "the black hat" guy, as he is often maligned - sometimes correctly, when it comes to particular views regarding the human faculties and women - but then incorrectly when it is assumed that this is somehow a moment of evil origin of overall supression of women. One needs only read Augustine's accounts of his mother to bring Augustine's attitudes regarding women more into context.

    Mark -
    With Malcolm it's "Donatists", with Mark it's "Puritans" - there's something rather predictable here, but let's talk Puritans. Yes, the atrocities, the atrocities. Few won't have heard about the Salem witch burnings. This is all that some know. But wouldn't it be nice if our opinions on the Puritans were historically grounded and a bit more robust than just this? Did you know that Milton affirmed the position of inherent goodness of sexual relations (contrary to the teaching of his time), by implying that Adam and Eve engaged in intercourse before the fall? I know that Leland Ryken has written extensively on the Puritans, though I must admit that I haven't read much in this area. If we don't understand the Puritans, and simply write them all off as evil and intolerant - we are all the more likely to become the prey of some other, new version of prejudice, since we have not understood the social tensions which led to such utter excesses.

  35. Nice bit of revisionism, James.

    The statements of a Lambeth Conference or a Primates Meeting reflect the view of the participants. Historically, that has been the consensus view and involved many participants being prepared to compromise. Schori and Hutchinson made the error of assuming this was still the case long after consensus had been replaced with majoritarianism.

    But agreeing that the statement reflects the collective mind of the participants does not constitute an agreement to impose that consensus on any province. The statements of the Primates are pious (or perhaps impious) opinions, neither more nor less. The willingness of "reasserters" to twist the juridical facts to support their authoritarian desires is really quite astonishing.

    Of course, this leaves aside the subsidiary question of what authority the American and Canadian Primates have to bind their provinces by their own fiat. Just because some of the usual suspects can act like monarchial prince-bishops doesn't mean every province is stuck in the same late-medieval construction.

    On the other matter, your grasp of Donatism and the subtleties of the controversy seems about as vague as your grasp of Anglican polity at the Communion level. That is not intended as a compliment.

  36. And BTW, you have falsely misrepresented my critique of your "proof." My criticism was specific and far more detailed that "I don't like it."

    As with your arguments here, your "proof" takes statements out of context and reads into them interpretations which are simply not demonstrable. Rather like the way you lot on the far right turn even the mildest criticism of Israeli foreign policy into the slander of anti-Semitism.

  37. Malcolm,

    It's odd that you are using "proof" with quotes - I just did a search in this document, and I never use the word - it sounds rather like you are trying to impute to me stronger language than I actually use. My word was "evidence" - I look at the evidence, I contextualize it, I interpret it. You apparently find this lacking, my point is you are specific in the qualities you find missing as a whole, but you do not defend your view as to why you find these missing. It would be helpful all-around if you were to find errors in logic, where steps were taken which are unwarranted. This you do not do.

    I see now that the reference to "Pravda" etc. etc.. is regarding reading a source about the possible election fraud. I would like to show you another source, but the TEC loyalist faction seems to have chosen to ignore this completely - I find no references to it. However - if you object to even reading a source on TEC outside of the established TEC loyalist camp, I can give you this link to the document, on the church's own site: - and you can see if there are any schools of theology in Corvallis named "The Good Samaritan School of Theology" - - and though that may not be "proof," it should be a good prima facie indication that something may be amiss.

    I don't think I claim "proof" in the article either - I simply ground things soundly enough that it becomes warranted to make the claim that the Presiding bishop denies the doctrines of the resurrection and the divinity of Christ; and I think, also soundly enough defeat the motions to the contrary which I have seen so far. You are of course free to bring forward your own motion, or to find weaknesses in the individual arguments - but you do need to be more specific than you are being now.

    And I would add: you do not know which "lot" to which I belong, and it does your own "lot" no good to assume that it is only the "far right lot" etc. etc. that is concerned about Christology, or about transparency and fraud in election processes.

  38. The best proof against your "electoral fraud" slander is that even the rest of the far right know that dog won't hunt. If it had even a scintilla of credibility, VenomOnline and the rest of the usual suspects would be parrotting it abroad along with Obama's pretendy Kenyan birth certificate.

    On the PB's alleged heresies, all you have presented is the same old hash of comments takien out of context with novel interpretations read into them. When you present real evidence, I'll consider responding to it. In the meantime, I'm not prepared to treat slander, libel and hysteria as though it's worth a rational response. I've got more important things to do.

  39. Malcolm,
    David Virtue did publish this, that's where it was first published (to my dismay, because I frequently don't like his tone). It was also picked up by other sources, but never rebutted by TEC. This was back in 2006, of course. The evidence here is right under your nose in the form of links - maybe lying on one's CV as presented by the National Church as one's accomplishments isn't really "electoral fraud," perhaps it's more just "electoral manipulation," but I hope we can agree on at least that point?

    I go to great length in contextualizing the PB's remarks - I have not called them "heresies" - and provide in both cases the full-text source materials. These are indeed the same comments as presented by Archbishop Akinola to the ABC (in a document which I found very disappointing, for a number of reasons) in an open letter, so yes, they have been known from some time. It takes some contextualization and explication to determine whether they are, indeed, "what they look like." And I think the evidence of context shows us very clearly: yes, they are exactly what they look like.

  40. I should add in case you missed it:
    The "evidence" in the links are in the original document, hosted on the site of the Episcopal Church - and a telephone book site searching Corvallis, Oregon for the word "Good Samaritan." This should be enough for you to admit that there is at least a good prima facie case; and that it would behoove TEC to either investigate, or provide further explanation. After all, Schori received the document, and we have no record of her having called upon the delegates of General Convention to notice this important deception. Neither of these links are to VirtueOnline.

    On another note - though I sometimes thoroughly despise David Virtue's tone, I must admit: he has become an important news source, one of the most important independent news sources on TEC. A modicum of academic training helps one add that dose of salt needed in interpretation and sift the opinion from the fact - but the fact, when checked, tends to be quite reliable, as far as news reporting on religion goes. I'd rate it as a much more "careful" and substantial source in reporting facts than The Guardian - if there are qualifications in context, they are frequently noted. But I wouldn't suggest you visit it, it would simply anger you.

    I can understand how you might be this angry if you only read the ENS about the Episcopal Church; it would seem like TEC is not unlike the suffering Palestinian children and that the nasty rest of the Communion is stealing its bread. I also wish I could point you to a source of news on TEC that's more comprehensive, but not marred by snarky comments or "Gotcha" type headlines. There are none. Covenant-Communion comes to mind, but it's not exactly a news source. The Living Church is good, but doesn't provide enough web content.

  41. Still looking. Nothing to see.

    Of course, if we point out the manner in which all of this schismatic behaviour from the GAFCONites is financed by extremists in the US, you don't care to pay any mind to that. If we point to Orombi's effective admission of how he's been bought ("all that money!!"), you don't care about that.

    No, this is all about beating up on the girl and trashing the queers. It's all it ever comes to.

    As to Jefferts Schori, I find her theologizing frequently lacking and occasionally vapid. That (to the mercy of 98% of the Communion, both clerical and lay) does not constitue heterodoxy.

  42. Malcolm,

    Why assume again that I am of a specific "party" and not concerned by e.g. Orombi or extremist financing issues? I've seen the Orombi quotes, yes; they were taken out of context. We could put them back into context if you like. You seem to have read some pieces by Canon Jim Naughton. I have read these as well. The Arhamson financing was, to say the least, controversial. However, you'll see that Naughton's piece doesn't go to the pains of contextualizing Orombi's words, nor even offering possible alternative explanations, as I do.

    I accept that you may not be convinced by the article, but I'm happy that you've read it, and I hope more of the Communion gives pause to thinking about cooperation with TEC.

    You continue to think that I have something against women or gays. I should probably close with this:

    If one wants to begin a movement in a Trinitarian church with a sexual ethic other than one like Lambeth I.10, one should do a great deal to investigate TEC's Christology first, as practiced by those in pulpits, especially in its upper tiers. One needn't make the compromises which are abundantly clear within TEC if one wishes to do this, and following such a compromised body in the hope of establishing an alternative sexual ethic will likely taint the whole movement.

  43. As a newcomer to this blog, and a priest member of the Anglican Church of New Zealand, I find the contribution of 'James' to be somewhat defamatory - of the theology of the Presiding Bishop of TEC, The Most Revd Katharine Jefferts-Schori.

    Having followed the career of Bp. Katharine since her election as P.B., I have been impressed with her ability to ignore the sort of defamation that people like 'James' - while yet moving on with the implementation of a catholic and reformed outlook towards Gospel outreach to ALL people - regardless of race, religion, sex, gender or political affilation - in so far as the eirenic tenets of the New Testament direct us.

    I was present last evening at Solemn Evensong in the Church of St. Michael & All Angels, in the Diocese of Christchurch, N.Z., where Katharine was warmly welcomed as Preacher (she wore her mitre, as a Bishop of the Church, accompanied in procession by the local Maori Bishop). Her sermon was one of the most inspiring I have ever heard - which spoke of the need of Christians to be open to all people in the name of Christ - without fear or favour - this, surely was the original message of the Gospel.

    At the reception later, the people greeted her warmly - as befitting a Leader in the Church. There was no doubt among the congregation that Bp. Katharine has been called to a special reconciling mission in the Church - towards the World for which Christ died. May God Bless her ministry.

  44. I do find these comments about The Presiding Bishop of ECUSA a bit one sided!!!!!!

    The position is almost like it is a given that one must accept the position that those of Homosexual and lesbian persuasion, must have a right to both some type of "church sanctioned"
    relationship and that if they or one of them is in orders, that they have some automatic right to be able to stay in that relationship and stay in ministry!!!!!!!

    This is a position that i totally reject!!!!!!
    I have never seen an argument that would convince me of

    1. That those in same sex relationships have any claim to a relationship that can be either blessed by the church, or sanctioned as Valid or
    equal to MARRIAGE.

    2. That those in ministry, of any tradition ie Christian Church can really claim to be fulfilling "the will of Christ" by approving of same sex relationships or those who are Homosexual or Lesbian and living in that kind of relationship can be in ordain ministry!!!!

    unless they are celebate!!!!!!

    It is neither self evident or reasonable and it is essentially an argument from silence!!!!!

    The positive affirmation of women in ministry is i believe an argument supported by a large body of scripture in the new testament.

    And the Pauline headship argument is frankly a bit thin!!!!!! The argument for same sex relationships and those in Holy Orders who are in same sex relationships is considerably thinner!!!!!!

    I think the Presiding Bishop of ECUSA is in error as was The Previous one!!!!!!

    I will resist such a position to the last

    As both a Christian and as an Anglican Priest
    in the Anglican Church of Australia, who has always supported the ordination of Women, but opposed same sex relationships and those in Ministry in such relationships.

    I will say this:-

    We are called to be radically engaged in the world around us not Radically compliant to its Culture!!!!!

    Fr Glenn Stewart
    Parish of Corowa
    Diocese of Riverina
    Anglican Church of Australia

  45. Father Ron,

    I can understand that you are inspired by a person who insists that the Gospel is for all people. You have every right to feel that my remarks are somehow "defamatory." I firmly believe that it is everyone's right to exercise the religion of their choice, and I think that probably this is what you and I agree on - maybe this is the "Gospel" you are speaking of - nothing more than the importance of freedom. You and I agree. Freedom is important.

    I am speaking of something different, however. Trinitarian Christians believe in things we call the "resurrection" and the "divinity of Christ." Some persons calling themselves Christians wish to think of themselves believing in "the resurrection," but then take this word to mean: "Today, I'm going to overcome my problems ... or take part in overcoming the world's problems." All fine and well, but this is not the Resurrection for Trinitarian Christians. Or "the divinity of Christ" meaning: "there was once a man who did some very exemplary things, and we would all do better if we loved our neighbours a bit more." I am roundly in accordance with this teaching; only: this is not what Trinitarian Christians mean when they use the words, "the divinity of Christ."

    You are free do do more than express your feelings about what I say, but it is simply more helpful if you engage in collaborative thought, and outline what is wrong with what I say, if you truly believe that "the resurrection" means the bodily resurrection of Christ; and the divinity of Christ to mean what Trinitarian Christians mean.

    That: "the need of Christians to be open to all people in the name of Christ - without fear or favour" - I am also roundly in agreement! However: "this, surely was the original message of the Gospel" - no, I do not agree. This is a consequence of the Gospel - a necessary one, but not its heart. If this is the heart of the Gospel, the word "Christ" simply means an openness to other people. Most agnostics and atheists believe this as well. We have the questions: "open for what? With a message? To listen to them and take upon ourselves their beliefs, or do as they wish of us? Or is this simply telling us to get out and around a little more and listen to people?"

  46. Fr. Ron, continued -

    It sounds to me that you are not yet Trinitarian in belief. I don't mean this as an insult, simply a descriptor. It sounds to me like you are offering some kind of platitudes about what you like about +KJS - and we all agree we need to be open to everyone - but then why are you not open with me, and helpful in rationally dealing with the simple remark, "she denies the resurrection" - instead of closing me out as being "defamatory?" And then, what is the worth of your gospel if you are not practicing it yourself? It sounds like you commit yourself to being open only to those with whom you are in agreement.

    I am most certainly open and listening with regards to +KJS - I have read a great deal of what she says. It simply reveals itself, at times, to be incompatible with Trinitarian Christology. And I most firmly believe that not everyone "has" to believe this.

    The larger question is whether we as Anglicans still wish to be Trinitarian in practice. If not, we should tell those poor, unenlightened Trinitarian churches that we're doing something else these days. It would only be fair. Otherwise it seems like we hate them and are trying to infiltrate and change their beliefs with our various ecumenical exchanges. This is not a nice thing to do and is certainly not "being open" with them. Openness demands that we are honest. As for the article, it is here: A very strong case can be made that Presiding Bishop Schori denies the resurrection and the divinity of Christ.

  47. Fr. Ron,

    I came back to this thread since I realize it was inappropriate for me to express the opinion, "It sounds to me like you are not yet Trinitarian in belief." This statement was accurate but misleading - your words do sound like one who does not care much for church doctrines which many advocate that we discard, and that you are much more interested in bolstering the reputation of a person about whom can at least be said, that a very solid case can be made that she denies the church doctrines of the resurrection and the divinity of Christ.

    That said - I know many have been misled by such things not because they deny Christ, but rather because they feel very strongly about certain sexual issues which +KJS supports. And very likely this is simply the case with yourself. I hope I did not make you excessively angry with this posting.

    However, I do hope it prompts you to think: what do I believe about Christ? Do I believe that He rose from the dead, and that this is important? Or not? Is my mind's "picture" of Christ more like a set of principles like human rights and being a kind, inviting person (very, very good things in themselves), which really has very little to do with what the Church teaches about Christ, other than certain ethical prescriptions? Would I like to be more "in touch" with Christ as a person - would I actually like to turn to Christ and recognize Him, and those utterly important things about Him, which may seem at the moment dark or distant, but which I know are also accessible to me if I open myself to Him - as the faith of so many, and of our church fathers testifies? Or do I wish to maintain a faith in which this is absent? What of my parishoners, do I wish them to believe in these things and turn to Christ, or would I prefer them to believe in the ethical imperatives, and see Christ more as a kind of poetic, mythological figure who calls on them to do these things the church prescribes, and to feel good about themselves?

    These are utterly essential questions - especially in New Zealand.