Friday, July 25, 2008

Lambeth Update: Is something ticking?

George Conger reports from here:

A “bombshell” report is expected to be delivered to bishops attending the 14th Lambeth Conference on July 28 that is expected to call for the Episcopal Church to abandon its push for gay bishops and blessings.

The request is expected to come in the third presentation of the Windsor Continuation Group (WCG) to the bishops at Lambeth and follows a call for the creation of an Anglican Holy Office to police the boundaries of the faith.

Backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Anglican “Faith and Order Commission” will be a fifth instrument of unity for the Anglican Communion.

Plans for were disclosed on July 23 during the second of three briefings on the work of the Windsor Continuation Group (WCG) chaired by the former Presiding Bishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Bishop Clive Handford.

In its briefing paper to the bishops, the WCG commended the creation of an “Anglican Communion Faith and Order Commission that could give guidance on the ecclesiological issues raised by our current ‘crisis’.”

The Anglican Inquisition proposal came in the last sentence of the briefing paper delivered by Bishop Handford to the bishops. “One person said it would be a good thing and welcomed it,” Bishop Handford explained, but noted there was little substantive discussion of the proposal by the bishops.

Created by Dr. Rowan Williams to advise him on “matters arising from the Windsor Report,” the WCG has prepared three briefings for the bishops that asks “Where we are now”, “Where we should be?”, and “How do we get from here to there.”

The first two briefings addressed the “severity of the situation” within the Communion, focusing on the “inconsistency between the stated intent and the reality” of the steps taken by the Episcopal Church to conform to the primates’ request.”

“The implications of requests and responses are either not fully thought through or they are disregarded. The consequences of actions have not always been adequately addressed,” they said.

The first presentation by Bishop Handford also addressed issues of trust. “Positions and arguments are becoming more extreme: not moving towards one another, relationships in the Communion continue to deteriorate, there is little sense of mutual accountability,” the briefing said.

The state of the Episcopal Church was one of “turmoil” the briefing said, with parishes and dioceses seceding to join other provinces, and “litigation and interventions” becoming “locked into a vicious spiral.”

In discussion following the first presentation, 21 bishops spoke, of whom 17 were white Western bishops. Bishop Keith Ackerman of Quincy (Illinois) spoke of the difficulties faced by traditionalists in the United States, while Bishop Peter Beckwith of Springfield (Illinois) enumerated the innovations of doctrine and discipline that have occurred in the Episcopal Church in recent years.

However, the majority of speakers at the closed-door session came from the Episcopal Church’s liberal wing, and argued the American church was being unfairly caricatured. Bishop James Mathes of San Diego complained of cross-border interventions into his diocese by overseas primates, while other bishops suggested the wider Communion did not understand the unique circumstances of the United States.

On July 25, the Bishop of Washington, the Rt Rev John B Chane dismissed comments made by the Primate of the West Indies, Archbishop Drexel Gomez that the American church was unravelling. Archbishop Gomez’s observations were “dishonest”, Bishop Chane told his American counterparts.

The second briefing on July 23 discussed the Covenant process that would establish “communion with autonomy and accountability” for the Anglican provinces. There was a “lack of clarity” about the current instruments of Communion, the Lambeth-Chicago Quadrilateral: the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Council, and the Primates’ Meeting, and their “ecclesiological significance” needed to be reviewed as “whether they are fit to respond effectively to the demands of global leadership.”

A fifth instrument of unity, the Faith and Order Commission should be established to assist the work of the other four bodies, the WCG recommended. Dr Williams said he “didn’t want to be specific” about the new Office, and its inclusion was a “flag raised to see who salutes.”

A “great head of steam was building behind” the Office, and he believed it was necessary to create “another instrument to sort out these issues” facing the Communion.

The archbishop denied suggestions the Office was a start of the curialisation of the Anglican Communion. He was seeking “consent, not coercion,” adding “we will fly farther apart” unless “protocols and conventions” are adopted.

Dr Williams said he had a “sense” that the bishops at Lambeth believed it was “worth working at staying together,” for the “unity and cooperation of the Communion is no small thing.”

Bishop Handford said the first two briefings had been “well received” by the bishops. The presentations were “doing what we hoped they would do” and were “stimulating conversation” amongst the bishops. People were “informally talking with one another.”

Bishops who had seen a draft of the third briefing told it would be a “bombshell” and intimated it would press the Episcopal Church to honor the Windsor Report and Dar es Salaam communiqué.

Bishop Handford declined to comment on the content of the final paper, but said “some may hear something ticking. I don’t know.”

The third WCG paper will be presented to the bishops on July 28.


1662 BCP said...

I shudder to think who will serve as the Grand Inquisitor in the proposed Anglican Holy Office. Perhaps I was taking the Gloria in Excelsis Deo too much in its plain and intended meaning. Once they begin borrowing Roman phraseology ... Holy Office, does that mean we will now have Holy Office Buildings and Holy Office Workers? No, I don't want your five or six or seven Instruments of Unity. Give me the Bible, the 1662 BCP, and the Articles of Religion. Those are sufficient Instruments of Unity. Sounds to me like the Parlor Socialists are yearning for a good old fashioned Stalinist purge. Nothing quite like a good blood-letting to get the day started. Death by a thousand instruments of unity. As for Me and My House, We Will Serve the Lord. They can take their newly minted instruments of unity and put them where Paddy put the shilling as far as I'm concerned!

A Musing Anglican said...

Everyone is getting _way_ too hepped up about all this. It's because everyone is reacting to the frantic reports of Ruth Gledhill and running with them, rather than going and checking on the facts themselves.

I check the facts HERE.

Based, at least, on what has actually been said and produced, the "inquisition" is far from any sort of reality, merely a proposal as a talking-point.

Naturally, the liberals and apostates are spinning the options to sound as alarmist as they can and get everyone paranoid, so that whatever final proposal emerges will be as watered-down as possible.

Obviously, they are succeeding.

LP... finally blogging
(Check out the convenient feed collector on my blog which lists current headlines and posts from over a dozen Anglican blogs (including BabyBlue) and news sites.)

Hening said...

Nobody expects the Anglican Inquisition!!!!

Tregonsee said...

Taking this at face value, for discussion purposes only, it seems yet another fudge to justify +Cantuar doing nothing. Let the Commission do it!

Anonymous said...

A primatial curia with Calvinist theology...

Jesus wept.

Padre Wayne

Hening said...

>A primatial curia with Calvinist >theology...

There you go again.....
Predestination does not equate to homosexuals dictating scriptural meaning based on their lack of self control.

Even Arminian theology has a problem with same sex bump and grind.

Allen said...

It can all go away with a statement from the ABC like this:

"I will recognize dioceses to be in communion with Canterbury if they subscribe to this Instrument of Unity."

Let Chane gag on that one.