Friday, April 17, 2009

Former Archbishop of Canterbury says Anglican Communion faced with a "deficit of authority"

Leander Harding is at the The Communion Partners Conference in Houston and reports on a talk by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey:

Lord Carey traced out the historical development of the instruments of communion, The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Lambeth Conference, The Anglican Consultative Conference and The Primates Meeting. Each of these he explained was developed in response to developing crises in the church and out of the desire for a more interdependent communion life. The trajectory of the development of the instruments of communion over the last forty years has been toward interdependence.

In his speech Dr. Carey quoted his predecessor, Archbishop Runcie, to the effect that the communion will either develop along the path of interdependence or fall into dissolution. Only since 2003, Dr. Carey said, has the trajectory toward interdependence been questioned. He asserted with vigor that, “provincial autonomy is not a goal of the church, unity and mission are.”

Lord Carey thought that the authority of all the instruments of communion had been harmed by the current crisis. He noted that power of the Archbishop of Canterbury is that he invites, he presides and he recognizes. The fact that over 300 bishops declined the Dr. Williams invitation to the last Lambeth Conference was a serious blow the office of Archbishop.

Quoting his own son, the journalist Andrew Carey, Lord Carey identified the problem in the Anglican Communion as a “deficit of authority.” He thought the objections to an increased role for the Primates and the Lambeth Conference based on the lack of representation of clergy and laity in those councils an expression of a desire for a kind of church order other than that which Anglicans have received.

Lord Carey said that he had no hesitation about empowering the Primates to have an increased role.
Read it all here.

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