Friday, November 03, 2006

BabyBlueCafe Reader offers 12 Examples of "Broken Protocol" in Jeffort-Schori Letter to Anglican Archbishops

BB NOTE: It is an interesting group that finds itself dropping into the BabyBlueCafe. Wish I had a few Chai Lattes and Butterbeers for everyone - guess we'll get to to work on that. But a kind and wise old owl dropped in to the cafe last night and left this reflection from one of the patrons of the BB Cafe. Here's a great response to "Broken Protocol" (Click here for original posting). This reader wins the official Goldenrod Award.

12 Examples of Broken Protocol

From the perspective of the PB and her supporters, I'm sure this letter is the very model of humility and hospitality. For that matter, I usually prefer to assume the best about people, especially when they're just beginning the duties of an important church office.

Nevertheless, with your challenge in mind, here are my guesses at how the PB has broken protocol with this letter.

1. She makes what should be a private letter into a public one.

2. By making the letter public, she places the four primates in the awkward position of either accepting her public invitation (which could alienate some of the very conservatives they are coming to meet) or declining it (which could make them look like heavies, as some leftist bloggers already are hoping will be the case).

3. By making the letter public, she turns what could have been a gracious and quiet gesture of hospitality into a vulgar grab at public relations, spin control, and a photo op.

4. There is no discernible order to how she lists the primates. They are not sorted alphabetically by name or nation, and they're not sorted by the dates of their investitures.

5. She addresses the four primates as her peers rather than showing any deference to the length of their tenures.

6. She presumes to lecture the primates about the Millennium Development Goals, especially here: "I would hope we might see the common interest we all have for seeing those Goals met."

7. She insists on using the politically correct "Reign of God," failing to recognize that none of the four primates would use this language in their routine communication.

8. She refers to the expense of the trip, which seems rather patronizing considering that the left believes Howard Ahmanson Jr. and the IRD cover all such expenses anyway. In any case, publicly dragging money into the discussion is boorish.

9. She writes, "I understand that you will be in the United States in mid-November for a gathering in Falls Church, Virginia." This seems like a passive-aggressive way of protesting that the four primates did not notify her of their visit, as Father Jake insists was their duty.

10. She writes, "I hope that during your visit you might be willing to pay a call on me," which places the onus on the four primates to make the journey to New York. (To attempt placing it in a better light, perhaps she's trying to avoid looking like she's inviting herself to Falls Church.)

11. She compounds that error with the next sentence: "If that is a possibility, I hope you will contact this office as soon as possible. I would be more than happy to alter my schedule to accommodate you." Again, the burden is on the four primates to *contact her office* and she will alter her schedule to "accommodate" them. It seems to me she should offer to meet them at the location of their choice -- "Anything, Anytime, Anywhere," to cite the title of a Bruce Cockburn song -- without announcing her grace with a trumpet fanfare.

12. By releasing the letter now, she breaks the protocol of being introduced to the primates in February at Tanzania. (It is not clear which primates will recognize her office *then*, though I expect that a majority of them will, in the interest of basic courtesy.) She acknowledges that she has not yet met all four of these primates, but she acts as if they already are involved in a relationship of some kind. I guess they are, in an abstract
and theological sense, but


Anonymous said...

This is a very stately exposition of the situation, "kind and wise old owl."

The Bruce Cockburn reference connect this back to the vernacular, truly a nice touch.

Anonymous said...

Dear Baby Blue:

Your concern for the minutiae of protocol here is grotesquely misplaced. You seem to forget, or wish not to remember, that this letter is not the first contact between these Primates and Bishop Katharine. The first contacts came from the other side. Your side. And they showed very little concern for protocol -- indeed, they represented a declaration of war.

Your side declared that they could not recognize Bishop Katharine as a Primate or even a Bishop for the whole Communion. Your side demanded APO. Your side called her a heretic and a pagan. Your side called the Episcopal Church -- Bishop Katharine's church -- a cancer on the whole Communion. Your side demanded that the cancer be cut off.

But why rehash all the foul names your side has called her church over the years? Let's talk actions.

Your side plans to join up Dioceses demanding APO with one of these four Primates at the Falls Church meeting. And these Primates have not even deigned officially to inform Bishop Katharine, the Primate of the Episcopal Church, that they are entering her territory, much less that they are planning to seize a half-dozen of her Dioceses and sundry assorted parishes. Yet all the news media have been fully informed of their plans.

Given that situation, her letter is quite remarkably calm and coolheaded.

I think, however, that the letter was sent primarily to clarify the canonicity and legality of the Falls Church APO meet-up. Since the four Primates entering her territory have not yet deigned to acknowledge recepit of her letter, may we presume that they will not? And if they do not, will their episcopal acts (if any) in her territory have any validity? No. And then ...

Now before a dozen flamers fasten on me, please read the following recent decision in a very similar situation. The parish of All Saints, Almancil, (Diocese of Europe, C of E)attempted to affiliate with the ultraconservative breakaway Diocese of Recife. The official statement of findings released by the C of E Diocese in Europe (14 October 2006) said:

“All Saints Anglican Church headed by the Revd Eric Britt is not part of the Church of England Diocese in Europe and therefore it is not part of the Anglican Communion.”


Can we say that parishes affiliating with CANA under the Nigerian Bishop Martyn Minns will therefore not be in the Anglican Communion? Clearly we can. Can we say that Dioceses affiliating at Falls Church with ++Peter Akinola or another one of these Primates will not be part of the Anglican Communion? The Presiding Bishop's letter, and the four Primates' utter disregard of it, are helping us to say that we can.