Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Yes, we Anglicans can discipline each other when we want to

Some opponents of the Covenant rip it because it is 'punitive'. Some proponents of the Covenant (myself included) prefer to emphasise the disciplinary possibilities of the Covenant: that is the ability of the Covenant to enable the Communion to insist on limits to diversity, consequences for moving too far or too fast in respect of matters of common life, all with a view to better learning what it means to be a Christian within the life of the Communion. But even such a considered perspective on being a disciple of Christ is opposed. 'Discipline' as well as 'punishment' can be made to sound like very bad things which Anglicans in particular should have as little to do with as possible.

The simple fact is that Anglicans do discipline each other, do understand that some things are intolerable in the conduct of Anglicans, and do hold to standards of behaviour and belief for which there are consequences if an infraction occurs.

Even an Anglican bishop can be disciplined, believe it or not. +Pete Broadbent, much reported around the world, as noted in posts below, has said things about the Royal Family which are intolerable and (IMHO) inaccurate and unfair. Despite apologising, he is now suspended* from his ministry according to this report in which a letter from the Bishop of London is published.

The question is not whether we are capable of discipline, or whether the will to discipline lies in our corporate Anglican character. We are and it does. The question is what we consider to be the line beyond which discipline lies and behind which it does not.

*Legally he has not been suspended as that would require a specific process according to church law, but the bishop's letter says, 'I have asked him to withdraw from public ministry until further notice.' That, practically, is suspension.

16 comments:

Hermano David | Brother Dah • veed said...

Peter, it is one thing for the bishop to whom he answers, whom he represents in his own episcopal office to chastise or discipline him. As well, the church who made him a bishop in the Church of God.

But your church has no business disciplining my church or anyone in my church while here in Mexico serving in my church. And my church has no business disciplining any other Anglican church.

And I will resist that idea as much as possible to keep it from happening.

Some proponents of the Covenant (myself included) prefer to emphasise the disciplinary possibilities of the Covenant: that is the ability of the Covenant to enable the Communion to insist on limits to diversity, consequences for moving too far or too fast in respect of matters of common life...

Over my dead body!

Kurt said...

Well, if some folks were waiting for an “official” notification that a formal split in the Anglican Communion has occurred, here it is:

http://www.gafcon.org/news/oxford_statement_from_the_gafcon_fca_primates_council


Kurt Hill
Preparing for Thanksgiving dinner
In Brooklyn, NY

Canon Neal said...

David,

I agree with Peter. However, I would not call his (and my) view of the Covenant as interfering in the internal life of an individual province. An individual province would still be free to continue whatever course of action it chooses. However, if the larger Communion fails to recognize that as within the norm of Anglicanism, the larger Communion would by some means distance itself from those actions. As +Rowan said, we must be able to communicate to others what is recognizably Anglican.

We can't just go around saying, "Because I am doing thus-and-so, and I am an Anglican, it must be Anglican."

It really is a matter of an organization--in this instance, the Anglican Communion--being able to define itself.

So, would you have Sydney be able to have lay people to lead the Eucharistic service and still be considered Anglican? Is there any actions that are un-Anglican?

Peter Carrell said...

Thanks for comments!
Canon Neal: you hit the nail on the head.

Kurt: thanks for the link. Not that it is news I want to hear!

David: your own words might trouble you, perhaps? A bishop is a bishop in 'the church of God' not in a local autonomous patch walled off from outside interest and (possible) interference.

Hermano David | Brother Dah • veed said...

David: your own words might trouble you, perhaps? A bishop is a bishop in 'the church of God' not in a local autonomous patch walled off from outside interest and (possible) interference.

Until you get to the Chicago/Lambeth Quadrilateral.
4. The Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the unity of His Church.
Which kind of sounds like yes, a bishop is a bishop for the "local autonomous patch walled off from outside interest and (possible) interference."

Peter Carrell said...

That is precisely the problem, David! That is, what does 'local adaptation' mean? The Covenant means we Anglicans are saying, we recognise that the global Communion may have a view on a local understanding of 'local adaptation.'

Hermano David | Brother Dah • veed said...

The Covenant means we Anglicans are saying, we recognise that the global Communion may have a view on a local understanding of 'local adaptation."

No, the Covenant says that some of you on the global level want to have a say in the local understanding of "local adaptation." And the rest of us are saying, "Butt out. You do not have a say."

Bryden Black said...

In ny humble opinion (sic) THE Text here is quite simply Phil 2:1-13. Follow dear St Paul here and it's all done! Trouble is: we don't want to ... Follow the baptismal nuance of v.5, that is ...!

Canon Neal said...

David,

The issue of what things are appropriate to "local adaptation" and what things are not available for "local adaptation" is precisely what the Windsor Report has in mind when it speaks of adiaphora (permissible for local adaptation) and subsidiarity (decisions should be made at the lowest possible level).

The bishops at Lambeth in 1998 determined that sexual ethics is not adiaphora, and is therefore not subject to local adaptation.

I think they are also saying that if you want to hold the view that such matters are adiaphora, then you will likely be happier as a Lutheran than as an Anglican, for they have a confederationist ecclesiology.

Hermano David | Brother Dah • veed said...

The bishops at Lambeth in 1998 determined that sexual ethics is not adiaphora, and is therefore not subject to local adaptation.

First off, for many of us in Anglican churches, Lambeth is a tea party, a retreat for bishops to study, pray, socialize, connect and vacation. It is not an ecumenical council of an Anglican Church, nor a synod. It has no authority and as far as we are concerned will never have authority.

Second, it was an example of just what fundamentalist puritans are capable of, they kidnapped the process and threw a number of years of reasoned work and consultation out the window and ramrodded through the emission known as 1998 10.1. A glorious foretaste of what would happen if this infernal Covenant is forced upon us all, the lies of reasoned discourse in our future guaranteed by the likes of +Rowan, not withstanding.

Peter Carrell said...

Except, David, this tea party essentially confirmed what is taught in Scripture as affirmed by the church at large through 2000 years, and by the majority of Christian churches in this generation. The point of Lambeth 1.10 is not actually undermined by claims of a hijacked process etc (which itself is an interesting claim given the general sanity and intelligence of the +tea drinkers!) The point of Lambeth 1.10 is undermined when we ask if a general council of the Anglican church, representative of all opinions, races, genders, and orders would overturn it and get the answer 'Yes.' Much evidence points to 'No, the teaparty verdict still represents the broad understanding of the Communion.'

Hermano David | Brother Dah • veed said...

Much evidence points to 'No, the teaparty verdict still represents the broad understanding of the Communion.

Again Peter, you rely on numbers to undergird your cause. However, you base your numbers on the big mouthed African crybaby primates. You do so because they are the primates of the handful of African mega-provinces. So because they are the primates of these huge provinces you make the leap that their lay constitutes, who are the real membership, are of the same opinion.

Again for the umpteenth time, we have put the lie to that logic. Missionaries on the ground in these provinces, as well as the handful of bishops who snuck away and attended Lambeth, confirm that not to be the case. Most of these folks have no opinion on the matter, and certainly are not wanting to throw out the resources from TEC and her sister churches just because the well fed, Uncle Tom leaders in the upper echelon of self perpetuating Good Old Boys network scream and cry and stamp their feet.

Perhaps these fat African primates and Archbishops should take a look at their counterparts in East Asia and Latin America, where the leadership are as poor and as thin as their constituents. Were there not such a noticeable difference in these overweight blowhards and the actual starving membership of their churches, and were they not always going on about how much money that they get from their Global North puritan handlers they might have a bit of credibility.

When these guys sound off, and they are all guys, I hear the echos of tombs painted white, filled with the bones of the dead.

ACANZP is never going to side with GAFCON, and you know it. So when are you and your buddies going to open your Anglican Church Down Under (à la ACNA) franchise?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi David,
Of course ACANZP is not going to 'side' with GAFCON; nor is there any current plan by anyone here (least of all me) to set up an ACNA-Down Under. But that does not mean that our church is about to side against Lambeth 1.10, Windsor, and now the Covenant; nor is Australia; and quite a few other churches, whether or not their bishops are portly or thin!

Your analysis of the global Anglican understanding of marriage and human sexuality does not seem to allow for the possibility that the laity, whether in the heartland of Nigeria or New Zealand, might actually have a view on what Scripture teaches about these things, and that collective view might be resistant to progressive change as far as TEC has advanced that, even as it is also resistant collectively to going the way of GAFCON.

Such an understanding is, I think, a better explanation of why the Communion has not rejected Lambeth, Windsor or the Covenant than what is implied in your excoriation of some African primates!

Hermano David | Brother Dah • veed said...

Of course Peter, I allow that to be the possibility. I allow the possibility that I stand among a minority. Perhaps even a very small minority.

My point is that it is claimed to be the truth. And yet no one has actually done the research, they just constantly make the claim that it is true. Which, until they have the data in hand to back the claim, makes the claim a lie, as far as I am concerned. But what data we have garnered on the ground does not support that that is the position of the people when given the freedom to express their actual feelings, as opposed to African clergy and bishops who report that they are threatened with loss of employment and pension by dictatorial arch-prelates if they deviate from the party line.

It may or may not be a majority, but I would wager Peter that a significant number of both ACANZP and ACAustralia would side against 1989 10.1. Especially when offered the history of the violent highjacking of the process that resulted in 10.1 and then offered the well moderated approach of the original work that 10.1 highjacked. And I think that you know in your heart that the majority of Aussies and Kiwis defiantly stand against the likes of 1989 10.1. And they are the future of your church, if it has one. You might also look into a whole tikanga or your church and her primate, who is a degreed sociologist. As do many aboriginal cultures, the island folk of the Pacific do not share your negative stance on GLBT folk.

If the Puritans highjacked process once, nothing guarantees from the Covenant that they will not do it again. Father Terry Martin went to the Lambeth Commentary of the St Andrews draft of the Covenant and extracted the possibilities of "relational consequences."

These relational consequences might include:
• a determination that no action may be necessary
• a request to enter a process of informal dispute resolution (such as mediation, arbitration and reconciliation)
• a request for self-restraint or remedial action or renunciation of the action
• an offer to register a conscientious objection
• warnings about the effects of a covenant breach
• a request to examine conscience about participation in roles formally representing the Anglican Communion
• a request to resign from roles formally representing the Anglican Communion
• non-invitation to the Lambeth Conference
• a request not to attend a particular meeting of an Instrument of Communion
• suspension (or termination) of voting rights in the Instruments of Communion
• suspension (or termination) of participation at meetings of the Instruments of Communion
• removal from the ACC Schedule of Membership
• removal of signatory Church from covenant list
• declaration that the actions of the Church(es) involved are/would be incompatible with the faith, unity and/or mission of the Communion
• a recommendation to other Provinces of the Communion about their relationships with the Church to which the consequence applies
• a request to the Provinces to respond individually to the situation of the non-complying Church(es)
• breaking of ecclesial communion and a walking apart


They have shown us their true colors time and again; see "the Chapman Memo," see "Following the Money.". I do not trust their fat assets as far as I could throw them.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi David
Without statistical surveys I agree that making judgements re 'the majority' here, in Nigeria, across the Communion has an element of speculation. Nevertheless I think it significant to observe what General Synods have and have not done through these years. Here and in Australia we seem to have refrained from defiant condemnation of Lambeth 1.10 even as we have not received it warmly. Is the majority somewhere in 'the centre'?!

Hermano David | Brother Dah • veed said...

Is the majority somewhere in 'the centre'?!

I think that it is. In fact the church in Central America proudly declares itself a part of the Anglican Center. They are unwilling to align with the puritanism of GAFCON, even the more tame units of GAFCON. They are also of no mind to server ties of affection and ministry to North American churches.

Peter I think that is where the true silent majority of the Anglican Communion lies, in the Center, and at the same time distancing themselves from GAFCON, but unwilling to server association with TEC or ACCanada.

*And who can blame them, almost all of that church was former TEC missionary dioceses, as was my church.