Monday, January 10, 2011

Irish Troubles

Some reflections by me on the forthcoming Primates Meeting in Dublin are published here at Living Church. Hopefully I have covered myself in sufficient blandness to protect me from being convicted of false prophecy. The biblical consequence for that being ... well, you know!

16 comments:

Father Ron Smith said...

"Sure, some Anglicans say their bishops, let alone their primate, do not “speak for them,” but what if bishops and primates are speaking for the silent majority?"

Your question here, Peter, seems to predicate the probablity that the 'silent majority' are in agreement with their local Primates. Certainly, in the case of Africa, specifically, this may very well not be the case.

Your obvious reliance upon Dr. Turner, of the A.C.I., as perhaps your most reliable guide to the future of the Anglican Communion gives us a clear indication of your own thoughts on the matter.

You do not seem to think that the chances of an eirenic outcome from the Primates' Meeting could happen if the TEC Presiding Bishop is allowed to attend. And you do seem critical of the prospect of the Archbishop of Canterbury's call for mutual respect between the Primates, regarding this as some sort of systemic weakness on his part.

On this latter, I guess it might be quite difficult for a Church Leader like Rowan Williams, trying to keep the Communion together - despite his own personal views on the matters at issue - when his predecessor so obviously expressed his own personal partiality towards the conservative leanings of the Global South Provinces.

Whatever transpires from Dublin, one can only pray that the Holy Spirit will rule and direct the hearts and minds of the gathered Primates: to seek the Mind of Christ for the future Communion.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron,
I suggest my question re bishops and primates and the slient majority can be read in another way: what they say should not be dismissed as readily as some commentators seem to do. After all, a primate is a member of a house of bishops, and those bishops represent dioceses, in many cases dioceses which elected them. It is possible that when a bishop or primate speaks, he or she does not speak for themselves alone but for the silent majority of those whom they represent ... even in Africa!

I agree with Philip Turner in having a bleak assessment of the future of the Communion. I think that reasonable: even an eirenic Dublin meeting will be an eirenic meeting without primates of significantly large member churches being present to experience the mutual peace. How would the outcome - any outcome, for good, or ill or indifference - of Dublin be translated into Nigeria and Uganda's situation?

Nevertheless I have made a suggestion as to how the primates might make the best of a difficult situation. In the end no one is a reliable guide to the future of the Communion as choices are being made as meeting succeeds to meeting. And neither Philip Turner nor I nor you nor any commenter here is part of those meetings!!

But with you I join with your prayer for the work of the Holy Spirit in the meeting. Thank you.

Hermano David | Brother Dah • veed said...

After all, a primate is a member of a house of bishops, and those bishops represent dioceses, in many cases dioceses which elected them. It is possible that when a bishop or primate speaks, he or she does not speak for themselves alone but for the silent majority of those whom they represent ... even in Africa!

But should you wish to find it, a few bishops from those provinces elected to quietly go to Lambeth 2008 in spite of sharing that their bishoprics and financial livelihood, including earned pensions, were in threat by those very primates if they attended.

Peter Carrell said...

You are right, David, that in some member churches of the Communion, attempts to portray a 'uniform' approach to an issue have been/are belied by those who march to a different beat. But even in those instances you refer to in your comment, is there evidence that the majority of the member churches concerned are not in support of their primate's views?

Hermano David | Brother Dah • veed said...

But even in those instances you refer to in your comment, is there evidence that the majority of the member churches concerned are not in support of their primate's views?

Truthfully Peter, without the transparency, how would we know? How could we trust, if those sorts of bullying tactics are used against those who do not toe the party line, anything that "officially" comes from that province and its primate.

Anonymous said...

RE: "A possible miracle of Dublin, however, would be for the Primates’ Meeting to find words which honestly and unreservedly acknowledge the depth of our problems and the width of our divisions. Sometimes we can only be saved when we admit we need help."

Peter -- this has already been done. We're on our fourth Primates meeting, aren't we? And each time they have found "words which honestly and unreservedly acknowledge the depth of our problems and the width of our divisions."

I do not see how creating more words will help matters.


Sarah

The Committed, Traditional, Wholly Orthodox, Conservative and Catholic, Yet Centrist and Moderate Blonde Buddhist

Peter Carrell said...

Hi David: I am trusting that African primates are more in line with their people than less.

Hi Sarah: By 'depth' and 'width' I am looking for the primates to acknowledge that the Communion is not a communion any longer because impaired communion is now a broken communion. Without having everyone of recent communiques at my fingertips I am reasonably confident that the primates have never acknowledged the true state of the pickle the Communion is in.

Hermano David | Brother Dah • veed said...

2009
http://www.aco.org/acns/news.cfm/2009/2/5/ACNS4574

2007
http://www.anglicancommunion.org/acns/news.cfm/2007/2/19/ACNS4253

2005
http://www.anglicancommunion.org/acns/news.cfm/2005/2/24/ACNS3948

2003 - May
http://www.anglicancommunion.org/acns/news.cfm/2003/5/27/ACNS3450
2003 - Oct
http://www.anglicancommunion.org/acns/news.cfm/2003/10/16/ACNS3633

Peter Carrell said...

Hi David,
Thank you for those links: very helpful!

I am happy to modify my statement re honest appraisal of the state we are in. I think the Primates got it right in 2003.

But looking at the 2009 statement there is a hope expressed for a deeper communion which now looks rediculous.


With six or is it ten primates not attending, the time is ripe to boldly declare the Communion is not a communion.

Anonymous said...

It's actually rather depressing to read them.

Here's the section from the Dromantine one:

***********
We as a body continue to address the situations which have arisen in North America with the utmost seriousness. Whilst there remains a very real question about whether the North American churches are willing to accept the same teaching on matters of sexual morality as is generally accepted elsewhere in the Communion, the underlying reality of our communion in God the Holy Trinity is obscured, and the effectiveness of our common mission severely hindered.
13. We are persuaded however that in order for the recommendations of the Windsor Report to be properly addressed, time needs to be given to the Episcopal Church (USA) and to the Anglican Church of Canada for consideration of these recommendations according to their constitutional processes.
14. Within the ambit of the issues discussed in the Windsor Report and in order to recognise the integrity of all parties, we request that the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada voluntarily withdraw their members from the Anglican Consultative Council for the period leading up to the next Lambeth Conference. During that same period we request that both churches respond through their relevant constitutional bodies to the questions specifically addressed to them in the Windsor Report as they consider their place within the Anglican Communion. (cf. paragraph 8)
15. In order to protect the integrity and legitimate needs of groups in serious theological dispute with their diocesan bishop, or dioceses in dispute with their Provinces, we recommend that the Archbishop of Canterbury appoint, as a matter of urgency, a panel of reference to supervise the adequacy of pastoral provisions made by any churches for such members in line with the recommendation in the Primates' Statement of October 2003 (xii). Equally, during this period we commit ourselves neither to encourage nor to initiate cross-boundary interventions.
16. Notwithstanding the request of paragraph 14 of this communiqué, we encourage the Anglican Consultative Council to organise a hearing at its meeting in Nottingham, England, in June 2005 at which representatives of the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada, invited for that specific purpose, may have an opportunity to set out the thinking behind the recent actions of their Provinces, in accordance with paragraph 141 of the Windsor Report.
17. In reaffirming the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution 1.10 as the present position of the Anglican Communion, we pledge ourselves afresh to that resolution in its entirety, and request the Anglican Consultative Council in June 2005 to take positive steps to initiate the listening and study process which has been the subject of resolutions not only at the Lambeth Conference in 1998, but in earlier Conferences as well.
18. In the meantime, we ask our fellow primates to use their best influence to persuade their brothers and sisters to exercise a moratorium on public Rites of Blessing for Same-sex unions and on the consecration of any bishop living in a sexual relationship outside Christian marriage.
19. These strategies are intended to restore the full trust of our bonds of affection across the Communion.

************


Sarah

Anonymous said...

Dar is even more depressing to read . . . one must smile at looking at the recommendations.

But I don't see it pulling any punches about acknowledging " the depth of our problems and the width of our divisions."

*****
Since the controversial events of 2003, we have faced the reality of increased tension in the life of the Anglican Communion – tension so deep that the fabric of our common life together has been torn. The Windsor Report of 2004 described the Communion as suffering from an “illness”. This “illness” arises from a breakdown in the trust and mutual recognition of one another as faithful disciples of Christ, which should be among the first fruits of our Communion in Christ with one another.

*******


Sarah

Peter Carrell said...

What is depressing about being given more and more time to change your mind and admit you have been heading down the wrong path, only to find that when you decide that you won't change your mind, no one is left to spell out any consequences? [ :) ]

Anonymous said...

And then, 2009 in Alexandria was pretty flaky, as the Primates showed -- and were simply determined to all nod and smile, since Dar had been so devastatingly sabotaged by the ABC.

Which they did.

Which didn't matter either.

All in all -- all of the tactics have been enacted over the past four Primates Meetings -- we're now going on the fifth, since I had mercifully blotted the Alexandrian "passive aggressive" meeting from my memory.

All of the tactics, that is, except simply refusing to participate in the dysfunctional family gathering any longer.

I liken it to the consequences enacted after the failed intervention. Family members simply go about their separate ways. Some continue enabling the family member in question. Others move on with their lives and no longer show up at the gatherings. As the dysfunction continues and escalates, more and more of the healthier, non-enabling family members depart the gatherings, leaving the gatherings themselves increasingly "crazy-making" for the remaining enablers.


Sarah

Anonymous said...

RE: ". . . only to find that when you decide that you won't change your mind, no one is left to spell out any consequences?"

Well, they weren't going to "change their minds" from the get-go and all of us knew that. So seven years of charade ensued while the ones engaging in the charade pretended as if any minute now the minds would be changed. The only way to stop the charade, in face, is to no longer show up for the meetings at which the charade is acted out.

Plus the consequences were spelled out in the Windsor Report -- remember? And at Dar -- remember?

Only . . . it didn't matter because the man in charge of The Games sabotaged those consequences. Best not to show up for The Games, when his referees and his field and his rules are the ones being used! They could spell out dozens of consequences more -- to no avail.

No, the only consequence that works is to take oneself out of the game -- or the dysfunctional family gathering.


Sarah

Peter Carrell said...

Let me use another analogy, Sarah, to try to express what would be some depth of honesty by the primates: a marriage is dysfunctional, divided, torn, broken up. But neither party can bring themselves to the depth of honesty required in order to utter the "D" (for divorce) word. In the case of the Communion, if things are as bad as they are (but I am prepared to give the primates one final go at working out how they might be better), I would really like to hear the primates utter the 'wanlc' phrase (we are no longer a communion).

My guess is that this will not be said.

Anonymous said...

RE: "I would really like to hear the primates utter the 'wanlc' phrase (we are no longer a communion)."

Ah -- I get it now.

Hmmmm . . .

What do you think that kind of honesty would bring [if anything]?

My guess is that it will be said -- eventually -- by the Primates who don't show up.

But of course -- they would have reason to do so, while those who did show at the meeting would have reason to continue chirping the same delusion!

But I'm not sure of what either side -- or all -- saying this would provide?

Perhaps it is that telling the truth is just a good thing.


Sarah