UPDATE Ross Douthat kind, sorta agrees with me! Read him here .
A superb address from ++Welby at the beginning of ACC-16 in Lusaka repays some attention, especially around the concept of "reception" in connection with "common discernment." Here, for instance, is a key passage:
"The Anglican Communion only works when the relationships within it are good enough to permit a common discernment of the way in which we are being led by the Spirit. And historically this has been seen in what is often called reception."
In other words, get beyond the legal machination of which Instrument of Communion can or cannot tell another instrument what to do and ask what the Spirit is saying and how is that being heard in common. A divided Communion is the only result of that legal protestation. A united Communion is a possibility if we resolve to walk together and to work together.
++Justin gives a masterful insight into what the Primates achieved and into what they might have failed to do.
(Incidentally the address is also a significant summary of Communion history and of Anglican engagement with an ever changing world!)
Meanwhile, also overnight in Kiwi terms, Pope Francis has released his much anticipated exhortation re marriage and family life, Amoris Laetitia, building on the discussions and deliberations of two recent Synods.
The full text is available here.
The Catholic Herald has a report here with links, including this link to a handy five key sections.
Now there is much to discuss here and we may or may not be able to come back to this document at ADU. But I note this as a point of commonality with ++Justin's address. The Herald general report on the document cites this passage:
"“Neither the Synod nor this Exhortation could be expected to provide a new set of general rules, canonical in nature and applicable to all cases. What is possible is simply a renewed encouragement to undertake a responsible personal and pastoral discernment of particular cases.”"
It strikes me that this is Roman-speak for (1) an evolving common mind of the church which places more weight than previously on local decision-making; (2) to avoid schism there will be no sudden change of the rules and regulations as printed in current documents but there are other ways to evolve doctrine than risky ventures in explicit changes. That is, Rome is also saying, in its own way,
"The [Roman] Communion only works when the relationships within it are good enough to permit a common discernment of the way in which we are being led by the Spirit. And historically this has been seen in what is often called reception."
What do you think?