Sunday, June 20, 2010

Creatively Anglican in being church

There are some crazy things being said on the internet as the full impact of the meeting between Canon Kearon and TEC's Executive Council is being digested. MidWestConservative has a couple of zingy posts which highlight some, well, let's call them, 'interesting responses'. Here and here. A Stand Firm posting also gathers up the harvest of 'interesting responses' here. But the crazy element I think is in making the move from the mildest discipline imaginable being applied to errant member churches of the Communion (inhibition of involvement in two forms of meetings) to ++Rowan is acting as Pope of the Communion (with 'Pope' not being a good kind of leader).

It is quite clear that the basis for the discipline is the taking of soundings across the Communion that without discipline there will be no Communion of significant size left which remains anchored to the historic mooring provided by the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Thus ++Rowan has acted as a leader with limited powers should act when the future health of the organization for which he is responsible faces destruction: use those limited powers to the maximum for the greater good of the organization. There is nothing papal about this action if by 'papal' is meant 'autocratic' or 'dictatorial'. (There is another version of 'papal', by the way, which means the leader of a church acting in consort with the college of bishops to give expression to a doctrine or policy of the church for which they are charged with solemn responsibility to uphold and to implement.)

Thus the kind of post on the internet which suggests the Communion is either a fellowship of autonomous churches or it should submit to Rome forthwith is deficient in reckoning with the possibilities which Anglicans can creatively explore at this time. It is possible to be a communion of churches resolved to live interdependently with one another, autonomous-and-accountable, accepting international leadership shared in various ways, whether through current Instruments of Unity, or through a new, yet to emerge, conciliar structure.

These are interesting days. If I am right, that ++Rowan is acting responsibly within the responsibilities of his role, and not overreaching himself Romanesquely, then what we should see in the weeks and months ahead is a growing chorus of support for his leadership and a small chorus of support for TEC (and the interventionist churches such as Southern Cone). Expect diplomacy and respect: there is more likely to be loud silence about TEC and its right to autonomy than voiced criticism.

Rather than criticising Canon Kearon for 'obfuscation' certain leaders in the Communion and within churches of the Communion should look carefully at whether what he said at the Executive Council reflects prevailing winds across the Communion.


Anonymous said...

"Thus the kind of post on the internet which suggests the Communion is either a fellowship of autonomous churches or it should submit to Rome forthwith is deficient...."

No submission to Rome today!
Forza Nuova Zelanda!

(& eat leeks, Taffy!)

Anonymous said...

This entry in 'Wikipedia. L'enciclopedia libera' needs updating. Any takers?

"La Nazionale di calcio neozelandese partecipa alle qualificazioni per i Campionati mondiali di calcio nella confederazione oceanica dell'OFC. Nella sua storia si è qualificata due volte ad una fase finale del mondiale: Spagna 1982, venendo eliminata, però, già al primo turno e a Sudafrica 2010."