Friday, October 22, 2010

Can ++Rowan deliver a multi-tiered Communion?

Yesterday I said that the end of the Communion is nigh. Today I read this thinking of ++Rowan:

"I don't at all like, or want to encourage, the idea of a multi-tier organisation. But that would, in my mind, be preferable to complete chaos and fragmentation. It's about agreeing what we could do together." (as reported in the Daily Telegraph)

Reading the whole article ++Rowan is rattled by the Pope's Ordinariate offer (and trying to get some control on the process of secession) and and by prospects of "deeper divisions" in the Communion. In the citation he very clearly understands that "complete chaos and fragmentation" is a possibility for the future of the Communion.

Based on the citation he seems to have whittled down scenarios in which the Communion survives in something like its current form (i.e. much is wrong in our midst, but no one has officially left the building) to this: 'a multi-tier organisation.'

This is not a new conception. It has been part of the Covenant discussion that the Communion post-Covenant signing would be a Communion of Covenanters and of non-Covenanters. More recently it has been a feature of Communion "committee" life with changes of status ("member" to "consultant") for some people who belong to provinces breaking certain requests/recommendations stemming from the Windsor Report.

What may be interesting about ++Rowan's sentence here is that he speaks of 'multi-tier' rather than 'two-tier'. It was an interview not a pronouncement so we could read more in this than was intended, but it could be a sign of desperation in the face of 'complete chaos and fragmentation' that a multi-tier Communion is envisaged.

But the simple question, in the face of ++Orombi's strong hint of a new Anglican 'baby' being born, is this: can ++Rowan deliver a multi-tier Communion or are we well past the realistic chances of such an entity existing?

I think we are heading for a single tier remnant Communion.

Paradoxically, it could be that the new Anglican 'baby' (I am picking its name will have 'Global' and 'Anglican' in it, maybe 'Global Anglican Church'?) will be multi-tiered because (the more I think about it) I am sure it will find a way for individual dioceses such as Sydney and South Carolina to belong. But they could scarcely have the full voting power of a member province so, likely, would have an 'associate member' status.

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