Saturday, October 16, 2010

English Bishops Branching Out

News in:

+Michael Nazir Ali to be an Assisting Bishop in the Diocese of South Carolina.

+John Broadhurst to accept the Pope's offer of service in the Anglican Ordinariate.

Neither ++Jefferts Schori nor ++Williams to be entirely comfortable about this news. [This sentence is my own interpretation!!]

Later comment: in response to a comment made below, let me expand a little on these announcements. First, they may be of no great importance in the great scheme of Anglican things (and I could be wrong about ++Jefferts Schori and ++Williams comfort levels). After all, some people in the blogosphere think +Nazir Ali a bit of a joke (South Carolina too), and others see the Ordinariate as a fuss about nothing (e.g. because Anglicans leave for Rome all the time, and vice versa: nothing to see here, move right along!)

Secondly, the downplayers here could be wrong! +Nazir Ali is a bit of a catch. He is one of the half dozen or so Anglican bishops around the world who can actually garner a media hearing when he pronounces. Prognosticating on the future and fate of South Carolina in relation to some TEC machinations will do everything to elicit global Anglican sympathy for the Diocese of South Carolina and runs the danger of also fuelling global Anglican scorn for any move TEC makes against SC.

+Broadhurst is also a bit of a catch. On any reckoning he is one of the leading 'catholic' bishops in the C of E. If the report is true, and he ends up in the Ordinariate, it will not really matter what his ordained status is according to the curia: in the English media he will be Bishop John Broadhurst, formerly of the C of E, now of the AO (Anglican Ordinariate). His newfound status (in media perception) - part renegade, part outlaw, part new hybrid species - will be good for many interviews. As the C of E gets further embroiled in its difficulties over women bishops and blessing of same sex relationships, he will be in the ideal position to feed the media machine with this sort of cheerful but attractive sounding nonsense ... "Well, it's all very difficult for the C of E because it has not got X, Y and Z sorted out; but over here, on the other side of the Tiber, the grass is green, the sun is shining, and all is well."

The potential for ++Rowan to lose sleep is over the possibility that +Broadhurst going might be an opening of floodgates many critics of the Anglican Ordinariate have said will remain shut. What if they are wrong, and wily old Benedict is correct?


Kurt said...

You know, don’t you, what other Southerners say about South Carolina? It’s too small to be its own country and too large to be an insane asylum.

Remember, these people are the offspring of the slavers who fired upon Fort Sumter and began the bloody American Civil War 150 years ago. During the Civil Rights period, they were among the most reactionary racists around--Episcopalians included. Now, they don’t like the 1979 Prayer Book, women in Holy Orders and gays. Figures.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

liturgy said...

Greetings Peter

I'm not sure that limiting your blog to headlines means much to those of us who aren't following every detail - it would help, for example, if you unpacked things just a little more than your cryptic remarks please.

You and I differ about the significance of the ordinariates. I think your headline exaggerates. This announcement appears to be no more than a 68 year old man announcing that when the ordinariate is set up he will join a pew there as a layperson in retirement. More interesting, as chairman of Forward in Faith, is his statement that that is not an Anglican organisation and that as a retired RC layman he will continue with it.



Fr. Bryan Owen said...

These people ...

Kurt, what "other Southerners" have you actually spoken to?

And have you polled the views of everyone in South Carolina - or at least every South Carolina Episcopalian - to be sure that the "they" you speak of is, in fact, representative of at least the majority of the people you are purportedly talking about?

I ask, not because I necessarily agree with everything the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina is up to, but because I'm a native Mississippian. And as a native Mississippian, I am no stranger to regional bashing. I have lived for years with the jokes, slanders, misunderstandings, and stereotypes that paint all white Mississippians as knuckle-dragging, gun-toting, Dixie flag-waving, Bible-thumping, cross-burning, gay-bashing, fiery fundamentalists who never miss an opportunity to assert the superiority of white, Southern males over the rest of the human race.

Reality, of course, renders this portrait sheer caca. Especially during the last 30-40 years.

Even so, there's no doubt that there are racists, gay-haters, misogynists, and other miscreants in Mississippi. And, no doubt, there are such persons living anywhere within the United States (perhaps even in Brooklyn, NY, or elsewhere in the world). There's much work that still needs doing.

Kurt, I hope that we can find less stereotyped and ad hominem grounds to launch criticisms against the actions of the diocese of South Carolina than what you have offered in your comments here.

liturgy said...

Thanks for expanding the post somewhat, Peter. A summary of what is particular about South Carolina would be a helpful further expansion.

As for feeding “the media machine with cheerful but attractive sounding nonsense” – the secular media regularly hasn’t a clue about religion, and it is our own fault if we are incapable of producing quality media in reply. In becoming a Roman Catholic John Broadhurst will be acknowledging publicly that he is not a bishop, nor a priest, he has never presided at the Eucharist, nor received communion, never absolved, blessed, or confirmed anyone! The “C of E may get further embroiled in its difficulties over women bishops and blessing of same sex relationships” but the church John Broadhurst is joining is not without its own difficulties in sexual areas that currently interests the secular media far more – certainly a very long way from your optimistic, “the grass is green, the sun is shining, and all is well.”

Brother David said...

Bryan, I thought that Kurt's comment was tongue in cheek.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bosco,

Re South Carolina: read some comments made here by Kurt.

Re 'sunny Roman Catholicism': well I certainly find Lucia Maria when she commented on some earlier posts very optimistic about all that is good and wonderful on that side of the Tiber.

Re +Broadhurst's disavowals when he joins the Personal Ordinariate: I wonder if you are being a little harsh, reflecting the letter of Roman law (true), but not the spirit of the offer of the ordinariate?

liturgy said...

Sorry, I know it’s late, Peter, but I cannot get a lot from your headline, Kurt’s comment, and David’s exegesis that this is tongue in cheek.

Nor can I quite work out what your suggestion is that what I write is “a little harsh” – please explain how the “spirit of the offer of the ordinariate” means that John Broadhurst is not acknowledging publicly that he is not a bishop, nor a priest, he has never presided at the Eucharist, nor received communion, never absolved, blessed, or confirmed anyone. You mention Lucia Maria as presenting well the Vatican position in both rule and spirit. I suspect she will agree with me and not you that the Vatican has John Broadhurst’s orders as totally null and void. Your sanguinity notwithstanding, recent events have underscored this in both rule and spirit. I hope Lucia Maria might reconsider and return to the discussions here – you could, of course, invite her to reconsider yourself.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bosco,
South Carolina is currently synodically seeking to affirm that it is closer in spirit and in truth to the Communion than to TEC (my summary). This could provoke a reaction from TEC's hierarchy. It will be interesting to see how this plays out ... not least because some Anglican observers will be very concerned to find that TEC's inclusiveness falls short of including a conservative diocese.

As for +Broadhurst and what he thinks the Ordinariate means if he accepts it and (effectively) declares his ordained ministry to now 'null and void': (1) It would be better to hear from the man himself than from me and my speculations; (2) He remains an Anglican ... Anglicans are (so many say) capable of 'fudge' ... could he be fudging the issue you raise in his own mind? (3) I still think the spirit of the Ordinariate offer is better than you make it out to be: I understand that ex-Anglican bishops, upon ordination as Catholic priests within the Ordinariate, will be able to dress as bishops ... and one of them need not be a bishop to be appointed head of the ordinariate.

Brother David said...

You are being dishonest Peter.

So Carolina during this synod/convention is in the process of removing its accession to the canons of TEC from its diocesan constitution and canons. Accession to the TEC constitution and canons is a canonical requirement of all the dioceses of TEC. These are similar steps taken by the four dioceses that have tried to succeed from TEC and join another province. Mark Lawrence took his dog & pony show on the road promising that he would not take SC out of TEC to convince enough bishops and diocesan standing committees to approve his election as bishop of So Carolina. This was after his second election to be bishop because his first election was voided for lack of approval by enough standing committees.

The bishop and standing committee of SC is also in the process of allowing parishes to leave TEC and the diocese and steal property as they do so.

This is not TEC not approving of a conservative diocese. This is a conservative diocese purposely doing just about all that it can to provoke the situation so they can cry that they are being picked upon.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi David,

Between your view and mine there is not necessarily a contradiction: I am expressing what SC thinks it is doing and is justified in doing; you are expressing what its critics think it is actually doing and why it is not justified in doing that. In the end, if you are right, then I expect a challenge to come from TEC and for that challenge to involve some kind of court - ecclesial or secular. I think SC fancies its chance if it has its day in court, but its risk may not pay off!

Brother David said...

How far would dio Christchurch and +Victoria get if they began taking the steps that SC is taking? What would the rest of ACANZP have to say about it? What steps would they take to prevent it or to correct it? Is ACANZP different from TEC? If it is different in what ways?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi David,
My understanding about these kinds of matters is that much turns on the nature of the oldest agreements to form some kind of multi-diocesan church. The newest dioceses have most clearly signed up to the current constitution; the oldest dioceses may be able to argue (something like): what we signed up for in 1662 or 1776 or 1812 is different to what this church had become, etc.

Here in our church our dioceses have considerable freedom to act independently of one another, providing some constitutional matters are observed; plus licensed clergy voting in a diocesan synod would need to consider their signed submission to the authority of General Synod upon receipt of their licences. As for asserting the right not to accede to a recent, present, or imminent decision of the General Synod (which, in broad terms, is what I think SC is trying to achieve in respect of TEC General Convention decisions), I think that would be very interesting for our church to think through. My general understanding is that it would take quite a lot of trouble, money, and time commitment for our wider church to seek to discipline a diocese which asserted such a right. Here we tend to take account of the possibility of the assertion of such a right when making General Synod decisions, so we do not make decisions which precipitate the assertion of that right.

In short: I think we are pursuing changes to our canons differently to TEC and thus the question does not at this time, or in the foreseeable future arise in which one of our dioceses might seek to imitate SC.

liturgy said...

Yes, Peter, the Vatican asserts that Anglican “bishops” are not really bishops and are just playing dress-up. If they join the RC Church they can get special Vatican permission to continue dressing up. They still won’t be bishops (I don’t know where you got your information that they need to be priests to continue playing dress-up, not anywhere I read). Everyone will know they are not really bishops, and they won’t be able to do what bishops can do – unless you count dressing up particularly significant. I don’t. I do not believe this “is better than [I] make it out to be” as I have previously written about this here

I have no idea what you mean by (2) – you appear to be suggesting that once a member of the RC Church he remains an Anglican?

David, I’m not at all sure about the canonical details, but it may be relevant that the NZ Anglican Church is about 1%, give or take, the size of TEC. Also, our regulations are so loose it is difficult to imagine anyone working out a way to transgress them. And those that are clear, and transgressed, nothing much happens.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bosco,
Well, presumably, it is better for Broadhurst, because (again, presumably) something about the Ordinariate is 'better' in his mind than the C of E.

Agreed one doesn't have to be a priest to dress up, but I am presuming (a lot of presumptions I know!!) that many clergy moving to the ordinariate will want to exercise sacramental ministry and will seek ordination as priests. Presumably (again!!) the Pope won't make many, if any into bishops - too many generals and not enough foot soldiers etc.

I see I was confusing about my (2). What I should have written was (something like): until he accepts the Ordinariate he remains an Anglican and Anglicans seem capable of 'fudge' etc. That is, his mindset whilst considering the Ordinariate is an Anglican one. (Of course it could remain so, in its default setting, after joining the Ordinariate!!!!!!!)

Brother David said...

As I understood the Ordinariate gentlemen, having struggled through the document itself, plus the commentary, Rome will have no issues with ordaining former Anglican priests to the Roman priesthood, with or without wives in tow, as Rome has already done so in the USA under the previous provision for Anglican defection, but will not consecrate any former Anglican bishops to the Roman episcopacy who is married. So there will likely be few former Anglican bishops in the Roman episcopacy. Hence the provision that a former Anglican bishop, now a Roman priest, can lead an Ordinariate, and will be allowed the use of certain regalia of his former office in the Anglican church.

However, the real bishop, with full authority over all of the people, lay and ordained, in an Anglican Ordinariate, will be the actual Roman bishop in whose diocese the Ordinariate resides.


liturgy said...

John Broadhurst cannot join the RC Church on the basis that it is “better” than the CofE. RC doctrine holds that the RC Church is the true church and that the CofE is not a church at all. This is what he is signing up to. In terms of numbers, which you tend to stress, I still cannot see the half million Ordinariate membership originally projected. I agree with you, there will not be many bishops as these are required to be celibate. In terms of ecumenical strategy, which you mention in your recent post – remember Catholic Eastern Rites are an ecumenical problem – not an ecumenical solution

Anonymous said...

I don't have a dog in this fight, and John Broadhurst can no doubt speak for himself regarding the validity of his life and work so far, so I venture these hunches:

1. The death of the Catholic movement in Anglicanism (just about complete in NZ) will be accelerated, though I have no idea how more Catholic areas like Tanzania will respond (I expect they will stay).
2. Anglicanism will be more split into liberal versus evangelical, with liberals congregated (as ever) in bureaucracy and institutions rather than parishes.
3. Financial pressures more than anything else are likely to force the issue - put simply, many 'Western' parishes (in Noth America, UK and down under) are elderly and broke, and the somewhat better off and more solvent evangelical parishes may decide to hang onto their money rather than prop up the institution (watch as more parishes are amalgamated).
4. Married Anglican bishops who swim the Tiber may end up in the Ordinariate doing all the functions of bishops (confirming, counselling etc) except ordaining - maybe like uniate churches?

Anyway, the net result will be that Anglicanism loses more of its members and becomes more liberal Protestant.

Al M.

liturgy said...

I am not sure what Al M means by the death of the Catholic movement in Anglicanism and being just about complete in NZ. The “six points” of nineteenth century Anglo-Catholicism, for example, have all been pretty much so accepted here as to be irrelevant to current issues. So you can just as much interpret that as a triumph rather than a “death”. Today’s issues are very different IMO and cross those tiresome nineteenth century churchmanships.

David, you may very well turn out to be right in practice, but my understanding of the theory of the Ordinariate is slightly different. An example: the Ordinary in a Religious Order is the provincial – they mostly are not bishops, so to have someone ordained within a Religious Order they will need a good relationship with the bishop (who is not a member of the Religious Order). I think that relationship is more the model of what may happen. But I continue to think that it will all be quite small – nevertheless, small or not, I think the primary irritation of the Anglican Ordinariate will be to RCs not to Anglicans.

I think the heartfelt plea of the pope to the RC English bishops about the Ordinariate quite telling. Remember they were not consulted. In public they will put a good face on it. But RCs have lost over 100,000 good priests to marriage, many of them will be bishops’ friends, admired and trusted colleagues, and now here will be these heretics converting and being allowed to be married priests. And bringing a liturgical language rooted in English at a time when their own English translation has been rejected and being told to use a stilted translation so direct from the Latin that it looks as if it has been put through Google translate.

At a time when many are looking elsewhere in the wake of current RC turmoil, unfortunately Anglicanism, with, at least here, its abandonment of common prayer, and hence offering a reformed catholicism in the way that I might agree with Al M, not as some sort of schadenfreude but as a genuine offer to those who otherwise will probably abandon church altogether, we Anglicans may be missing a genuine moment for significant mission and ministry. This IMO may be the time when we Anglicans are straining out gnats and swallowing camels.

Anonymous said...

My information is limited, but I can't think of many places in NZ where Anglican churches nurtured in the self-understanding of the Oxford movement are continuing in that way. St Paul's Symonds Street, All Saints Dunedin and St Michael's Oxford Tce used to be flagships of that movement, but theologically they have a moved a long way since, the former into postmodern/charismatic ways, the latter two into liberalism, reflecting changing sexual ethics and gender issues. Don't know about St Augustine's, Wellington. The 'branch' concept of Western Catholicism beloved of Anglo-Catholics seems to have withered.

Al M.