Friday, January 28, 2011

Inconvenient facts (2)

Another inconvenient fact at this time concerns the question of whether or not the primates represent their respective churches.

Fact: no one anywhere in the Anglican world denies that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori represents the overwhelming majority of her church, TEC. (Some of us would go much further and say that she superbly represents her church, to the point of all but being a living embodiment of its values and virtues).

Fact: some commentators in the Anglican world deny that primates by virtue of their office are representative of their respective churches. Despite processes of election and appointment in order to secure fit and articulate bishops for churches, and further processes by which those bishops (if not bishops, clergy and laity) choose one from their number to be their primate (exceptions, England where the crown decides; and ACANZP, my church, where we choose three), any representative connection between church and primate is denied by these commentators.

Are the commentators right? If so, is PB Jefferts Schori the exception to their ruling?

Is there any just, fair and true understanding in the denial of representativeness? Is it all possible that we are seeing the expression of bias and prejudice over rationality?

In this case the bias is this: 'primate in favour of TEC's innovations = good person, obviously representative of their church' but 'primate not in favour of TEC's innovations = doubtful person (ask question, are they bigoted, homophobic?), obviously unrepresentative of their church.'


Ecclesia Anglicana said...

I think it's important to distinguish between three forms of 'represent':
1. Personally typifying the views of the majority of their province.
2. Voicing the varied opinions, concerns, etc. of all the members of their province.
3. Being able to make binding pronouncements and/or decisions on behalf of their province.

Primates may or may not be personally representative of their province (1). But at a Primates' Meeting they each must voice the opinions, concerns, etc. of all in their province, not just their own view or even the 'majority' view (2). But they cannot, nor should not, attempt to make binding pronouncements on behalf of their province (3), since everything must return to the synodical processes of their local church.

The danger is that some in the Communion see 3. as becoming a real possibility.

Suem said...

Who says whether the Primates do or do not "represent" the views of those in their churches - it would be difficult to say as there may be a range of different views?
But when a gay rights activist is bludgeoned to death in Uganda after taking action against a paper urging people to hang homosexuals then we see a culture infected with hateful and prejudiced views- ones that I think Orombi is influenced by and to some extent "represents" - though in a more muted and palatable form.
I'd like to see Orombi roundly condemn this action and say he will work to protect gay people.

I want to see Primates who above all can represent the love of Christ to the world. That's the representation I care about.

Bryden Black said...

Thank you Suem for your final para: that way of putting it helps greatly. And I would then say (and this is not to obfuscate, but to try to nail the matter further): leadership that generally represents the Christian Gospel would be my goal. But of course THAT lands us right back to where we started, in say 1998, or 1978. But it does help formulate the problem - via, dare I say it, the likes of 1 & 2 Corinthians ...

Father Ron Smith said...

"leadership that generally represents the Christian Gospel would be my goal." - Bryden Black -

Aye, and there's the rub! I, for one do believe that Presiding Bishop Katherine Schori is doing her very best to encourage her fellow Christians in TEC to present the Gospel as it is discerned in the face of Jesus Christ - who ate with local Prostitutes and Sinners, and did not revile them as some Christians seem to do. But are the Pharisees a dyiung breed?