Yet that is what is happening in TEC as ++Curry gives expression to the view that the Primates are one body (and not constitutionally important) and the ACC is another body (and constitutionally important).
"THE Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, the Rt Revd Michael Curry, has emphasised the autonomy of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), in the wake of the Primates’ decision to censure his Church.
At their meeting in Canterbury earlier this month, the Primates’ required the US Episcopal Church to no longer represent them on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, not serve on the Primates or ACC standing committees, and not vote on matters of polity and doctrine at the ACC for a period of three years, as a consequence of its support for same-sex marriage.
The Primates’ gathering, however, has no official executive status. The authority to enforce such steps rests with the ACC itself.
Bishop Curry was asked directly whether he would contest these “consequences” at the next meeting of the ACC in April. On Wednesday, he would say only: “The ACC is the only formal constitutional body of the Anglican Communion and it will decide what it will do. Our representatives from the Episcopal Church look forward to being there.”
Earlier this week, a prominent canon lawyer, Professor Norman Doe, state that the Primates’ ruling was not binding (News, 19 January). He described it as “completely unacceptable interference with the autonomy of each of these bodies as they transact their own business”."
Here is the thing about the Communion: it is not a society of members who paid their individual subs and get shirty when a coffee group of disgruntled grandees bypasses the constitutionally elected executive committee and makes a pronouncement. The Communion is made up of member churches. When the Primates meet, they bring their churches with them and so, when they speak and vote on certain matters, especially matters which boil down to, "Will my church remain a member or not?", it behoves the Communion to sit up and listen. It is not appropriate to invoke trivial legalisms like ++Curry (and a host of others) are doing when the primates have represented the views of their churches and not acted as 38 individuals randomly gathered in a meeting.
Let me spell it out. THE FUTURE OF THE COMMUNION AS A BODY OF 38 PROVINCES IS AT STAKE. If TEC play legal hardball and go to ACC intent on ignoring the Primates' decision then almost certainly the two-thirds or so provinces represented by the two-thirds or so primates voting to discipline TEC will walk away from future Primates' Meetings, Lambeth and maybe even ACC itself.
There would be, on my reckoning, about ten provinces willing to go along with TEC (even as great noises were made by most of them about staying in relationship with the 28 walking away).
So, go ahead TEC. Make our day. But history will judge you as responsible for carving Africa and Asia off the Communion.
Talk about the triumph of imperial and colonial powers ...