Monday, March 05, 2007

Canterbury Speaks

Rowan Williams, Archibshop of Canterbury, has issued a Pastoral Letter from Lambeth Palace entitled "Listening." The text, along with some commentary is available here thanks to the Episcopal News Service.

At first read I find it [a] less "muddy" than much that emerges from Lambeth [b] deeply problematic and [c] decidely less that "pastoral" to the gay and lesbian baptized.

Read the whole thing but here's where the rubber meets the road for me:

RW: There was no questioning at our meeting of the fact that the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10 remains the standard of teaching on matters of sexual morality for the Communion. The Windsor Report requested certain assurances from The Episcopal Church with respect to the authorisation of Rites of Blessing for same-sex unions and the admittance of a candidate living in a sexual relationship outside marriage.

NO QUESTION: 1.10 remains the majority perspective in the Communion.
BIG QUESTION: When did "majority perspective" morph into "standard of teaching?"

RW: It was our discernment at the meeting in Dar es Salaam that those assurances had not been as clearly given in the deliberations of General Convention as they might have been, and therefore we have asked the House of Bishops to clarify the response of The Episcopal Church in their two meetings in March and September this year. To address these requests to the American House of Bishops is not to ignore the polity of The Episcopal Church, but to acknowledge that the bishops have a key role, acknowledged in the Constitution of that church, in authorising liturgies within their dioceses and in giving consent to the election of candidates for episcopal order. A clear response on these questions is also needed in the near future: we cannot wait for another General Convention for further clarification.

To begin a pargraph stating that it is not the intention of the Communique to "ignore the polity of The Episcopal Church"and conclude with "we cannot wait for another General Convention for further clarification" is to PRECISELY ignore the polity of The Episcopal Church and give to our elected bishops power they do not have to speak for the whole church.

RW: A readiness by the leadership of The Episcopal Church to live by that same formal standard of teaching on these matters which applies elsewhere in the Communion is perhaps the first and most important step in the way forward.

Bottom line: The Episcopal Church either lives by what We Primates have decreed to be "standard teaching" or else. If that's his "first and most important step in the way forward" I hope he's working on a "Plan B."

12 comments:

Bill Carroll said...

What if this is a false teaching? What if we aspire to a better standard of teaching? And, using the authority conferred on us in baptism, we contradict this false teaching by what we teach and what we pratice? What then?

Patience and generosity, but only if you play ball and try to keep the family together. A man who once knew better is now complicit in spiritual abuse.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Why do I feel as if +Rowan deliberately waited until the Executive Council meeting was over, so that he could make a direct appeal to the bishops?

I'll be writing my bishop this week...

Share Cropper said...

I cannot believe that the Episcopal Church would desire so much to remain a part of the Anglican Communion as to retreat from what, to me, is clearly Jesus' teaching on being inclusive. I think the bishop where I live now is probably Windsor compliant, but perhaps i shall write after all.

Lorian said...

Why is it that our leaders are having so much difficulty standing up and leading? I hope that does not prove true for our American bishops, as well.

Anonymous said...

Really, a virtually word perfect letter from +Rowan. Clear, accurate, and importantly, willing to lay down a challenge to our Bishops to show leadership.

Dennis said...

This man has seriously turned against us. He is now worse than Carey because he was once perceived to be a progressive.

Jim Strader said...

The Archbishop of Canterbury seems to be cognitively and spiritually disconnected from the realities of life in the Church of England & The Episcopal Church. I mean seriously … does he expect that the Presiding Bishop is going to tell members of the Episcopal Church's Executive Committee as well as members of the House of Deputies that they need to immediately adopt the moral teachings of 1998 Lambeth 1.10 as the standard for their lives as baptized Christians? This is an absolutely absurd, illogical, and unreasonable demand for ++Rowan to make at this point in time in the life of the Anglican Communion. Who has the ecclesiastical authority and moral audacity to tell him thus, and is he capable of hearing such messages (challenges)?

John Gibson said...

God rot the damned sanctimonious old fool!

Anonymous said...

"Plan B" is "The Episcopal Church"- as separate from "The Anglican Communion."

It's not very complicated.....

High Church Atheist said...

Why can't people accept reality and see that Rowan Williams has his head up his ass. I can't wait until the Episcopal Church is done with the Anglican Communion, particularly all the neo-fascist "Global South" fundamentalist bullies. Enough already!

Anonymous said...

To begin a pargraph stating that it is not the intention of the Communique to "ignore the polity of The Episcopal Church"and conclude with "we cannot wait for another General Convention for further clarification" is to PRECISELY ignore the polity of The Episcopal Church and give to our elected bishops power they do not have to speak for the whole church.

What the bishops can do, and what they are being asked to do, is speak for themselves. After all, they did just that when the HoB decided to have a moratorium on ALL episcopal elections for a time. If they can do one, they can do the other.

Bottom line: The Episcopal Church either lives by what We Primates have decreed to be "standard teaching" or else.

Actually, it's Lambeth that proclaimed Lambeth 1998's Resolution 1.10 as the standard for the Anglican Communion; the nearly 1000 bishops of the Communion gathered together, and by quite a wide margin. If they didn't mean that to be the standard thoughout the Communion, what do you think they meant?

Bill Carroll said...

They can mean what ever they want, but they don't have the authority to back it up, unless we cave in and give it to them. Lambeth has never, ever, ever been a global synod. It is a consultation among bishops. To be a synod, it would need to have the power to pass canons, which it never, ever, ever does.

God forbid we trade the birthright of the children of God (liberty in the Gospel) for a mess of pottage.