Friday, March 16, 2007

A Good Question

Thanks to Jim Naughton on Daily Episcopalian for this "good question" ... which I just posted over at Walking With Integrity, but I figure a REALLY good question is worth asking more than once:

The Mad Priest and our mutual friend Goran have a scoop over at "Of Course I Could be Wrong." They point out that:
1. The Church of Sweden's leaders have said that they are willing to allow gay people to marry in church on the same basis as heterosexual couples, although bishops are unsure whether to call the unions marriage. The decision will make the church the first major denomination in the world to allow full gay church marriage in practice.
2. Under the Porvoo Agreement, The Church Of England is in full communion with the Church of Sweden and allow each other's clergy to work in each other's parishes in either country. Now the Church of Sweden is not a member of the Anglican Communion, so it's relationship to Canterbury is not precisely analogous to ours.
[Here comes the "good question":]

Still, it seems to me that Rowan Williams needs to explain why the Episcopal Church's decision to allow the blessing of same-sex relationships is, in his eyes, a Communion-breaking offense, while the Church of Sweden's decision to allow same-sex marriage is not.


Anonymous said...

I doubt that poor Rowan can figure that one out.

Anonymous said...

and our sisters and brothers in Washington ask our bishops to ask the same question, framed in a different way

General Convention Deputation, Episcopal Diocese of Olympia Seattle,
Washington, March 16, 2007

To the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church, gathered at Camp Allen,

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The elected Deputation of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia has, after
reflecting on the recent Anglican Communion Primates meeting in
Dar-es-Salaam, the following comments to make to you, our brothers and
sisters in Christ.

We are very troubled that the requests made of you come from only "some of"
the Primates of our Communion. We fully understand how difficult it will be
for you to respond when there is clearly not unanimity within the Primates
as a group.

We are concerned that the requests made of you, and the modified proposal
for a “Primatial Vicar”, threaten our polity.

We see significant parts of the proposed “Anglican Covenant” – which is
also of deep concern to us – as reflecting the same segment of Primates, and
as, likewise, threatening our polity.

We are shocked that a province of the Anglican Communion - Nigeria - is
supporting state legislation targeting a sexual minority with severe and
punitive actions that violate the U.N. Charter on Human Rights. We see the
failure of the Primates to address this situation in Dar-es-Salaam as a
linked polity-related issue.

1. The Primates Requests.
With regard to the Primates’ specific requests and proposed actions
our most significant concern is that in each case the Primates appear to be
asking for a province of the Communion (our own) to violate its polity in
order to respond to Primatial concerns.

The Primates’ requests directed to you, our House of Bishops, and
their modified proposal for a “Primatial Vicar”, will, in seeking to solve
one problem, create another, deeper problem, calling into question the
polity on which both The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion had
heretofore been based. Since in each case a precedent would be established
we believe that any response must be very carefully crafted.

Recommended Action: We urge you not to respond to the Primates’ requests
in a way that violates the baptismal nature of our polity, and to reject any
“Primatial Vicar” structure that likewise places any authority outside of
our constitutional and canonical boundaries.

2. Biased nature of requests.
We are also very concerned that the Episcopal Church has been
unjustly singled out. Blessings of same sex unions in the English province
have, reportedly, taken place for a much longer period than in our own
province and in greater volume. In addition, only one diocese in the
Communion has authorized such blessings, and this diocese is in the Anglican
Church of Canada, not The Episcopal Church. Yet neither of the other two
Provinces are mentioned by the Primates' Communiqué.

The Episcopal Church, gathered in General Convention in 2003,
declined to authorize the blessing of same sex unions.

Recommended Action We urge you to ask for clarification from the
Primates as to why the Episcopal Church has been singled out. We further
urge you to ask the Primates to include in their request regarding the
blessing of same sex unions the Church of England and the Anglican Church of

3. Primates failure to address human rights violations
Related to #2 we are disturbed that the Primates also chose to
overlook the actions of the Anglican Church of Nigeria and its Primate, Rt.
Rev. Peter J. Akinola in supporting State legislation against a minority of
its citizens that violates the U.N. Charter on Human Rights.

Recommended action: We urge you to speak out on this issue. In
particular we suggest that you ask the Archbishop of Canterbury why he and
the other Primates have not condemned this action and failed to ask for an
explanation from the primate of Nigeria, Rt. Rev. Peter Akinola, when given
the opportunity in Dar-es-Salaam

4. Proposed “Anglican Covenant”
With regard to the Proposed “Anglican Covenant” we believe that some
of its contents pose similar “polity problems”. The Anglican Communion would
be so dramatically changed that it would no longer be the Anglican
Communion. In addition, the content of this Covenant and the nature of the
Primates requests of you together reveal a consistent pattern toward a more
hierarchical, law-bound Communion relationship that we believe is
antithetical to the identity of our Communion and our own province.

Recommended Action: We are not a Confessional Church. We urge you to
reject the proposed Covenant.

Clergy Lay
Sabeth Fitzgibbons (GC ’06 Lay) Duncan Bayne
Jeffrey Lee Hisako Beasley
Stephen Moore (Chair) James Church
Peter Strimer Elizabeth Clark
Andrea McMillin Stockburger Ian Thompson
Nigel Taber-Hamilton.

Lisa Fox said...

And the same question should be posed to the Scottish Episcopal Church, as I suggested last weekend.

Anonymous said...

Bruno, you rock brother, you worked it...........Ditto