December 15, 2006

Comment concerning the preceding

Someone has asked me in another forum if this statement by Canterbury is an effort to do an "end run" around requests that Minns be seated as the APO representative at the upcoming Primates' Meeting. Here is what I have to say:

I've long ago given up trying to penetrate the translucent mind of ++Rowan Williams! Even his words are, as you see, orphic.

My guess is that this may be an effort to block an end run by Minns. ++Akinola has basically given up on the Network for their pusilanimous refusal to "leave the burning house," and it is ++Akinola who is in the position to make demands of Canterbury. Not that I think he will be successful -- which is in part the message being sent here. In addition, it may be a reminder or warning to ++Rowan's own Church of England dissidents that this will not fly as a way forward.

I also seriously doubt Cantuar would consider +Duncan as a Primate, since the Network has no standing except as loyal members of the Episcopal Church. Besides, he only gets one plus sign. ;-) (I know the Network has spun ++Rowan's comments into whole cloth, but I think they leave out the threads they don't like!) Whatever else Duncan may be, he is not a Primate of the Anglican Communion, and it would take 2/3rds of the Primates voting to make him so. The Panel of Reference report on New Westminster makes it clear that no internal divisions in Canada have been recognized, and that people are members of the Anglican Communion by virtue of membership in their own Province; by extension, no such division is recognized in the US. There is a Primate of the Episcopal Church, and as even San Joaquin points out, they haven't yet withdrawn fully from the Episcopal Church.

All in all, I look to the Primates' Meeting being short some of the more irascible Primates, but hope and pray ++Rowan simply leaves the door open for all Primates of the legitimately constituted Anglican Communion to come, but any to leave. We will then see who it is wants to walk apart.

Tobias Haller BSG


Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

I responded to someone over at Stand Firm in Faith who didn't understand why I see the ACC as important in all of this, and what the two-thirds of the Primates is all about, thusly:

The ACC is the only one of the four "instruments" to possess any kind of constitutional reality or authority. Even Lambeth is, as it says of itself, a "conference" -- not a governing body. The Primates, as individuals, or as a group, can do whatever they like -- declaring themselves out of communion with each others' churches and so on. But that won't affect the ACC, which will continue to function as long as there are sufficient people interested in it functioning. As has been noted, the supposed "exclusion" of the US and Canada at the last meeting was voluntary, and had the US and Canada voted, the motion acknowledging their voluntary withdrawal would not have passed.

The ACC Constitution defines who is a member of the Anglican Consultative Council. The membership list at the end of that Constitution can be amended by a vote of two-thirds of the Primates. Minns or Duncan can't be made into "Primates" because they aren't heads of Provinces recognized as such by the Anglican Communion, in accordance with this Consitution. The first step would have to be the recognition of a new Province, at which point, a new Primate would be seated. I do not see, from the tallies quoted, a two-thirds majority approving a new Province of the Communion in North America. I know that is what some, perhaps even a majority, want. But a simple majority will not carry this.

As I said [in an earlier comment], I could see Duncan or some other person being granted a kind of observer status. But Rowan Williams has shown that he is a person who tries to do things in an orderly fashion, and he doesn't seem at all happy with Minns (he's said the move was "unhelpful" and recently clarified his non-recognition of this development); and he may feel himself constrained from begging the question and giving Duncan more of a role to play than good order allows.

I could, of course, be completely mistaken in my reading of the Archbishop. But I've been right so far.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Well, a leaked letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury more or less confirms the suspicions I outlined in the previous comment. The Primate of the Episcopal Church is to attend as such. But Canterbury plans to invite some additional persons from "that Province" to attend a gathering prior to the official Primates' business meeting. (I guess that couldn't include Minns, since he's not part of "that Province" any more.) On the whole, ++Rowan is showing himself once again to be flexible to the point of injuring himself and others.

The problem, of course, is that in relation to the Lambeth conference he still suggests support for the flawed Windsor Model of Consensus by Subtraction -- in which those who disagree are asked not to be part of the discussion. He says, "at the moment, we urgently need to create a climate of greater trust within the Communion, and to reinforce institutions and conventions that will serve that general climate in a global way." Naturally, by not having someone who disagrees at any meeting one can create a greater climate of agreement. Perhaps this should become a new practice for Vestries?

The problem with this "solutino" is that it second guesses the outcome, and works by division rather than comprehension. It represents a kind of "unity by division" that deems, a priori, a part of the body to be expendable in order to preserve a very questionable communion of whatever is left. It is a classically Protestant approach, which is odd coming from a man of supposedely catholic sensibilities.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

A quick correction: It was not Akinola but Bishop John Ruchyana of Rwanda who, at an AMIA conference in Destin, Florida, was asked if intervention by the Anglican Primates would enable Episcopalians to keep their property, said, ?We Africans are acting to save your souls. It is as if we have saved you from a burning house only to have you ask us to run back in and save your furniture. Are you ready to follow Jesus or not??