February 22, 2016

Denature of Communion

My chum from New Zealand, Bosco Peters, has posted a very helpful essay on the nature of the Anglican Communion, focusing on the extent to which communion is an applicable term, given what it usually means — mutual recognition of ministers, and their ability to function within each other’s churches (mutatis mutandis).

The problem did not begin with the recent collapses and severances of recognition (and function) at primatial gatherings; nor in the disagreements in the wake of Gene Robinson’s election and consecration. Nor did the breaches start with the “impaired communion” (a term which has always reminded me of “partial virginity”) declared (or described) by Archbishop Runcie after Barbara Harris’ consecration (and concerning every woman bishop since, given the fact that a woman bishop can still not function as even a presbyter in some parts of the “communion.”)

For one could go back all the way to the 26th year of George III (1786), and the Act of Parliament that first permitted the ABC and ABYork (with others) to ordain and consecrate the Americans White and Provoost without the royal warrant, and absent the oaths normally required. Among other things, the Act stated:

...be it hereby declared, that no person or persons consecrated to the office of a bishop in the manner aforesaid, nor any person or persons deriving their consecration from or under any bishop so consecrated, nor any person or persons admitted to the order of deacon or priest by any bishop or bishops so consecrated, or by the successor or successors of any bishop or bishops so consecrated, shall be thereby enabled to exercise his or their respective office or offices within his Majesty's dominions.

So from the outset the Anglican “Communion” has been one in a (partially) shared spirit, a variable historical deposit, but lacking the uniform application of the standard mark of “communion” as it is used in ordinary ecumenical relations.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

February 4, 2016

Anglican Cuisinart

I hope most people can at this point see that the recent Primates' gathering (or meeting, depending on who is speaking) was not a great success. There is little agreement on what it accomplished, who was actually there and for what parts of the meeting, what those who were there agreed to, and what it all ultimately means. I think it hard to argue that it has improved relations, or settled anything. Things were at a low simmer of discontent before, but now the pot has boiled over and there is pasta hanging from the ceiling.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

February 1, 2016

Not of the Book

Christianity is not, properly speaking, a religion of the “book.” The distinctively Christian part of the Bible (what most people mean by “the book”) is a product of Christianity in its earliest days. The Christian faith is actually a religion of the Spirit of God, who, yes, infuses the text the writers of the early church were inspired to produce, and who continues to enlighten the minds of Christians as they read and hear that text. But God is not the text. God is God, and it is the Spirit of God that gives life, not the letter. The Scripture is testimony, a pointer and a witness; Jesus is the Truth to whom this witness points.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG