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