Daily Archives: August 4, 2008

Jeffrey Steel: A New Oxford Movement and Its Hopes

Our loss of this vision is clouding our ecumenical efforts with the Catholic Church of both East and West and they are now quite confused as to who they are to speak with now as a result of our recent decisions and indecision. Is the Anglican Communion Catholic or Protestant. Cardinal Kasper writes about our confusing decisions to further cloud the answer to this question.

As I stated when addressing the Church of England’s House of Bishops in 2006, for us this decision to ordain women implies a turning away from the common position of all churches of the first millennium, that is, not only the Catholic Church but also the Oriental Orthodox and the Orthodox churches. We would see the Anglican Communion as moving a considerable distance closer to the side of the Protestant churches of the 16th century, and to a position they adopted only during the second half of the 20th century.

Since it is currently the situation that 28 Anglican provinces ordain women to the priesthood, and while only 4 provinces have ordained women to the episcopate, an additional 13 provinces have passed legislation authorising women bishops, the Catholic Church must now take account of the reality that the ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate is not only a matter of isolated provinces, but that this is increasingly the stance of the Communion. It will continue to have bishops, as set forth in the Lambeth Quadrilateral (1888); but as with bishops within some Protestant churches, the older churches of East and West will recognise therein much less of what they understand to be the character and ministry of the bishop in the sense understood by the early church and continuing through the ages.

I have already addressed the ecclesiological problem when bishops do not recognize other’s episcopal ordination within the one and same church, now I must be clear about the new situation which has been created in our ecumenical relations. While our dialogue has led to significant agreement on the understanding of ministry, the ordination of women to the episcopate effectively and definitively blocks a possible recognition of Anglican Orders by the Catholic Church.

Who does Rome talk to now? That is the question they are asking. The penultimate paragraph comes in Cardinal Kasper’s conclusion as the framework for taking a New Oxford Movement to the table where real conversations for ecumenical dialogue and visible unity can be discussed again with the utmost seriousness and trust that we all want the same thing–that we may all be one as He is one. It is not a secret that the goal and hopes of this movement will be full reunion with the Catholic Church where the people of this great land of England can look and see that the Church is one and come to believe. That is our mission and that is the goal of Christ’s call to spread his love, mercy, grace and glory throughout the world. His promise is that he will never leave us nor forsake us so we take up the plough and do not look back.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Analysis, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

An important Blog entry from the Bishop of Lichfield on August 2nd 2008

This morning a minor miracle takes place. Our Indaba group, drawn almost from every nation under heaven, agrees all but unanimously on the way ahead for the Anglican Communion. We agree to a moratorium on actively gay bishops, on same-sex blessings and incursions from other provinces until a Covenant can be drawn up.

We agree to a Pastoral Forum to advise the Archbishop of Canterbury and provide mediation for disputes between provinces or dioceses.

We make several suggestions for strengthening and improving the “Instruments of Communion” including the idea that a future Archbishop of Canterbury might be elected from across the world.

We should strengthen the teaching office and decision-making ability of the Lambeth Conference.

The constituencies of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates Meeting need sorting out; at present they are not representative and America dominates.

Forty-three out of forty-five bishops agree to the moratoria and the Pastoral Forum and the other two more or less cancel each other out. There is one bishop who says that this would be too hard for his gay and lesbian people and another who says that the American church must repent before we can restore fellowship.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Lambeth 2008

A BBC Radio Four Sunday Programme at the Lambeth Conferece

You need to listen to it all, of special interest is the last segment which features a three way panel consisting of Archbishop Drexel Gomez of the West Indies, Bishop Stacy Sauls of the Episcopal Church, and Bishop Clive Handford, former Presiding Bishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East and Bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf, from the Windsor Continuation Group.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

(Times) Dr Rowan Williams restores peace at the troubled Lambeth Conference

In his presidential address that marked the end of the conference in Canterbury, he told Anglican bishops that the “pieces are on the board” to resolve the wrangling over homosexuality. He advocated the concept of a “global Church of interdependent communities” but conceded that there was much work to do before Anglican difficulties over gays were overcome.

Dr Williams is pursuing a plan that will depend on three moratoriums being observed by liberals and conservatives at opposite poles of the divided church. The Episcopal Church, which consecrated the openly-gay Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003, and the Anglican Church of Canada, where a diocese authorised same-sex blessings, must both guarantee to desist from any further such moves.

For Dr Williams’s strategy to work, conservative primates from Africa must also pledge a moratorium on consecrating cross-boundary bishops to minister to evangelical congregations in liberal dioceses.

Bishop Trevor Mwamba of Botswana, a favourite for the vacant post of Primate of Central Africa, said: “The conference has been excellent, I would even say it has been divinely inspired. There was a growing sense of oneness, a sense that we all have a lot in common. We have been transformed by the relationships we have formed.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

BBC: Way ahead found in Church gay row

The BBC’s Robert Pigott says this would be “some sort of statement of shared beliefs and a more-or-less binding agreement to stick to them”.

Our correspondent said there were signs of support for a long-term strategy to prevent further disintegration, but that the issue had brought the Church to the “brink of a permanent split”.

“It seems that a number of groups of clergy have voted for a ban on gay bishops and church blessings for homosexual couples, as part of a long-term plan to preserve at least the core of the Communion,” he said.

One suggestion from the group working on a potential Covenant has been for churches departing from tradition to have “diminished status” within the Communion.

Such an arrangement would result in a two-tier Communion but no church would be expelled.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

Final Report from Lambeth 2008 by Bishop Mark Lawrence of South Carolina

The Plenary began with what you would expect: Reflections on the Spouses Program, then brief responses from two of the ecumenical participants. These were surprisingly stirring, particularly Metropolitan Kallistos words. “Your questions” he said, “are our questions, or if they are not already they will be. The double headed eagle is one of our symbols. Not the double headed ostrich! I ask two questions of your time: Did they clearly proclaim Jesus Christ as the only Lord and Savior of the world? And did the bishops uphold marriage and the sanctity of the family? How should I answer? To the first question, Yes, Christ was proclaimed as Lord. There was the uniqueness of the incarnation. To the second question I’m still wondering. Where is there a plain statement of the sanctity of marriage? What about Lambeth 1.10? Does not Truth matter more than outward unity?” Here were profound questions and observations posed by one of our ecumenical participants. Those with whom I was sitting were heartened””but of course they were theological conservatives.

This was followed by more appreciations and introductions, and then came, Archbishop Rowan Williams’ Third Presidential Address. I thought it was brilliant. A clear and bold affirmation of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ and of a unity that is inseparable from the Truth. He was not forcing others to conform but he was strongly urging us toward a covenanted future, possibly making of us more of a Church. Very importantly he added his weight to Lambeth 1.10 and the moratoria””no same-sex blessings, no consecration of active gay bishops, no diocesan incursions. All of which I can abide by. Likewise I was encouraged by his vision of a global church with international commitments; not merely as a colonial relic, but as a global communion. I suppose I resonated with it because it is where my thoughts have been for so long. It is the only viable and godly way through our present problems””which, I might add, I see as things God has allowed both to judge and move us towards greater faithfulness in this new and challenging century.

Several things towards the end of his address I found particularly intriguing. He acknowledged, at Lambeth ’08, we have not overcome our problems, (which as obvious as it is, I’m grateful it was acknowledged). Nor have we established new structures, (that, however, was done by GAFCON therein dramatically reframing the landscape). Before the ACC’s meeting next May he will call a Primates Meeting early in 2009. (Thank God!). He affirmed the Pastoral Forum recommended by the Windsor Continuation Group; (Windsor is not dead); and he held out an olive branch towards GAFCON, (A crucial and gracious overture at the conclusion of Lambeth). Unlike some conservatives I’ve spoken to, I see these as anything but timid or insignificant developments. Frankly, as I heard them within the framework of my morning meditation, I was personally heartened, not because it solves any of our local or provincial problems in TEC. Unfortunately that is one thing it doesn’t do, at least immediately. That is, will the Episcopal Church hear the call for restraint? As the Sudanese say, “Let us go and see.” I’ve come to see so many of these challenges in a more global perspective.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, TEC Bishops

An Interview with Orthodox Archbishop Kallistos Ware about Lambeth 2008

For me, as an Orthodox, coming to the Lambeth Conference is an opportunity to do precisely that ”“ to share in your joys and your sorrows.

But, even more, I will go a further step and say that the questions that you are considering are also questions that are of concern to us. And if they are not particularly on our immediate agenda now, yet they are questions that we will need to consider increasingly in the future. So, yes, you have much here to discuss as Anglicans – specifically Anglican problems. But I see them also as questions that are posed to us Orthodox. For example, the question of women priests and bishops. Most Orthodox would say, we should not ordain women. But if you ask them why not, they will say that it has never been done; they will appeal to tradition. But you press them a little farther, and say that there must be a reason why women have never been ordained as priests. The argument from tradition merely tells you that they have never been ordained as priests, but it does not tell you why. Surely there must be some theological reason. On the one hand, the Orthodox are certain and clear in their answer. Most of us would say, no, we could not ever ordain women. Yet others would say, it is for us essentially an open question. We are not proposing to do so in the near future, but we need to reflect more deeply on it. If all we say is, “impossible, never,” we perhaps should ask ourselves, what are the implications for our understanding of human nature , of the difference between male and female, for our understanding of the priesthood and the relationship of the priest to Christ. That is an example of how your questions are perhaps to some extent also our questions.

Then again the issue that is coming up very much here at Lambeth: the possibility of blessing homosexual relationships. The Orthodox Church would answer, no, this cannot be done ”“ that sexuality is a gift from God, to be used within marriage, and by marriage we mean the union of one man and one woman. But it’s quite clear in the modern world ”“ and the Orthodox also belong to the modern world ”“ that the whole issue of the meaning of human sexuality is going to be more and more explored. And if we are to interpret this traditional teaching to our people, we need to reflect deeply on the basic principles.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Lambeth 2008, Orthodox Church, Other Churches

Guardian– Lambeth conference: Archbishop blames liberals for church rift

The Archbishop of Canterbury blamed liberal North American churches yesterday for causing turmoil in the Anglican communion by blessing same-sex unions and consecrating gay clergy as he attempted to chart a way out of the crisis that has been engulfing the church.

On the final day of the Lambeth conference, a 10-yearly gathering of the world’s Anglican bishops, Rowan Williams said practices in certain US and Canadian dioceses were threatening the unity of the Anglican communion.

“If North American churches do not accept the need for a moratoria [on same sex blessings and the consecration of gay clergy] we are no further forward. We continue to be in grave peril,” he said.

He was speaking as 670 bishops prepared to leave the University of Kent campus after 18 days of reflection, prayers, conversations and efforts to hold a divided communion together.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth 2008

Anglican Journal: Lambeth Conference summarizes its thoughts in Reflections document

While much attention has been given to how the world’s Anglican bishops, who gathered here for their once-a-decade conference, have sought ways of mending relationships fractured by deep divisions over homosexuality, there were a host of other life and death global issues that preoccupied them.

The 670 bishops ended their Lambeth Conference here with a 42-page document, entitled Reflections, which they called a “narrative” that seeks to “describe our lived experiences and the open and honest discussions we have had together”¦”

In it, aside from addressing issues around human sexuality and unity, the bishops expressed their views on ecumenism, human and social justice, the environment, relations with other world religions, strengthening Anglican identity, and issued statements of solidarity to people around the world who are in situations of conflict.

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, said that the conference had, as a whole, been “consistent” with the theme of equipping bishops as leaders in mission. “The mission of the church in the world was a really major focus, particularly in the first half of the conference,” he said in an interview with the Anglican Journal. “We talked about everything from evangelism to our work with other churches to things like the Millennium Development Goals.” He said that the discussions that bishops had showed “a church very much engaged with the suffering and hope of the world.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Lambeth 2008

Press release from GAFCON on Lambeth 2008

The Primates’ Council of GAFCON will wish to study the outcome of the Lambeth Conference carefully and consult with those they are leading. They are meeting towards the end of August and will make their response following that meeting.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates, Lambeth 2008

Statement of Archbishop Peter Jensen on Lambeth 2008

We have been praying for the Lambeth conference and now that it has ended we look forward to talking with those who were there.

It seems it has fulfilled the desires of the Archbishop of Canterbury and we also look forward to hearing from him.

Our absence focussed minds on the problems within the communion and spoke louder than our presence would have. However, the issues which have caused such division are still before us and require decisive action so that the mission of the church will not be further impaired.”

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Lambeth 2008

LA Times: Excerpts from Solzhenitsyn's works

He had drawn many a thousand of these rations in prisons and camps, and . . .he knew no way of standing up for his rights, he, like every other prisoner, had discovered long ago that honest weight was never to be found in the bread-cutting. There was short weight in every ration. The only point was how short. So every day you took a look to soothe your soul — today, maybe, they haven’t snitched any.”

— “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich,” 1962

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Poetry & Literature, Politics in General, Russia

Alexander Solzhenitsyn RIP

Nobel laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the reclusive icon of the Russian intelligentsia and chronicler of communist repression, died Sunday. He was 89.

His son, Stephan Solzhenitsyn, told the Associated Press that his father died of heart failure in Moscow.

The soulful writer and spiritual father of Russia’s nationalist patriotic movement lived to be reunited with his beloved homeland after two decades of exile – only to be as distressed by communism’s damage to the Russian character as he was by his earlier forced estrangement from the land and people he loved.

Mr. Solzhenitsyn returned from his Vermont refuge to a dramatically changed Russia in 1994 but deemed it a moral ruin after a monthslong odyssey to become re-acquainted with the country that had denounced him as a traitor, stripped him of citizenship and expelled him in 1974.

Hailed as Russia’s greatest living writer, the author of more than two dozen books – in addition to commentaries, poems, plays and film scripts – won back his citizenship and the respect of his fellow Russians after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Although his books were best-sellers in the West, only “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” was published first in his homeland.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Poetry & Literature, Politics in General, Russia

Telegraph: Archbishop of Canterbury upbeat after Lambeth Conference

Despite 200 primates staying away because of the consecration of the openly gay Gene Robinson as a bishop in New Hampshire Dr Rowan Williams took comfort from the conclusion of the proceedings yesterday.

Speaking exclusively to the Daily Telegraph yesterday, the last Sunday of the decennial gathering of the worldwide Anglican church, Dr Rowan Williams evidently did not want to sound triumphalist.

“I’m content, I think,” he said. But surely he was elated? “Encouraged,” he replied carefully. “Elated is a very dangerous thing to say.” But if he’d been offered this Sunday two months ago, would he have taken it? A pause, then: “Yes, definitely…..

“I feel a great deal of what I hoped for has happened,” he said. “We’ve found that very slowly there’s a slightly different way of doing business. What we haven’t had is a very consistent counter-narrative flowing through the conference from people feeling disenfranchised.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth 2008

Washington Post: Gay Bishop Dispute Dominates Conference

In the end, the 2008 Lambeth Conference will probably be remembered most for the bishop who was not in attendance but who nonetheless threatened to break apart the world’s third-largest church.

The once-a-decade gathering of Anglican bishops and archbishops, which ended Sunday, was dominated by disputes concerning V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the worldwide Anglican church, who was consecrated five years ago in New Hampshire.

In a news conference Sunday, Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual head of the world’s 77 million Anglicans, urged bishops to halt further consecrations of gay bishops, pointing a finger specifically at the United States.

He said that certain dioceses in the American church continue “to put our relations as a communion under strain, and some problems won’t be resolved while those practices continue.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008