When the Anglican Communion started to unravel in 2007, following the Archbishop of Canterbury’s unexplained decision to invite the American bishops to Lambeth 2008, even before the deadline for their compliance with certain restraints imposed by the primates, and the subsequent attempt to pretend that the ‘deadline’ was nothing of the kind, Bishop Mouneer [Anis] stood out as someone who was not prepared to break with the central organs of the Communion.
Unlike many other primates from the developing world, he continued to believe that the processes envisaged by the Windsor Report (2004) and the proposed Anglican Covenant, sponsored by the Archbishop of Canterbury as the answer to the Communion’s incoherence as an ecclesial body, were good and necessary solutions to the church’s problems. Accused of being naive by some of those who went on to form the FCA, Bishop Mouneer stuck by Rowan Williams and became one of his strongest backers. His public statements are full of praise for him and often quote him at some length, a degree of devotion which must make him virtually unique in the Anglican world.
Alas, Bishop Mouneer’s reward for this extraordinary loyalty has been meagre. At one point he specifically asked the ACC to hold back on a statement it was going to issue because he was on a pastoral visit elsewhere in the Middle East and would not have time to consider it until his return to Cairo. He was ignored, and the ACC went ahead without him, making only the shortest of apologies when it realised that it had caused offence. Dr. Williams, who seems to have all the time in the world for Ms Schori, never rushed off to Cairo or showed any public concern for Bishop Mouneer’s position. He could not ignore the bishop’s resignation of course, but his official statement was perfunctory in the extreme and betrayed no sign of any sympathy for the reasons which compelled him to leave.
Bishop Mouneer could easily have camouflaged his resignation in the way that people often do. He could have pleaded the burdens of office or the dangers of stress and ill health. He might even have said that it was time for someone else to take his place, and pretended that he was stepping down in order to give others a chance. He did none of those things.
Instead, he told the truth….
Read it all.