Former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey Offers his Thoughts

The case for the defence

Sir, Kenneth Kearon suggests (CEN May 25) that the decision not to invite AMiA bishops, or the recently consecrated CANA Bishop, to the Lambeth Conference relates to a precedent I set in 2000. This set my mind flashing back to the circumstances of that period. My opposition to the consecration of the two AMiA Bishops related to the setting up of Episcopal activity in the United States which I regarded as unconstitutional and unnecessary (at least at that period). Although I regarded these bishops (both honourable and good men) as ”˜irregularly’ consecrated, there was no question about the validity of their consecrations.

This, of course, was before 2003 when the Episcopal Church clearly signalled its abandonment of Communion norms, in spite of warnings from the Primates that the consecration of a practising homosexual bishop would ”˜tear the fabric of the Communion’. It is not too much to say that everything has changed in the Anglican Communion as a result of the consecration of Gene Robinson. The Archbishop of Canterbury’s prerogative to invite bishops to the Conference is a lonely, personal and important task. Before each Conference a number of careful decisions have to be taken, with the focus being on the well-being of the Communion. The circumstances facing each Archbishop of Canterbury will vary according to the needs of the hour. For these reasons, I believe, that Dr Rowan Williams should not regard the advice he has evidently received that this matter is ”˜fixed’ as necessarily binding on him in the very different circumstances of 2007. He and all his colleagues will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Lord Carey of Clifton

–This letter appears in the Church of England Newspaper, June 1, 2007 edition, on page 10


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth 2008

11 comments on “Former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey Offers his Thoughts

  1. billqs says:

    Well, I guess there will be more angry letters from CoE liberals about Lord Carey trying to “interfere” with the new AoC. It’s good he set the record straight.

  2. midwestnorwegian says:

    This smacks of back-stabbing from +Carey. If you ask me, he did NOTHING to stop or even slow down the creep of neopaganism into the Communion. He did NOTHING to “discipline” the rogue PECUSA/ECUSA/TEC when he was in the cathedra, and now that he’s out…it looks more like a case of bad-mouthing the successor to make your own tenure look better. FORGET it [+Carey]. You utterly failed to see the fire where there was PLENTY of smoke. You’re tenure was a failure, and you cannot re-write history…. [portion of final line deleted.]

    edited by elves. A reminder of the comment policy at T19:
    — No belittling / demeaning names [Georgie]
    — Avoid ad hominem attacks and broad sweeping statements (especially about character, intent and motive) which cannot be substantiated. Provide specifics of actions and statements if you want to make criticisms.

  3. TonyinCNY says:

    I’m glad to see Abp. Carey correcting some of the propaganda from Kearon.

  4. Jon says:

    I think midWestN (#2) is onto something. There is a sense in which a lot of orthodox people have allowed ECUSA, during the 70s and 80s and 90s, to slide (unprotestingly) into the place which finally issued in the events of GC 2003. GC 2003 didn’t fall out of the sky. Who knows — maybe we couldn’t have done anything to stop it. But we should have been more vigorous at denouncing it. The problem is not Gene R per se, but the gradual abandonment of all the other aspects of the faith — which then enabled the VGR ordination.

    I am not 100% certain though what MidwestN had in mind when he said that Carey should have disciplined ECUSA, and that Carey should be castigated for not doing so. Disciplined how? For good or for ill, the ABC doesn’t have the power to do that.

    Actually Rowan Williams has been denouncing Spong (to take one of our more visible apostates) since even before he became ABC and he continued to do so after it. My guess is that +Carey made similar public criticisms. There’s not a whole lot more they could do — only TEC has the power to defrock him.

  5. Br. Michael says:

    But none of the ABC’s have done anything at all about Spong, and he is the worst of the apostates.

  6. Rolling Eyes says:

    Exactly how many smack-downs do the reappraisers need before they get the picture that they are completely in the wrong, and are working on an agenda that is COMPLETELY contrary to ANYTHING resembling the mission of the Church?

    Any group in their right mind would have been ashamed to show their face in public years ago…

  7. rugbyplayingpriest says:

    Totally with #2 here.
    It actually makes my blood rise that ++Carey has suddenly discovered his spine…years too late and only now he is impotent.

    If you are so concerned about the Church why did you forge ahead with Women’s ordination- a move that has more to do with the mess we are in than most commentators dare admit?

    Why did you not fight the rise of liberalism in the selection process and theological colleges? Yes that is right it happened on your watch George!!

    Why did you not do more to persuade ECUSA to stick to the creeds and doctrines of the Christian Church when it was clear they were heading away from mainstream Christianity?

    Why did you invoke a policy of only consecrating liberals under a delusional notion they held a democratic middle gorund. You handed them the reigns of power and are now seemingly surprised that they had an agenda all along.

    If it wasn’t so sad it would be pathetic.

  8. rugbyplayingpriest says:

    Phew sorry about that last comment- calmed down now! But I would love him to answer those questions!

  9. azusa says:

    # 7: yes, hindsight is 20/20. George Carey came from a liberal evangelical background (having previously been conservative evangelical). As he ‘ascended’, he hastened to cast off his associations with evangelicals, such as rejecting the post of patron of CMJ (the Church’s Ministry among Jewish people) – something that all ABCs before had accepted. During his tenure the pro-gay, pro-WO ‘Affirming Catholicism’ movement founded by Williams and Jeffrey John (and Richard Holloway) got organized and gained many suffragan posts – all with Carey’s approval. Meanwhile, conservative evangelicals were totally sidelined (none were made suffragans, though they led the largest churches in the land), so they put their energies into a new group ‘Reform’. I understand that in England diocesan bishops get chosen from the ranks of suffragans, so it’s a self-perpetuating oligarchy with a built-in liberal bias.
    I am also told that, against Carey’s own hopes (the law of unintended consequences?), WO has tilted the clergy balance in England in a liberal direction, as hundreds of middle aged women from liberal catholic backgrounds have been trained in part-time liberal courses which are long on ‘pastoral care’, short on scripture, and non-existent in church planting. None of this helps the CofE to grow, but it locks the institution into theological and moral liberalism. Consider a recent Genral Synod in England, when several members recently boasted about their same-sex relationships, and the total failure of the English bishops to deal with same-sex marriage among their clergy, including Jeffrey John.
    Faced with the apostasy in Ecusa – which did upset him – Carey could do nothing except express his displeasure (e.g. over VTS’s cave in on sexual ethics), while denouncing AMiA. Evangelicals grew sadly resigned to this asymmetry. Carey failed to grasp what led to the creation of AMiA. Alas, now he sees what he should have seen then.

  10. Brian from T19 says:

    ++Carey looks like Jimmy Carter on this one. Old ABCs should fade away and not try to take some moral high ground.

  11. midwestnorwegian says:

    Elves – thank you. You are right. I apologize.