I want to commend the statement issued by Archbishop Mouneer Anis, Presiding Bishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East, “Does the Primates meeting have any authority?”. Archbishop Mouneer issues a robust defense of the authority of the Primates’ meeting to oversee the relationships between Anglican provinces with regards to doctrinal, moral and pastoral issues.
The Communion’s Primates are NOT impotent when the Archbishop of Canterbury fails to respond publicly to the Anglican Consultative Council’s public repudiation of Primatial authority. What do the Primates do when the Archbishop of Canterbury remains silent in the face of such a public repudiation of their “enhanced responsibility”? Do they simply wring their hands? Must they remain silent until he speaks””IF he ever decides to speak? Of course not. That is why the Primates of the three largest Churches in the Anglican Communion”“Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda””have spoken so clearly. They understand that their Primatial authority or “enhanced responsibility” to guard the faith and order of the Churches of the Anglican Communion derives from their office as “Principal Bishops” of their Churches, and not from Canterbury. Primates can and do act whether the Archbishop of Canterbury calls them together or not, whether he speaks up for them and their collegial mind and decision making””or not, as Archbishop Welby has chosen to do.
The enhanced responsibility of the Primates to guard the faith and order of the Churches of the Anglican Communion is more than moral and persuasive. It is an ancient principle in Church law..