Tuesday, 29 July 2008

It Won't Fly

First responses to this Pastoral Forum add-on to all the other ideas for Communion sticking plaster suggest that this aeroplane won't get off the ground. Or if it does get off the ground, its journey will be short and fruitless. This collection of responses comes via Thinking Anglicans.

The Right Rev Sergio Carranza-Gomez of Los Angeles [The Guardian, Riazat Butt], said:

"If it's really a pastoral thing that will advise and uphold the authority of the body [national church] then it will be OK, but we don't want to have tribunals or a group that enforces doctrine. If it's something that will punish or discipline then I don't think it will work."

There is a different emphasis of view regarding The Right Rev Henry, an assistant bishop in Pittsburgh. In one emphasis, he is against [The Guardian, Riazat Butt]:

"We're a bit beyond extra committees that don't do anything.

"There has to be some sort of parallel structure that acknowledges the orthodox, such as myself."

He was referring to GAFCON. But here he is taken slighly differently [ENS Mary Frances Schjonberg]:

...if the pastoral forum "delivers what it promised and does what it says it's going to do, from our point of view, that would be very helpful."

Yet the diocese will become a member of the Argentina-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone [ENS Mary Frances Schjonberg]:

"Whether that is stoppable by this forum, I don't know, but it would at least address that issue, hopefully, and deal with whether we're deposed or not."

In other words, they will still go through with it! The only issue us whether they are deposed or not!

There are other critical reactions [ENS Mary Frances Schjonberg] such as this from Bishop Sergio Carranza, assistant bishop of Los Angeles:

"There is no willingness to give us a middle ground, to find the via media."... "They are blaming the Episcopal Church and the Canadian church for all the problems."

Arizona Bishop Kirk Smith said he [ENS Mary Frances Schjonberg]:

"would have liked to have seen something initially a little more positive and less punitive."

Diocese of Maine Bishop Coadjutor Steven Lane said [ENS Mary Frances Schjonberg]:

...his initial reaction to the idea of a pastoral forum was to wonder why it would succeed when previous attempts at forming similar groups have failed.

...If the proposals do in fact continue the current moratoria "then we continue to ask our gay and lesbian clergy and congregants to pay the price for this dispute in the Anglican Communion."

This theme of who are the ongoing victims here was given by the Rev. Susan Russell, president of Integrity USA in her statement [ENS Mary Frances Schjonberg]:

"LGBT Anglicans are back on the chopping block based on the work of the Windsor Continuation Group."

..."sadly, what was continued today was the process of institutionalizing bigotry and marginalizing the LGBT baptized. Acceptance of these recommendations would result in de facto sacramental apartheid."

That was the theme taken up by Bishop Michael Ingham of New Westminster, a bishop at the centre of the storm The WCG proposal is [ENS Mary Frances Schjonberg]:

"a non-starter where I live," "ignores reality," and carries a "punitive" tone. ..."It seeks to impose a singular uniformity upon the complex diversity of our communion." ..."I live in a country where homosexual people enjoy the same rights and responsibilities under the law as every other citizen."

He called the paper "an old-world institutional response to a new-world reality in which people are being set free from hatred and violence."

He imagines what this means for the Canadian Church[Anglican Journal Marites Sison]:

"If the proposals are accepted by the Communion, "it will put the Anglican Church of Canada in the position of having to support and defend irrational prejudice and bigotry in the eyes of our nation," he added.

Instead it should be all about [Anglican Journal Marites Sison]:

"inviting us into deeper communion with one another through mutual understanding in the body of Christ." ...a pastoral forum "institutionalizes external incursions into the life of our churches."

Archbishop Caleb Lawrence, of the Canadian diocese of Moosonee and Metropolitan of Ontario, said [Anglican Journal Marites Sison]:

"My concern is how is it going to be applied? It's called a pastoral forum but will it be pastoral? Will it ultimately be juridical?"

"...will it be another one of the situations where there is a right and wrong, black and white, and people will be divided from people even more? Will it be an instrument that will lead to a reconciliation or will it simply exacerbate the divisions we are in now?"

Reported comment is that [The Times Ruth Gledhill]:

...conservatives criticised the document as lacking teeth.

A commentator on the StandFirm website describe the proposal as "purple-shirted flatulence".

Given that this thing is supposed to tackle the very people mentioned here commenting, it hasn't a chance in hell of functioning, and the alternative is surely to arrange an as friendly divorce as possible. Perhaps that could have been the theme of this Lambeth Conference: In what ways can we get along together?

And then we have the business of the The Windsor Continuation Group not even being continuous [ENS Mary Frances Schjonberg]:

Te Paa said that the Windsor Continuation Group is "a curious title to give a group" that has no members of the original commission. She and the other 15 members of the Lambeth Commission on Communion, the formal name of the group that produced the Windsor Report, share an important and "unique historical memory" of the process, she said, adding that none of the WCG members have talked to her or the people with whom she was most closely aligned on the commission.

"Relationality was at the heart of the success of the Windsor Report and one would hope that there might be some recognition of that in the on-going work that needs to be done," she said.

"The spirit of Windsor was very much, I believe, an encouragement towards a respect for mutuality," Te Paa said.

Something missing then.

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