Thursday, 22 October 2009

Here Instead

This is very good, at Episcopal Café's Daily Episcopalian.

Because I have submitted a different article to Episcopal Café, I will now reproduce the one I sent before it here. It rearranges the talk given by Bishop Peter Selby into a summary logical order. It is relevant to display now, given the humiliation of Rowan Williams in the context of the Pope's latest action.


It is an interesting exercise to reduce to essentials the points made in Peter Selby's recent address to Inclusive Church opposing the Covenant. When the points are given headings and reordered, they become even more powerful.

When looking at these points again, keep in mind this: the Church of England Synod voted for draft legislation that meant that in the future diocesan bishops, men and women, would provide male only alternatives to congregations not accepting women bishops. A committee of nineteen overturned this in favour of a general statute, undermining the diocesan principle (the one that elsewhere the Archbishop of Canterbury upholds to the point of undermining Anglican Churches). This revision will go back to the Synod, but this is an example of how the Church of England undermines even the semblance of representational democracy in favour of hierarchy.

Bishop Peter Selby on...

Recognising Anglicanism

Recognisable Anglican practice takes controversial decisions because they seemed to be right, and taking time to see whether they were legitimate developments or not. Recognisable Anglican practice has not been based on procedures of the kind the Archbishop of Canterbury now has in mind.

Unrecognisable Anglicanism in numerous provinces other than TEC has involved bullying, threats, withdrawal of communion, unilateral invasions of others' territories.

Given the treatment given to TEC it is less likely to make a positive response. The Archbishop's Response warm comments on TEC carry little weight if most of his thoughts are actually directed against it.

Anglican Communion

Why does the Archbishop of Canterbury have to deny that the Covenant is a manifestation of centralisation?

The Covenant is a 'when accepted' due to TINA (There Is No Alternative)

Representational congruity, like that of recognisability, cuts in more than one direction.

Membership of the communion ('track A') will in some way be made dependent on conformity to the Covenant text with its message about recognisability and congruity.

The Archbishop of Canterbury would settle for a stalemate, which is what his response actually advocates.

Shared Discernment Recognized by All article: the ACI/ Bishop of Durham 'all' is just selected 'insiders'

The People not the Hierarchy

'Facts on the ground' get established for reasons of conscience and integrity by both 'sides' and reveal the importance of the matter in hand. It is unrealistic for the Archbishop of Canterbury to reject these.

Truth gets discovered precisely in the context of biblical and theological reflection and acted out in worship: the Archbishop quite wrongly suggests that the Church will have ended up conforming to social mores. An example from the people of God in worship: the congregation remained in their seats until a gay pair whose partnership was to be Civil Partner registered had received Communion together.

What is happening to the role and person of the Archbishop if an issue 'seems to fall' to him to articulate a matter? His response to TEC was addressed to 'the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the Anglican Communion', like a papal encyclical.

Ecumenical Relations

Anglicans shall have to take steps to notify ecumenical partners that 'Anglicanism' is not represented only by participants 'signed up' to the Covenant. Such will be 'not in my name' and this excluding will just be the official Church not the peopled Church.

Church of England

The Church of England criticises TEC for collusion with its surrounding culture, but it is itself one of the most successfully enculturated churches.

The Church of England has discomfort with ideologies opposing centuries of European monarchical history, conditioning assumptions behind approaches to Rome rising in priority presently.

Over more than twenty years Bishops' Meetings have brought more mistrust and less openness than at any previous time. There is a pretence of unity that needs to be confronted for the sake of the integrity of ecclesial life.


The Archbishop of Canterbury needs to own some responsibility for the situation regarding homophobia in the Church being far worse than during his predecessor's time.

The Archbishop treats issues of sexuality only as ecclesiastical problems and solutions, denying theological insight and fresh thinking regarding this issue as given to other matters.

There are many forms of 'Church' but 'Hygienic Church' is the one innovation apparently to benefit everyone.

When the Archbishop says that there must be no questioning of LGBT people's human or civil rights or of their membership of the Body of Christ, he is.

His personal opposition to homophobia does not exempt him from complicity in the way that he deals with this issue that traditionalists have used precisely because of the visceral responses which homosexuality arouses and its energies tapped.

'Lifestyle' wording to describe gay partnerships is something of a giveaway of the Archbishop's attitude.

The Archbishop has responded to overwhelming pressure, there is also an element of personal choice and he has arrived at a false consciousness.

Denunciations of homophobia are made without reference to the Archbishop being personally responsible for requiring Jeffrey John's withdrawal from his acceptance of the see of Reading.

The decision not to allow the appointment of a gay person as a bishop is a representative action.

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