Thursday, 14 August 2008

Needs a Decision

Jim Naughton goes somewhat further than some American bishops:

They don’t go as far as I am about to, but the implication of their thinking is that the Episcopal Church should prepare to distance itself in some way from the Anglican Communion, or accept some sort of reduced status so as not to a) implode; b) compromise one of the few things that makes us attractive to our rapidly secularizing culture; c) betray our consciences on the issue of full inclusion.

This is probably right. In the end, the Americans and Canadians are going to have to take a lead (excuse the pun). The self-sacrifice is to distance from the Communion, but this should have a positive knock-on effect if it is followed by explanation that is consistent say with Irish output this week, and with known concerns in a number of Anglican Churches against centralisation.

The movement from this Communion should also include a refusal to go along with the interference with the soon to be set up Pastoral Forum. Once the movement away is made, it then says to the others, "Those of you who want this Communion centralised can have it so, but we say no thanks, and meanwhile the Pastoral Forum has no authority."

The Americans and Canadians simply will not be left isolated. Others will agree.

As is now becoming clear, there were two Lambeths taking place. One was the form, which was the mainly warm feeling but some clashes, and the other was the content that had a kind of semi-detached and almost pre-planned outcome - the Pastoral Forum and the Faith and Order Commission being examples. Or, to look at it another way, the second more even handed Presidential address gave way to something along old tramlines, to try to force the issue against inclusion and for centralisation and to put the Americans back in the dock again.

In trying to force the hand, the hand has to say no. Noes seem to be emerging now, and although I am not as pessimistic as the Modern Churchpeople's Union it still does take The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada in particular to make a decision.

If not then the Pastoral Forum will be set up quickly and will start to act where it has no authority to act, but the actions against will be defensive. Better to say no sooner.

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