March 22, 2017

March 18, 2010


A Note on Just How Feckless a Leader is Rowan Williams

By now most of us have come to expect weak-as-dishwater statements from Rowan Williams at the most crucial moments for the Anglican Communion. From the election of Gene Robinson, through all the contortions over the Windsor Report, to Dromantine, GenCon 2006, Dar, New Orleans, GenCon 2009, the endless list of canonical abuses by Katherine Schori, the equally endless list of finger-in-the-eye actions by TEC bishops and dioceses regarding gay blessings and gay ordinations… at each juncture where strong, morally unambiguous and decisive leadership is needed, Rowan Williams routine, reliably, and spectacularly fails to deliver.

His Grace has deigned to make a statement, and you can find it here, but I won’t quote it in my post because the point here is not the words in the statement, although being perfectly useless they do in fact underscore my main point, which is this:

Rowan Williams is a failure as the Archbishop of Canterbury. Whether it can accurately be said that because he is a failure, the communion too will ultimately fail, is debatable and ultimately beside the point. Williams himself, though, is an utter failure, as shown once again not in the actual words of his statement on Glasspool, but in the way the statement was released.

As of this writing, you won’t find Williams’ statement on his official website, or any official website run by the Anglican Communion. That’s because Lambeth Palace is providing the statement only to those who contact them and specifically request it.

So now in addition to the tired old routine of knowing - not expecting, but knowing - that the actual words will be obtuse and ultimately of no import, we now have the added absurdity of having to ask for those obtuse and ultimately worthless words.

Which brings me to my next point:

I’m well aware that there is a crisis of power and authority in the Anglican Communion, even if Dr. Williams is not. I have said for years that the main cause of the communion’s troubles is not gay activists or a knot of syncretists having taken over the national church’s leadership, but the fact that nobody in the Anglican Communion knows exactly who’s in charge of what. Gather together the most knowledgeable, the most interested, the most sympathetic theologians, scholars, bishops and experts in the entire communion, from across it broad theological/political/ecclesial spectrum, and they will be unable to agree on exactly who’s in charge of the bigger questions about what is and is not acceptable behavior in the communion, what is to be done about a member province or diocese that exceeds those bounds, exactly how it is to be accomplished, and exactly who makes those decisions. Sadly, the Communion as it’s structured now reflects a naive wish on the part of its members - that everyone will broadly agree on these things, and that everyone can be trusted to behave accordingly.

But as I’ve written many times, in a communion governed entirely by trust, its order and coherence - indeed, its Christian witness to the world - is only as good as its most corrupt member is trustworthy… and when that member is the Episcopal Church, the bar of order and coherence isn’t merely lowered, it’s broken, chopped into pieces, burned and its ashes scattered to the wind.

Whenever Williams issues his useless statements, those who would defend him point to the deficiencies in the communion’s governing structure as if to say, “Well what do you expect? What do you want him to say? He can’t decree that thus-and-such be done; he doesn’t have the authority!”

That may be true, but it doesn’t relieve Williams of the responsibility to make clear what he thinks should happen. In fact, a good case can be made that the poorer the system of government, the greater the responsibility is of those entrusted with moral leadership to be forceful and clear in their statements and recommendations. Under threat of the gravest of consequences, men like Solzhenitsyn make it clear where their moral compasses point. While it’s hard not to laugh out loud when comparing Rowan Williams to Solzhenitsyn, it should at least serve to illustrate with crystal clarity the leadership vacuum that how exists in the See of Canterbury.

There is nothing stopping Rowan Williams from making clear what he really believes about the morality of consecrating unrepentant sinners to the office of bishop. There is nothing stopping him from declaring where he stands on the matter of homosexual behavior in the context of Scripture. There is nothing stopping him from making it clear what he thinks should happen to the Episcopal Church for its actions in so conclusively rejecting the wishes of the rest of the communion. It doesn’t matter that there is no official mechanism by which a province may be disciplined or ejected; Williams is free to let us know where he stands on all of these matters, from the larger questions of Christian sexual morality to the smaller ones of the mechanisms by which order might be kept.

His failure to make these clear statements - over a period of years and more incidents than any of us care to recount - indicates either that he lacks the courage, or he in fact has no opinion, and I’m not sure which one is worse.

But on we go, waiting to see what he says next, and whatever it is, being secure in the knowledge that we’ll be able to add it to the long list of punch lines to this interminable joke.


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132 comments

He doesn’t seem to have problems issuing forceful, clear, and blessedly brief statements on the need to tax greedy capitalists and ram cap and trade legislation down the throats of the public.  I wonder why he has such a tough time being unequivocal in his Christian voice?

[1] Posted by Daniel on 3-18-2010 at 01:59 PM · [top]

“I wonder why he has such a tough time being unequivocal in his Christian voice”?

Because he personally agrees with the Glasspool-type agenda, whether he’ll admit it in public or not.  I believe the man a master manipulator and he has set it up such that, if the revised Covenant is ratified, instead of the Ridley Draft or the Stephen Noll version, the fox is in charge of the henhouse. 

The man is not stupid and there probably exists such a thing as “intentional dithering”...it’s a smokescreen for agenda-driven subterfuge.  Call me cynical, but that’s what I think. 

How come he also didn’t address the House of Lords when that malarchy about civil unions in churches went through?  That was his JOB, and once again, he booted it.

[2] Posted by Anti-Harridan on 3-18-2010 at 02:10 PM · [top]

<blockquote> add it to the long list of punch lines to this interminable joke.  </blockquote I haven’t ever laughed at the punch lines. This is joke-in-the-sense-of-trick. When a trick is played on me others may laugh. The elite of 815 laugh during cocktail hour in the penthouse. I can imagine their faux-British accent: “Further consultation will now take place, blah, blah, blah.”

[3] Posted by Gator on 3-18-2010 at 02:15 PM · [top]

2 is right in that the ABC agrees with the agenda; he just wants to manage the fallout as best he can. His successor will likely also agree with the agenda, and will likely be more open about it.

[4] Posted by Going Home on 3-18-2010 at 02:19 PM · [top]

I think you do not understand the Archbishop of Canterbury. And I know why that is so. I have been convicted lately that Rowan Williams is clear proof that the charism of speaking in tongues is still present in the Anglican Communion. It is our tragedy and his that the charism of interpretation of tongues has been withdrawn.

[5] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 3-18-2010 at 02:19 PM · [top]

I"m confused.  Isn’t His Grace utterly clear about thinking Sharia Law is needed?  Seems to me like that said reams to anyone listening….as for Her Grace the Presiding Oceanographer…well, the Old Vic called…they’re short a witch in Macbeth.

[6] Posted by 1928BCPforMe on 3-18-2010 at 02:42 PM · [top]

Marvelous, Greg.

But please, don’t hold back.  Tell us what you really think.

Only one little quibble.  Is it fair to judge a man a failure for not achieving goals that he never set for himself?  That is, unfortuantely, a good case could be made that ++RW has actually been remarkably successful in achieving the goals that he chose for himself, namely to delay as long as possible the formal fracture and institutional breakup of the AC.  As Sarah in particular has said so elqouently over and over again, his unstated but ovbious goal is simply to keep everyone at the table as long as possible, hopefully until his tenure in office is over so the official breakup doesn’t happen on his watch.

I’m not trying to make excuses for the guy.  He is indeed a pathetic failure as a leader, or non-leader in this case.  Yes, he has inexcusably abdicated his responsibilities as the chief pastor in the AC.  He is a miserable failure as a successor of the apostles and as a guardian of the apostolic faith and order of the Church universal.  And yes, he has been downright duplicitous at times and he is plainly unworthy of trust or respect by orthodox Christians.

But judged by his own intentions, he is not a failure at all.  The game he’s been playing all along has worked all too well.

But ++Mouneer Anis recently decided to stop playing that useless game.  And I hope that other GS primates and provinces will soon catch on and stop playing along too.

David Handy+

[7] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 3-18-2010 at 02:50 PM · [top]

Greg,

A thought or three:

AbC’s gutless non-release of his quasi-statement provides him a diaphanous layer of plausible deniability when GAFCON/Global South/real bishops come knocking at his door.

If he does nothing further, he has completed the ruination of the soon-to-be former Anglican Communion.  I do not believe the 50-or-so million orthodox believers in the AC will allow that vacuum to persist very long.

Cantuar is decidedly not necessary, except to the black hole known as revisionism.

[8] Posted by Athanasius Returns on 3-18-2010 at 03:06 PM · [top]

David,

We don’t judge leaders by the goals they set for themselves, but by the goals that need achieving by the organizations they lead. Thus it doesn’t matter whether Truman wanted to win WWII - what matters is that the country needed to win it. That goal then became Truman’s goal, whether he wanted it or not, and whether he liked it or not.

A better example might be Bush’s goal of fighting Islamic terrorists. He didn’t go into office with that as a goal. He would have been happy to have been a caretaker president of a prosperous nation at the beginning of a new millennium, but history intervened. Thus fighting Islamic extremists became his goal, and he was judged - and will continue to be judged - by how well or how poorly he did that job.

Williams may or may not support the gay agenda. That’s not really my point. My point is that if he doesn’t, then he needs to get out there and explain why, and set about the task of putting right the problems in the communion that have grown out of that agenda.

If he does support it, then he needs to get out there and say so, and make his case to the rest of us why we should, too, and set about the task of putting right the problems in the communion that have grown out of that agenda.

Furrowing his brow and lamenting the situation isn’t going to cut it. That’s not what leaders do.

[9] Posted by Greg Griffith on 3-18-2010 at 03:09 PM · [top]

Bottom Feeder (#2) is right. Rowan is not a weak ditherer but actually a strong leader. The ABC has decisively used his power to shield TEC and prevent the Communion from acting at each step of this sorry journey since 2003. I also agree that Rowan is very intelligent; he well understands that his power to shield TEC depends on his ability to obscure from the Primates and from the whole Communion his agreement with TEC on the merits of its actions. Therefore, his public statements since 2003 concerning TEC’s enormities have been mainly unintelligible. In simple terms, Rowan is duplicitous.

Several years ago Fr. Kennedy compared our situation to Eli’s. When the cancer of apostacy began to spread through TEC the orthodox did not stop it. As a result the cancer spread and now all TEC is infected. Note well that Integrity has dropped the language of “inclusion” and now talks about putting “facts on the ground” in every TEC diocese. Thus TEC will labor to spread its cancer to healthy Dioceses, such as South Carolina.

Since 2003 the ABC has prevented the Instruments from excising the cancer, and as a result it is spreading through the Communion. Rowan Williams had already discredited himself, if not the office of the ABC, to serve as an Instrument for the Communion, and he and TEC are working to solidify their control of the other Instruments. In a few years, that which Integrity is working to spread throughout TEC, TEC will be working to spread thoughout the entire Communion.

The Primates, al clergy, and we laity now must determine if we will excise the cancer and save the Communion. If we do not, the cancer will spread throughout the Communion and eventually destroy it.

[10] Posted by Publius on 3-18-2010 at 03:17 PM · [top]

According to the heading over at T19, and the discussion there, and, well, the fact that ++RW is referred to in the 3rd person, this is a press release from Lambeth Palace, not a statement from the Archbishop. And, if you look at the content, it’s essentially saying ‘This is what the ABC said back in December,’ with the addition of ‘since Glasspool was approved, he’s consulting about how to respond.’ More than anything, this looks like a place-holder.

I would suspect, from my small experience of church politics (and at a much lower level, so I’m extrapolating here) that Williams is probably locked in his office, trading phone calls with the other primates, ++Sentamu, the chair of the ACC, possibly one or two other senior CofE bishops, and possibly a very small handful of his closest advisers. I doubt he is commenting to anyone at all, even his own staff at this point, and wouldn’t expect a statement until he has finished his deliberations—probably not until sometime next week, although I could be wrong and things could move much more quickly.

I’m not saying that we should necessarily hope for anything remarkably strong—although I suppose there is the possibility of ‘I gave you guys every last possible chance and then some, but now it’s out of my hands’—just that we shouldn’t attack the guy for something he hasn’t done/said yet.

[11] Posted by tk+ on 3-18-2010 at 03:43 PM · [top]

tk+,

I’d say that not anticipating this outcome, especially after all the time he’s had to observe the progress and all the opportunity he has to keep tabs on it privately; and not having a statement ready, is exactly the kind of poor leadership I’m pointing to here.

This isn’t Pearl Harbor, or 9/11 - it wasn’t a surprise attack, or even something he thought might happen one day but hadn’t happened before: Gene Robinson was elected over 6 years ago, and since then he’s seen Tracey Lind get nominated, the guy in Newark or New Jersey or wherever… presumably he’s seen the videos of bishops riding in gay pride parades, bishops “marrying” gay couples… he’s had over 6 years’ warning that this would happen again, each year with numerous incidents pointing to it.

Oh, and not to mention the repeal of B033 in Anaheim.

So I guess it’s better than nothing that he’s leapt into action now, assuming that’s what he’s done, but not much better.

[12] Posted by Greg Griffith on 3-18-2010 at 03:54 PM · [top]

tk+  -  That is the whole point!!  He hasn’t *EVER* said or done ANYTHING *EVER*!!

[13] Posted by veritas2007 on 3-18-2010 at 03:55 PM · [top]

Fuzzy druid!

[14] Posted by paradoxymoron on 3-18-2010 at 04:48 PM · [top]

Greg:

I would agree that this result isn’t a surprise for anyone. However, I can understand waiting to begin the consultation until after the election was approved rather than before—both pastorally and politically, if he is indeed consulting about church discipline, it is better to deal with ‘since they have done x’ rather than ‘since they are almost inevitably going to do x.’ Likewise, in light of his position as primus inter pares and spokesman for the communion, I find it completely understandable to want to complete the consultation before making a statement.

Veritas:

He has in fact both said and done an awful lot in the past few years; what he has said has been remarkably consistent, what he has done less so—at least to outward appearances, and I for one am willing to admit that we won’t have the whole picture until this has all been settled for several years, and am willing to keep my judgments tentative until then.

[15] Posted by tk+ on 3-18-2010 at 05:01 PM · [top]

Paradoxymoron-
“Fuzzy Druid” !
Man, that’s gonna stick (at least in my mind.)  Thanks for the chuckle smile

[16] Posted by cityonahill on 3-18-2010 at 05:08 PM · [top]

I think we all need to remember, that above all the ABC is a political appointee in the United Kingdom who’s main function is to run the state church. Anglican communion is not, as he consistently demonstrates, of primary importance.

Ultimately, it is the prime minister who determines who becomes ABC. Rowan Cantaur’s selection was approved by Tony Blair the Labor prime minister. He is therefore a reflection of the sordid liberal and anti-Christian policies supported by that party and their ilk. A prime minister would not have appointed anyone who disagreed with the philosophy, platform, or policies of the party he represents.

Because of this, and given his pre-ABC opinions and actions, any expectation of him standing with the Gospel, making a definitive decision to determine who is or is not in communion, or providing real support to those who wish to remain Orthodox is wishful thinking.

My apologies for being cynical but I do not foresee any substantive spiritual (or other) direction coming from him. There will only be further dithering and obfuscation to allow him to play both sides of the fence. This of course is to the detriment of Anglicans everywhere.

Perhaps it is time to redefine the instruments of communion?.

In light of the Matthew 5:43-45 reminder to those posting comments, and with sincerity; I invite everyone to pray regularly for Rowan++, Katherine++, and all Primates and Bishops. If anyone needs it they do.

[17] Posted by Prophet Joel on 3-18-2010 at 05:33 PM · [top]

I wonder if the lack of response to the recent Christian genocide in Nigeria by the AC website, coupled with the sell of the Binghamton church to become a mosque, might be as big an issue at the Global South meeting as Bishop-elect Glasspool.  I don’t know if Williams and Schori are intentionally provoking the Global South to break away or not.

[18] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 3-18-2010 at 05:42 PM · [top]

Hmmm, the fuzzy part of “fuzzy druid” is clear.  It’s the “druid” part that’s tough.  Those old druids actually believed enough to sacrifice people ... oh, wait ...!  Nevermind.  But, on second thought, do they count if they are merely “sheep” or third-worlders?  I thought the druids had to sacrifice the powerful.

Some one of us does not understand druids.  I think it’s the “honorary” one.

[19] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 3-18-2010 at 05:56 PM · [top]

When evaluating Rowan Williams’ leadership, think of the sleight of hand, Vegas card dealer, Harlem Globtrotter tactics that took place in Jamaica and be warned.

He is utterly culpable for not defending the Faith and Church of Jesus Christ.  I’d hate to be in Williams’ shoes when the Lord looks him in the eye and asks why he allowed the rape and disgrace of His Bride.

[20] Posted by Floridian on 3-18-2010 at 05:57 PM · [top]

Rather, Williams has allowed the rape of Christ’s Bride and the disgrace of Christ’s Name.

[21] Posted by Floridian on 3-18-2010 at 05:59 PM · [top]

#18, That is a scary thought. You might be right. My apologies, but I hope and pray that you are wrong.

[22] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 3-18-2010 at 06:01 PM · [top]

Do I hear the faint humming of “Kum Ba Ya” coming from England?

[23] Posted by Already left on 3-18-2010 at 06:48 PM · [top]

Just a simple, serious question:  If Rowan Williams wanted to completely and thoroughly destroy the Anglican Communion in the span of a single ABC’s tenure, what would he have done differently from what he’s done to date?

[24] Posted by Jeffersonian on 3-18-2010 at 07:00 PM · [top]

“I don’t know if Williams and Schori are intentionally provoking the Global South to break away or not”.

This is well-considered; like a spouse in an already troubled marriage having an intentional affair just to force the other partner to file for divorce. 

And, if so, the statement issued from ACO would be, “We’re so sorry that they felt like they had to do that.  We’ll leave the light on for them.”

They could spin it any which way, but the Communion would break up on Williams’s watch, which would still be his legacy and viewed as his fault.  Plus, the majority of the world’s Anglicans would leave the liberal numbers in the dust. 

Theologically, and having been married a long time through some challenging external forces trying to act on my marriage(it amazes me what some allegedly Christian lay people and clergy think they have a right to do), I am not a big fan of divorce, but we all know that sometimes divorce is necessary, and also sometimes, it’s better for all concerned.  I say this with happiness at others’ possibilities; all the satisfied ACNAers are proof of this.  Someday I’ll probably join you, but without malice to any remaining “stayers”.

The Global South and co. have a lot to consider, but I know they will do it prayerfully and wisely.  The Spirit will be there, as opposed to attending the upcoming black mass in Los Angeles.

[25] Posted by Anti-Harridan on 3-18-2010 at 07:06 PM · [top]

When a marriage is obviously so sick and all attempts to cure that illness have come to naught, what choice is there but to divorce and move on?  The same applies to the sickness now infecting the Anglican Communion.  No one really wants it to happen, but given the choices that we have, what else is there for us to do….especially for those who for one reason or another don’t want to go to Rome or Orthodoxy, yet remain in communion with each other as Anglican Christians?

[26] Posted by Cennydd on 3-18-2010 at 07:24 PM · [top]

[9] Greg Griffith

We don’t judge leaders by the goals they set for themselves, but by the goals that need achieving by the organizations they lead.

Not every leadership decision is so cut and dried.  A leader must account for the willingness of those he would lead to actually follow.  FDR struggled with this reality before WWII.  If RW had actually attempted to lead in the manner you suggest, he would have provided an easy answer to Jeffersonian’s question in [24].  He would have immediately ripped apart the AC along theological fault lines.  In so doing, he would have sealed the fate of the CoE.  That has been RWs dilemma all along.  He sought stasis for anything else would propagate the fight into the CoE, and destroy it.  Every leadership decision he has made has been intended to perpetuate stasis.  They have all be driven by the fact that many people would never follow him no matter where he tried to lead.  Given his overarching priority of defending the CoE, he could do nothing but stand still.  It may not have been a noble effort, but it certainly is comprehensible. 

He has failed.  The CoE is busy sealing its own fate by following TECs road.  The AC is slowly dissolving.  Nothing can stop it now.  To save the situation, RW needed the courage to risk the CoE for the Gospel, but he didn’t possess the requisite convictions.  He chose to value the Institution instead.  We see where it got him in the end.

carl

[27] Posted by carl on 3-18-2010 at 07:27 PM · [top]

He reminds me of Cousin It - a head of hair all over the place spouting syllables of nonsense.

[28] Posted by Nikolaus on 3-18-2010 at 08:32 PM · [top]

Cenny #26, I agree.  And ultimately it doesn’t matter who files when the divorce is necessary or inevitable. 

Yet I think that history will not judge Williams kindly…there is a mass-ton of documented evidence of saying one thing and doing another.  That sort of thing has no integrity whatsoever, and it doesn’t take 2 PhD’s or academia to see that.

[29] Posted by Anti-Harridan on 3-18-2010 at 08:57 PM · [top]

Thank you, Greg, for clarity in a time of duplicity and confusion.  I agree that ++Rowan will be judged on whether he can successfully articulate a clear vision for the Anglican Communion coming out of this crisis.  I do not hold out much hope.

For what it’s worth, I am not sure, though, that he is lying or duplicitous.  We do have evidence of it at Dar es Salaam and Jamaica, but I am not convinced I am able to fairly make such a sweeping judgment.  Rather, I think one could plausibly argue he is trying to discern some (illusory) ‘middle way’ on this issue.  To be sure, there is useful role for maintaining the ‘middle ground’ in leadership, but it is usually on issues where a diversity of opinions legitimately does not undermine core institutional commitments but may be necessary for maintaining unity (e.g., not casting one’s lot with either a Reformed or Anglo-Catholic read on the Articles of Religion).  It always does contain certain risks, however, for it is a hedge against the reservoir of institutional trust. 

If—and I think it is a big, dubious IF—if that is what ++Rowan thinks he is doing, then he does not realize (a) how little institutional trust remains in the Anglican Communion from its members on this issue.  Not after all these years and all the conflict.  (b) If the middle way is his paradigm, then he fails to understand that the middle ground on this issue does not exist.  Neither side is—rightly—willing to ‘agree to disagree.’  We can’t sit idly by during a period of ‘reception.’  Too much is at stake.

One final thought: as a fellow academic, I sometimes get the distinct impression from ++Rowan that he views this whole conflict as an exercise in applied theology.  It is as if it is a little incubator for some ideas germinated in a graduate seminar.  His stance has that whiff of unreality and pretension I sometimes detect in the rarefied air of academe.  Unreality: We think that just because we can imagine it, and someone has not convinced us it is false, therefore it must be true, or true enough for us.  And away we go, building yet one more imaginary construct upon another.  Or worse, pretension: we despise the exercises of clarity and power and dismiss their necessity in an uncertain and dangerous world.  Moral clarity or strong leadership get laughed out of the room.  They are the stuff that only politicians or businessmen deign to dirty their hands with.  Our moral purity is purchased at the price of shirking such responsibility.

But I pray that I am wrong in this latter diagnosis.  If I am, I can assure you: there is no cure for a meddling academic.  ;>)

[30] Posted by Steve Lake+ on 3-18-2010 at 10:41 PM · [top]

Can’t wait for that councilliar system of church government to kick in and straighten out all this mess.

[31] Posted by PROPHET MICAIAH on 3-18-2010 at 10:46 PM · [top]

#30 - Steve Lake wrote: “Rather, I think one could plausibly argue he is trying to discern some (illusory) ‘middle way’ on this issue.”

The infamous illusory ‘middle way’ is a code word for compromise which has been the Modus Operandi of Anglicanism for way too long.  Compromise has produced the state of affairs.

The Gospel of Salvation, the Commandments, the Scriptures - may not - must not - cannot - be compromised, polluted, distorted without losing their holiness, value and power to save and transform human souls into the character of Christ who is the Way (Love), the Truth and the Life. 

The church has abandoned Love, Truth and Life and allowed satan’s counterfeits, lust, lies and death to enter little by little and influence and deceive generations of people. 

Only His Word rediscovered and allowed to pierce and convict can deliver this church from the evil that is upon us, nationally and globally.

The Continuing Indaba Project foisted upon the Anglican Communion by sleight of hand, is an example of the evil that has overtaken the Canterbury-centered AC.  This is a propaganda plan to promote the false gospel of promiscuity (alias sexual freedom), homosex, contraception and abortion (alias reproductive freedom) in third world countries. 

True Christianity alone teaches that people are holy image of God and all human life, men and women and children, even the unborn children, as well as our bodies, should be protected, honored, respected and cherished. 

Moslems, Hindus, Pansexualism and other false religions and social idealogies (Communism, Socialism, global utopianism) exploit the poor, the weak, women and children for their own use and for the sake of their systems.

Rowan Williams has dedicated himself to promoting some mix of these religions, not holy faithful true Christianity.

[32] Posted by Floridian on 3-19-2010 at 06:09 AM · [top]

To be clear - Only GOD’s Word rediscovered and allowed to pierce and convict can deliver this church from the evil that is upon ANGLICANISM, nationally and globally.

[33] Posted by Floridian on 3-19-2010 at 06:10 AM · [top]

I do believe God has used Rowan Williams and KJS and the pansexual syncretist agendites for His purposes - to wake, shake, sift and purify His Church.

Just as He is using the sexual abuse scandals to do the same in the RCC.

[34] Posted by Floridian on 3-19-2010 at 06:13 AM · [top]

Floridian #34 - yes, in fact I Corinthians 11:17-19 came up in the Daily Office lectionary this week.

[35] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 3-19-2010 at 06:27 AM · [top]

The problem with the middle way is that it went from a method of accommodating two disparate, but Christian theologies to an end in itself with the middle being defined as the space between Christianity and something not Christian.

Our goal is Christ. There can be no compromise on that. I don’t know if the Archbishop of Canterbury believes that. And that is troubling indeed.

By way of contrast, I’m not RC, but I believe the Pope is genuine and true to his beliefs. I believe he is sincere in his theology.

I know the vast majority of Episcopal bishops to be insincere in theirs.

[36] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 3-19-2010 at 06:36 AM · [top]

I still see no statement on his website.  What a coward.

[37] Posted by Newbie Anglican on 3-19-2010 at 07:43 AM · [top]

Newbie Anglican (above), Rowan is trying to have his cake and eat it, too.  By selectively releasing the third-person statement and not officially announcing his position on the consents, he can safely say to the orthodox that he disapproves.  At the same time, he can tell the revisionists he has NOT officially disapproved of the consents.  Coward, yes.  Machiavellian, yes.  Leader, NO.  NO.  NO.

I’m well aware that there is a crisis of power and authority in the Anglican Communion, even if Dr. Williams is not.

This is THE crisis that gave rise to all the symtomatic sub-crises that have arisen.  The crisis of power and authority.

See Matthew 7.  At a time of great turmoil in both the civil and religious communities of the day, Jesus quietly comes and snaps the crowds to attention.

ALL involved in power and authority mongering, usurpation, disuse, misuse, and abuse would do well to come back directly under the authority of Christ Jesus.  ESPECIALLY those in the fiduciary positions of shepherds in Christ’s Church.

Leadership amongst the vast majority of the TEC, ACoC, and CofE has completely strayed from the ultimate authority.  This includes the AbC, TEC’s PB, and numerous others.  They should not be under the misapprehension that ESV">Christ’s sheep are paying attention to their authority and power.  Their authority and power are demonstrably in contradistinction to HIS real authority and power!!!

[38] Posted by Athanasius Returns on 3-19-2010 at 07:58 AM · [top]

“ALL involved in power and authority mongering, usurpation, disuse, misuse, and abuse would do well to come back directly under the authority of Christ Jesus. ESPECIALLY those in the fiduciary positions of shepherds in Christ’s Church.  Leadership amongst the vast majority of the TEC, ACoC, and CofE has completely strayed from the ultimate authority.”

Excellent statement bearing repeating and highlighting, Athanasius Returns!

[39] Posted by Floridian on 3-19-2010 at 08:24 AM · [top]

‘I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love . . .’ Eph. 4:1-2.

[40] Posted by tk+ on 3-19-2010 at 09:27 AM · [top]

Rowan can put out new releases and post them on the Lambeth site immediately when it suits him.  It occurered to me at the time that this wasn’t being sent out the same way.  The “further consulation” was revealing.  He has made it clear through previous writings and statements and lack there of that he wants time for TEC’s agenda to spread the same way it did here in the US - by plotting and “straegic” elections.  He’s looking for ways out of having to do anything.

Greg, you have posted a very on-target, well-discerned analysis.  Thank you for having the spine to do it.  That is what we need in leadership - people who are willing to do the hard stuff.

[41] Posted by Lakeland 2 on 3-19-2010 at 10:13 AM · [top]

Looked up ‘Feckless’ and ‘Feck’....really don’t fit. 

From the first moment of the ‘reign’ of this ABC, Williams has acted intentionally and carefully to achieve his and TEC’s agendas.

Better words to describe the ‘reign’ of this ABC are:
- nefarious
- execrable
- flatitious
- unconscionable
- corrupt
- malignant
- seductive
- subversive
- unprincipled
- perverse

[42] Posted by Floridian on 3-19-2010 at 10:37 AM · [top]

Alas, Floridian, you left out “useless”.  But that is only a partial descriptor, since he has been MOST EFFECTIVE for the revisionists.  That would be his Grace’s body to support, and is the mere carrying out and implementation of his actual stance revealed in The Body’s Grace (no reference to the other than physical body now clearly evident).

[43] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 3-19-2010 at 11:26 AM · [top]

I nominate the first lines of this Captain Yips post as the Friday palate cleanser.  Bon Apetit! 
http://captainyips.typepad.com/journal/2010/03/what-is-it-spring-already.html

[44] Posted by Floridian on 3-19-2010 at 11:38 AM · [top]

Floridian said…

The infamous illusory ‘middle way’ is a code word for compromise which has been the Modus Operandi of Anglicanism for way too long.


And when the left says “compromise,” they are actually saying, “let’s keep talking until you conservatives give up the farm, and we liberals stay the course of our chosen path.”

That’s not compromise, it’s capitulation.

[45] Posted by The Pilgrim on 3-19-2010 at 12:11 PM · [top]

I think it’s time for GAFCON to issue a joint statement with the Catholic and Orthodox churches that, whatever their differences are on critical matters, they agree in anathematizing TEO and the AOoC and put the CoE and AoC on notice that they’re next…

There’s a point where the rot is so deep that you can’t call these organizations Christian churches - and I think we’re there.

Of course, you hold out the promise of repentence, restoration, and forgiveness - but you do it on Biblical terms. To borrow the language from the US Dept of Education (which I’d normally avoid doing, but in this case it does enumerate different ways to make penance - see http://www2.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2009/08/08262009.html for the original), you require one of the four models:

* Turnaround Model – This would include among other actions, replacing the Bishop and at least 50 percent of the diocese’s clergy, adopting a new governance structure and implementing a new or revised clergy formation program.

* Restart Model – The Communion would anathematize apostate dioceses reopen them under the management of a qualified missionary Bishop (e.g. from AMIA), partnership with a Global South province, or other qualified Christian diocese or province selected through a rigorous review process. A restart diocese would be required to admit, within the area it serves, any former layperson who wishes to attend.

* Diocesan Closure – The Communion would anathematize a failing Bishop and enroll the laypeople who attended that diocese in other faithful dioceses in the geographical region.

* Transformational Model – Dioceses would address four specific areas: 1) Christian formation, which includes replacing the Bishop and Standing Committees who led the Diocese prior to commencement of the transformational model, 2) implementing comprehensive evangelism and teaching reform strategies, 3) extending prayer time to seek the Lord instead of turning to false gods, and creating missions, and 4) providing operating flexibility and sustained support to evangelism.

The proposal above isn’t perfect and would probably require the faithful to simple abandon all TEO and AOcC property. I’m sure there would need to be a “branding exercise” to let people know that these “ecclesiastical communities” are not Christian churches and you enter at your own risk.

Come to think of it, this is pretty much what the Global South started with the Jerusalem Declaration (and in their support of ACNA). Maybe we just have to forge ahead on the assumption that Canterbury, the ACC, and LAmbeth are ineffective and “Ichabod”.

[46] Posted by Doug Stein on 3-19-2010 at 12:20 PM · [top]

It will be interesting to see what comes from the Global South Primates’ meeting later this spring.  Will they do anything?  One can hope!

[47] Posted by Cennydd on 3-19-2010 at 01:17 PM · [top]

Alas, Doug, anathemas have fallen out of favor in the Catholic Church, but I’ve heard of some Russian Orthodox who will gladly bulldoze a church building or two.

[48] Posted by phil swain on 3-19-2010 at 01:25 PM · [top]

...I’ve heard of some Russian Orthodox who will gladly bulldoze a church building or two.

It happened in Moscow, about eight or ten years ago.  a liberal priest performed a same-sex “marriage” in his church.  When word got out, the Archpatriarch defrocked the priest, excommunicated the two men, deconsecrated the churh, then tore it down and sold the lumber and the land it had been sitting on.

THAT’S the way to deal with heretics.

[49] Posted by The Pilgrim on 3-19-2010 at 03:07 PM · [top]

Greg (#9),

Hey, my #7 was truly a quibble and was largely intended in jest.  I guess it didn’t come through that way, sorry.

I agree that leaders are to be measured according to how well they did the job that needed to be done.  But my point was that, as others have noted, he actually has been rather surprisingly successful at achieving the (unworthy) goals he seems to have set for himself, i.e., delaying the inevitable breakup of the CoE as well as the whole AC as long as possible.  That’s ironic and sad, but quite understandable, even though it’s no valid excuse for his abdication of the unique responsibility that was his as the central figure in the AC.

Of course, what really matters is not what you or I or any other human being thinks of ++RW’s exercise of his weighty responsibilities.  All that really matters is whether Jesus Christ as the Head of the Church thinks ++RW has been successful, or faithful, in his ministry.

And I’d hate to be in his shoes on the Judgment Day.  But then, I have more than enough failures of my own that I’ll have to give account for someday (2 Cor. 5:10).

David Handy+

[50] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 3-19-2010 at 03:29 PM · [top]

TEC House of Bishops is meeting this weekend.  Wonder if the red line to Lambeth was installed at Camp Allen? tongue rolleye

[51] Posted by In Exile on 3-19-2010 at 04:12 PM · [top]

Not disagreeing with anything Greg has said, but what, if anything, can +++Rowan do at this point?  State, for the record, that the Presiding Oceanographer will NOT be invited to the next Primates’ Meeting (whenever that is)?  Kick TEC off any boards or committees?  (I don’t think he has the power to do that, but I could be wrong.)  Dis-invite anyone to the next Lambeth Conference (when he won’t still be the ABofC)?  Really, at this point, what CAN he do besides issue statements, even one as weak as the one issued so far?  I would be interested to know if he has any power, other than moral authority (which he has thus far failed to exercise), to DO anything at this point.

[52] Posted by Connie Sandlin on 3-19-2010 at 05:25 PM · [top]

Williams should never have placed the newly-elected KJS in any position while TEC was ‘on probation’...but he did so right away.  That was the first clue of his consistent and unswerving intent.

[53] Posted by Floridian on 3-19-2010 at 05:32 PM · [top]

52, You are right, the battle with the ABC was essentially lost, game set match, with the Lambeth invites.

But, if the ABC wanted to, which he doesnt, there would be any number of things that he could do. For example, he could issue a statement that he supports the full recognition of the ACNA, immediately.  He could invite the ACNA leaders, the hard line Global South Primates and South Carolina’s Bishop over for a very public hugfest. He could get “invited” to speak at the SC Cathedral, and then visit one of the succeeding ACNA Dioceses.  He could replace those members of his staff who are supportive of the revisionist cause.

[54] Posted by Going Home on 3-19-2010 at 05:37 PM · [top]

Another indicator of his leadership, not a peep from Williams about this:
“In the last week, hundreds of Christians, principally Anglicans, have been butchered in their beds while they slept or massacred in their yard as they fled their burning homes in the rural areas surrounding Jos, Nigeria. Have the liberals used up their compassion and outrage over the sexuality legislation proposed in Uganda? Are the threats of government sanctions there of graver consequence than pregnant women and small children, the old and the infirm being chopped up by Muslim activists with machetes?” (from Bishop David Anderson, AAC, posted at Anglican Mainstream)

[55] Posted by Floridian on 3-19-2010 at 05:41 PM · [top]

54.  Going Home:  Or perhaps the Global South primates should show their displeasure by sending Parliament a letter demanding that they sack Rowan Cantuar.

[56] Posted by Cennydd on 3-19-2010 at 06:15 PM · [top]

Now that would be cool.
The ABC speaking at the SC cathedral en route to sharing communion with ++Duncan!

[57] Posted by Bo on 3-19-2010 at 06:19 PM · [top]

Are the threats of government sanctions there of graver consequence than pregnant women and small children, the old and the infirm being chopped up by Muslim activists with machetes?”

Well, women and children, the old and infirm, that’s one thing.  Now if they were Gay Christians being dismembered in their yards, Russell and Kaeton would be screaming their heads off, but since it’s women and children…

[58] Posted by The Pilgrim on 3-19-2010 at 06:40 PM · [top]

Thanks Cennydd.  #47 will serve as a helpful all-purpose form letter.

It will be interesting to see what comes from the ________________ meeting(s) later this ________________ (choose one: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, week, month, year)
Will ______________ (she, he, they) do anything?  One can hope! 
Sincerely,
_____Hopeful
_____Not hopeful.

This should save us all a lot of time, effort and energy.  Just copy and paste.

[59] Posted by Floridian on 3-19-2010 at 06:40 PM · [top]

Ummm, thanks (I guess!)

[60] Posted by Cennydd on 3-19-2010 at 07:00 PM · [top]

55. David Cameron already lambasted the AoC for not moving fast enough on including gays!! You’ll get no relief from the Parliament. GAFCON should pull out of any connection with the COE and put a new Archbishopric somewhere else.

[61] Posted by Joel on 3-19-2010 at 07:04 PM · [top]

Hmmm - so much heat, so little light.
Oh well.

[62] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 3-19-2010 at 07:09 PM · [top]

Well then, how about establishing that new Communion in some place where they have a very strong Anglican Christian presence?  And how about this name:  ‘The Anglican Christian Communion?’

[63] Posted by Cennydd on 3-19-2010 at 07:19 PM · [top]

What Rowan could do-
1. Call for the immediate resignation of KJS and Douglass from the JSC/SCAC.  And do this publicly. (maybe, but probably not publicly)
2. Since no one has yet signed it, recall his Covenant re-write committee and re-write it to either a) put the primates back in charge or b) make clear who the Covenant Standing Committee is, and that it is someone other than the gerrymandered western controlled committee that is a creature of British law rather than the Communion agreements. (very unlikely)
3. Implement the Dar communique- it is still, supposedly, the agreed upon solution to the crisis in North America.  Provide immediate primatial oversight for the CP bishops and make publicly clear that THEY are THE Anglican Bishops of their dioceses, in Communion with the See of Canterbury, come hell, high water or deposition. (not a chance, but within his power)
4. Declare the sees of New Hampshire and Los Angeles vacant.  Or go the whole 9 yards and declare all the sees of any bishop who has allowed ANY SSB in his or her diocese vacant.  Now, does this have any impact on who TEC recognizes as bishop?  Not a bit.  Would it speak volumes to the world, and to Piskies in those dioceses, you bet. (also not a chance, but if GS primates can do it, so can the ABoC)

See, there is a lot he COULD do.  Will he?  Maybe number 1, although I think he will do it more quietly, and probably try to negotiate some face saving route.  In the case of 2, we will probably get some sort of nuanced statement that it has been his understanding that should the Covenant be adopted, that those who are not Covenant members will be invited to recuse themselves when a Covenant related question comes up, but will stop well short of actually saying that TEC has made itself ineligible to sign the Covenant by consecrating Glasspool.  3 and 4 are, of course, never going to happen, but are within his power, if he had the will to act.
What COULD an ABoC do?  He could do this- it has been done before-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ym6Qgj55e3Y

[64] Posted by tjmcmahon on 3-19-2010 at 07:23 PM · [top]

#64 TJ - It has been done before, but it did not do Thomas à Becket much good, now did it?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blggIo7uvbU&feature=related

[65] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 3-19-2010 at 07:52 PM · [top]

Now THAT I could go for, tjmcmahon!

[66] Posted by Cennydd on 3-19-2010 at 07:59 PM · [top]

Pageantmaster,
When was the last time the Monarch of England removed an Archbishop of Canterbury? And can Queen Elizabeth still do that under current laws?

[67] Posted by Marie Blocher on 3-19-2010 at 08:19 PM · [top]

#67 Marie Blocher
I really don’t know.  I do know that Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury was deposed, on 11 April 1070, and I am sure there have been more recent examples.

In practical terms he will not go until retirement, or until he loses the confidence of the CofE bishops or Communion Primates and his position becomes untenable.  He has a brief window in my judgment, and if he does not shape up it is more likely that he will just be marginalised, as TEC have just marginalised him.

Tragic, but there we are.  Inactions have consequences.

[68] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 3-19-2010 at 08:42 PM · [top]

Evidently Royal displeasure has little bearing on the Church these days.

[69] Posted by Cennydd on 3-19-2010 at 09:01 PM · [top]

As far as I can see the last Archbishop deprived of his position was William Sancroft in 1690 who refused to take an oath to William and Mary, and before that Thomas Cranmer deprived in 1555 for heresy.  Others like William Laud were executed while still in office.

[70] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 3-19-2010 at 09:05 PM · [top]

Pageantmaster, thanks for that link to “Murder at the Cathedral’.  That single short episode stands alone and is very moving.

Cennydd, the Queen has no usable power to do anything about the ABC and his seat other than to, perhaps, discuss and advise.  Read carl’s comment [27].  He’s right on the money, I believe.  His flock is the CoE first and foremost, and he is ‘first among equals’ second.

[71] Posted by Bill C on 3-19-2010 at 10:02 PM · [top]

I like what Christopher Hitchens wrote about Williams here

Here’s a brief quote from Hitchens’ article:

The archbishop’s church is about to undergo a schism. More than 10 conservative congregations in Virginia have seceded, along with some African bishops, to protest the ordination of a gay bishop in New England. I ask him how it’s going. “Well”—he lowers his voice—“I’m rather trying to keep my head down.” Well, why, in that case, I want to reply, did you seek a job that supposedly involves moral leadership? But I let it go. ... And there’s something hopelessly innocent about the archbishop: he looks much more like a sheep than a shepherd.

Rowan Williams is a big sissy.  That’s the problem.  He was the wrong man for the wrong job at the wrong time.  He lacks the character to rise to the occasion.  He sympathizes with the gay lobby, as his writings disclose.  But the real problem is that, while he knows he has some duty to the Anglican Communion to do something about this, he just doesn’t have the guts to do it.  So he won’t do anything.  He probably won’t even say anything much about it this time, because he is so obviously impotent and gutless that a statement will simply underscore his personal failures.  KJS would take him out in a barroom brawl anytime.

[72] Posted by jimbob on 3-19-2010 at 10:09 PM · [top]

“Discuss and advise?”  Evidently the words “We are not pleased” no longer have any meaning then?  I understand that HM the Queen can “advise,” but to what extent?

[73] Posted by Cennydd on 3-19-2010 at 10:34 PM · [top]

Advise is far from Resign!  Also remember that the queen is equally concerned with the future of the CofE, also her primary preoccupation.  Also remember that, since the state plays a role in CofE matters, there is a state interest in the future of the ‘archbishopric’ is very different from the of church and state as we know it here in the USA.

You place to much emphasis on the power of the Royal Family.

[74] Posted by Bill C on 3-20-2010 at 06:22 AM · [top]

#70. Pageantmaster,

As far as I can see the last Archbishop deprived of his position was William Sancroft in 1690 who refused to take an oath to William and Mary, and before that Thomas Cranmer deprived in 1555 for heresy.

The convenient thing about a state church is that an Archbishop can be punished for heresy, for treason, or for both.

[75] Posted by Fr. Dale on 3-20-2010 at 07:11 AM · [top]

#72. jimbob,
Leave it to an atheist to call him out on his lack of leadership. Hitchens also publicly criticized RW for advocating for sharia law in England. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AHivWxHX2s. I continue to pray for Hitchens, that he would find and be found in Christ. Ironically, his brother is an Anglican Priest.

[76] Posted by Fr. Dale on 3-20-2010 at 07:24 AM · [top]

Anyone want to guess what the WWAC would be like today if Bishop Nazir-Ali had been elected instead??? Wasn’t he a candidate as well??

[77] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 3-20-2010 at 07:26 AM · [top]

#76, At least he has a good idea of what it means to be a Christian. He did quite a take down on a liberal apologist recently.

[78] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 3-20-2010 at 07:39 AM · [top]

[77]    I wish!

[79] Posted by Bill C on 3-20-2010 at 09:33 AM · [top]

Needless to say, then, that the CofE would be in a better position as an independent Church, would they not?

[80] Posted by Cennydd on 3-20-2010 at 09:42 AM · [top]

Nid wyf yn sicr beth yr ydych chi’n ei olygu, Cennydd.  The CofE is a province in good standing in the AC and, simply put, +++Williams is their bishop -and again that responsibility comes first and foremost.  +++York shares the province but that does not exclude +++Williams’ role.  York does not speak for the whole CofE.

Perhaps, whatever the futureholds for the AC would isee a rotation of the ABC position amongst the ACs Primates.  But that itself is a difficult idea to visualize with the primates being divided into orthodox and heterodox.  For instance, it’s hard to see the archbishop of Brazil occupying that position.

[81] Posted by Bill C on 3-20-2010 at 09:58 AM · [top]

By now most of us have come to expect weak-as-dishwater statements from Rowan Williams

Greg?  Please don’t insult dishwater by comparing it to Rowan Williams.  After all, dishwater performs a necessary function, unlike Williams who serves no useful purpose that I can see.

[82] Posted by st. anonymous on 3-20-2010 at 10:07 AM · [top]

Two words…WHO CARES. blank stare

I cannot judge RW’s heart - that is for God and God alone to do.  But I agree with David Handy - from his actions it appears his goal is to keep the communion together at all costs.

I would have preferred he used his position as a “bully pulpit” and proclaim the truth of God’s Holy Scripture.  He certainly doesn’t need anyone’s permission to do that.

[83] Posted by B. Hunter on 3-20-2010 at 10:27 AM · [top]

Perhaps the news of the Glasspool consents has not yet gotten to Lambeth.  Really??

Check out the Rownan Williams website.

His silence on Glasspool is deafening!  Perhaps that’s better than the wimpy statement that will eventually limp out from Lambeth.

[84] Posted by hanks on 3-20-2010 at 11:03 AM · [top]

As I recall, TEC Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori met with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams shortly after her election and he assured her that TEC would not be expelled from the Anglican Communion. Despite his occasional criticism of liberals in TEC for pressing ahead unilaterally with the election, confirmation, and consecration of an openly gay bishop and the criticism of gay rights groups of the Archbishop for not taking a stronger position in support of gays, Williams has shown that his sympathy lies with their cause. In his presidential address to the recent Church of England General Synod he apologized not only to gays in the Church of England but in the wider Anglican Communion. Those who are expecting some kind of decisive action in the wake of Mary Glasspool’s election and confirmation from Lambeth should not hold their breaths. They are likely to turn blue in the face or even die from oxygen starvation before that happens. At General Synod Williams again brought up the idea of a two-tiered Anglican Communion. One way or another he will keep TEC in the Communion while giving the appearance - at least to his own satisfaction - of doing something about TEC’s rejection of “the mind of the Communion.” As a number of observers have pointed out, William’s strategy is to delay, delay, and delay with the expectation that the Communion will eventually change its mind about gays like the Bishop of Liverpool.

[85] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 3-20-2010 at 11:29 AM · [top]

We are all agreed on his incompetence, but we are not Rowan’s supervisors.  Normally incompetence is addressed by one’s supervisor. The ABC has an employer (the C of E) and a boss (the Queen) but no supervisor.  What possible motivation does he have to be competent?

[86] Posted by Michael D on 3-20-2010 at 11:40 AM · [top]

Well put, BillC.  Diflanna geiriau, ond erys gweithredoedd.  ++Rowan’s words might vanish, but his deeds and his non-actions will have a lasting effect on the Communion which he’s trying to hold together.  He’s not succeeding.

[87] Posted by Cennydd on 3-20-2010 at 11:44 AM · [top]

SC blue cat lady #77
The Archbishop of Canterbury is not elected. He is appointed by the Queen as the supreme governor of the Church of England on the nomination of her prime minister. Although in recent years crown commissioners have been appointed to advise the prime minister on suitable candidates and traditionally the new Archbishop of Canterbury has been appointed from a different wing of the Church form the previous one, the final appointment is political. Rowan Williams was the nominee of a liberal Labour prime minister. This is the current system. Under the older system the British monarch nominated the candidate for Archbishop of Canterbury and the chapter of the Canterbury Cathedral elected him and then the monarch appointed him to the office. This was a vestige of the days when the cathedral chapter picked the new Archbishop. In the early Church the clergy and the laity elected the bishop of the diocese and the other bishops of the province confirmed his election. The Archbishop of the province was first the bishop of a diocese and was chosen in the same manner. By the Middle Ages the canons of the cathedral had become the diocesan bishop’s electors. They, however, did consult the leading lay persons in the community and the newly elected bishop was presented to the lay people for their approval.

[88] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 3-20-2010 at 11:47 AM · [top]

If Parliament were to ask +Nazir Ali to accept the See of Canterbury, would he accept?  That would be a welcome change if he did, I’m sure.

[89] Posted by Cennydd on 3-20-2010 at 11:51 AM · [top]

Michael C #86
The Queen is nominally Rowan’s boss as the supreme governor of the Church of England. But England is now a constitutional monarch and the Queen’s position as supreme governor of the English Church is titular. In another century the English monarch would have been Rowan’s supervisor because the Archbishop of Canterbury was a crown appointee and an officer of the crown, as well as the metropolitan of a province. Elizabeth I suspended and sequestered Archbishop Edmund Grindal because he refused to suppress the practice of “prophesying,” of Puritans churchmen meeting to study the Bible and to improve their expository and preaching skills when she ordered him to. She appointed royal comissioners to perform most of his duties, except confirming the baptized and ordaining clergy. Now years of custom as well as several Acts of Parliament tie the Queen’s hands. She cannot take any action beyond summoning Rowan to Buckingham Palace and expressing her displeasure at what he is doing. Generally the Queen has made it her policy to stay out of Church affairs. She has, however, on two occasions broken with that policy. Most recently she sent an official of the royal household to talk with a senior Roman Catholic bishop about the Pope’s proposal to create personal ordinariates for Anglicans seeking to flee the Anglican Church. She was concerned about the effects that this would have upon the Church of England of which she is even titularly the supreme governor. In the old days she might not only have summoned Rowan to Buckingham Palace to express her displeasure with him, but also imprisoned him in the Fleet, rotting hulks anchored in the Thames estuary and used as a prison, as Elizabeth I did the Bishop of London. Perhaps we should be petitioning her Majesty to set aside custom and defy the law and resume her rightful place as supreme governor of the Church of England.

[90] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 3-20-2010 at 12:11 PM · [top]

In other words, make the words ‘Supreme Governor’ really mean what they say.  For once, AA, you and I are complete agreement!  Now, I wonder just how we might go about writing that petition.  The Mahattan Declaration made an impact, so I wonder what such a worldwide petition would do?

[91] Posted by Cennydd on 3-20-2010 at 12:32 PM · [top]

Exercising her ‘rightful place as supreme governor of the CofE’ would, in this era of constitutional monarchy, provoke a reaction from the government and some of the population.

[92] Posted by Bill C on 3-20-2010 at 01:41 PM · [top]

Such as ‘disestablishment,’ maybe?

[93] Posted by Cennydd on 3-20-2010 at 02:37 PM · [top]

I don’t know, in this era of “separation of church and state” (an American concept of course, but probably the de facto expectation of most Britons and Canadians) I suspect that the UK government would not want to be seen as wrestling for control of the CoE.  I wonder if the Queen could have a mighty impact on the church without causing a constitutional crisis?

Let’s start that global petition.  A few hundred million signatures from Africa and Asia would surely raise an eyebrow or two.

And in practical terms, I don’t think the UK government would want to open the church-and-state can of worms, given the political ambitions of Islam in that country.  Of course recent experience in Dio CNY indicates that the liberals would happily have an Islamic state rather than give any succour to the faithful Christians.

[94] Posted by Michael D on 3-20-2010 at 03:31 PM · [top]

I’m just wondering who is this “Rowan” guy you keep talking about (Wasn’t he on Laugh-In back in the 60’s, you know, the one with the pipe) and why can’t we give him a few fecks, I mean, in this day and age, no one should have to be feckless. 

Maybe we can start a feck-drive to help this poor guy out.  He must have a pretty good sense of humor to do that Laugh-In show and then become a priest and all.

“Fecks for Rowan!”...I’ll make up some banners…maybe a cake walk?  Think he likes music?

Ok, that’s enough…

KTF!...mrb

[95] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 3-20-2010 at 10:44 PM · [top]

RW is a wuss, best to be ignored.  The faithful in the Anglican Communion will “discern” that their connection with Canterbury does not define Aglicanism.  “Discermnent” is a code word for lots of talking and BS, but in the long run they will ultimately determine that Canterbury is the joke it has now proven itself to be.

[96] Posted by jimbob on 3-20-2010 at 11:44 PM · [top]

[96] jimbob

RW is a wuss

No, he isn’t.  This kind of cheap ad hominem argumentation does none of us any good, and it doesn’t lead to understanding.  It simply allows RW to be dismissed without thought.  It stems from a lack of respect, and it is a quick fast road to a lost argument.

RW is a man trying to manage a situation made unmanageable by the conflicting imperatives he is trying to serve.  Conservatives would like RW to act according to conservative imperatives.  He will never do so.  RW is not a conservative.  People who aren’t conservative don’t act on conservative imperatives.  That doesn’t make him a “wuss.”  He isn’t a weak man.  He has for six years effectively used such power as he possesses to protect TEC from the consequences of its actions.  He is unwilling to do otherwise.  There is a huge difference weakness and unwillingness.  We should admit the difference.

carl

[97] Posted by carl on 3-21-2010 at 12:00 AM · [top]

Carl,
If he thinks his job is “to protect TEC from the consequences of its actions” then he is vocationally incompetent.  If you are right that he is not weak (and it seems plausible) then his incompetence is not in implementation but rather in “stakeholder analysis” and “identification of objectives.”  If he can’t see that by protecting TEC he is weakening and perhaps killing the global communion, then he is analytically incompetent.  And if he can see that, but does it nonetheless, then he is morally incompetent.

[98] Posted by Michael D on 3-21-2010 at 12:49 AM · [top]

56—it is unlikely that any replacement for Rowan Williams would be more conservative on these issues, and could very well be a more open activists for the revisionists.

It would be great if +Nazir Ali became the ABC, but that isn’t going to happen.

[99] Posted by Going Home on 3-21-2010 at 02:27 AM · [top]

Agree with Carl here.  +Rowan has been very successful in keeping TEC from any consequence for its actions, and done it very skillfully.  +Rowan has done it while still stringing conservatives along.  Some see it for what it is, most keep hoping for a Canterbury-led Anglican Communion.  Unfortunately, the Church of England is far down the same road as TEC, with the focus on the same agendas.  What this will probably mean is that it will fall to the excluded and marginalized faithful Christians who are still in TEC as well as those who have left for other forms of Anglicanism to teach what we were taught.  Even if we aren’t in the buldings of our forefathers.  This isn’t the first time faithful Christians have been in this position, won’t be the last.

[100] Posted by Lakeland 2 on 3-21-2010 at 06:22 AM · [top]

As I think about it I can’t help drawing parallels between Rowan Williams with his “Covenant” and Neville Chamberlain with his Munich Agreement. The agreement was an appeasement of Hitler and not worth the paper it was written on. The phrase, often quoted as “Peace in our Time” I believe comes from the CoE Morning Prayer and Chamberlain probably used it with this in mind. The Covenant’s final form allows TEC the same”lebensraum” as Germany. The major difference is that Chamberlain was naive. The ABC has been buying time for the innovations (with which he agrees) of TEC to become the new orthodoxy for the WWAC. His “leadership” is nothing less than a betrayal of the orthodox within the Communion and there will not be peace for our time.

[101] Posted by Fr. Dale on 3-21-2010 at 08:35 AM · [top]

Fr. Dale,
It is worth keeping in mind that it was also Neville Chamberlain (and not Winston Churchill) who issued the British declaration of war against Germany.  There did come a day when even he had enough.
We will see.
Either he calls for KJS and Douglas to resign from the SCAC, and does it quickly, or the the “consequences” will likely be very real, and very soon.

[102] Posted by tjmcmahon on 3-21-2010 at 08:43 AM · [top]

I would say that TEC’s innovations will never become the innovations of the majority of the Communion, and therefore, someone other than Rowan Cantuar will end up leading….and indeed, “in our time.”

[103] Posted by Cennydd on 3-21-2010 at 09:11 AM · [top]

[88] AnglicansAblaze on 03-20-2010 at 10:47 AM says:

“The Archbishop of Canterbury is not elected. He is appointed by the Queen as the supreme governor of the Church of England on the nomination of her prime minister. Although in recent years crown commissioners have been appointed to advise the prime minister on suitable candidates and traditionally the new Archbishop of Canterbury has been appointed from a different wing of the Church form the previous one, the final appointment is political. Rowan Williams was the nominee of a liberal Labour prime minister. This is the current system…”

This comes up quite a lot (Prophet Joel says something similar at [17]).

In fact, the appointment was entirely independent of the Prime Minister until the point when a shortlist of two names was presented to him following an independent process which involved no politicians of any party whatsoever.  The convention is that the Prime Minister always chooses the first name and that is what happened when Williams was appointed.  The last Archbishop of Canterbury to be appointed in breach of this convention (being the second name on the list chosen by the independent process) was Archbishop Carey, who was, of course, and still is, very hostile to TEC.

The Queen has no power in the appointment and she has no power to remove the Archbishop of Canterbury either.  He is entitled to serve until he reaches retirement age unless he chooses (as Archbishop Carey did) to retire early.

[104] Posted by badman on 3-21-2010 at 09:28 AM · [top]

Actually, on a purely historical point, the PM has been involved in nominating the ABC since at least sometime in the 18th c. It was already established practice when, in 1805, George III preempted William Pitt the younger by walking down to the deanery at Windsor to appoint Charles Manners-Sutton before Pitt could arrive from London to nominate George Pretyman-Tomline; had Pitt arrived with his nomination before the appointment was made, the King would have been bound (at least by custom) to approve it.

[105] Posted by tk+ on 3-21-2010 at 10:13 AM · [top]

#104 Badman “The Queen has no power in the appointment and she has no power to remove the Archbishop of Canterbury either.”
Is that right?  Certainly by convention she has previously acted on the advice of the Prime Minister, but under her prerogative powers she has considerable power to appoint and dismiss prime ministers and others.  If she has power to appoint, she probably has power to dismiss, and certainly this does seem to have happened in the past.

However, whether for her to do so would be either in accordance with convention or right in the circumstances is another matter.  For the last few hundred years, ABC’s have resigned rather than been pushed.  I don’t think dismissal would be ideal, and I have no crystal ball for what will happen now either with the ABC or the Communion’s churches.  The ABC will stay provided he retains the confidence of the English House of Bishops and Synod and the Primates of the Communion.

As people on all sides have acknowledged, with TEC’s latest action it is ‘game over’ for the ABC’s attempts with TECTEC will not observe any commitment to the Communion, whether in a Covenant or otherwise - it has decided to do its own thing and take the consequences of acting on its own prophetic vision.

#102 TJ
“Either he calls for KJS and Douglas to resign from the SCAC, and does it quickly, or the the “consequences” will likely be very real, and very soon.”
Fulcrum has called for the Presiding Bishop not to be invited to the next Primates’ meeting.  It is within the ABC’s power of invitation to both the Primates’ Meeting and Lambeth COnference for him to take this course on his own, as he did in the case of Bishop Robinson and the Lambeth Conference.  If he does not do so, the Primates’ Meeting will probably not take place, and it really will be game over for the Communion centered on Canterbury.

As for the JSC, the Presiding Bishop was appointed to this by the vote of the Primates’ Meeting, and it is probably with their decision that she would be removed from the JSC.

It is also worth remembering that TEC and ACoC were previously called upon to withdraw from the Councils of the Communion by a previous Primates’ Meeting in accordance with the recommendations of the Windsor Report.  It was at Dar, that this changed when the ABC reversed this by inviting the then new PB to the Primates’ Meeting and called for her to be seated, and at the time it was certainly in the balance whether the Primates would agree to this.

Ian Douglas was appointed by the ACC to the JSC, and could be removed either by the ACC, or perhaps by the JSC itself, or at the request of the Primates under a general call for withdrawal from the Communion’s Councils.  I am not sure if his position changes on becoming a bishop, he may have been appointed as a lay member from the ACC and in that capacity.

Well, that is the theory as far as I understand it.  What will happen - we will see, but I will note what people do, not what they say.

[106] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 3-21-2010 at 10:28 AM · [top]

Wasn’t there a point sometime in the few years follwing GC2003 that the Queen sent a clear message to Abp Williams that the Anglican Communion was NOT to break up on her watch?  If so, why would she say that if she does not have the power to remove him?

[107] Posted by Townsend Waddill+ on 3-21-2010 at 12:06 PM · [top]

#106

As for the JSC, the Presiding Bishop was appointed to this by the vote of the Primates’ Meeting, and it is probably with their decision that she would be removed from the JSC.


Pageantmaster- in point of fact, I believe it has been confirmed that KJS was not appointed by vote of the Primates Meeting as a whole, and in point of fact was voted into that position by the Western Hemisphere primates only.  The ACO had previously set things up so that there is vote by regions- this being an effective way to insure that the 60% of Anglicans in Central and Southern Africa would have only one representative (I can’t think of another reason for such unequal representation- there was no mandate to draw the lines based on continental geography).  British Isles/Europe get 1 (in addition to the ABC), Western Asia (and parts of Africa), East Asia/Pacific, Western Hemisphere, and Africa.  She was “elected” by Canada, TEC, Mexico, Brazil and Central America outvoting Southern Cone and West Indies.  I would refer to the T19 thread a couple months ago in which we participated:
http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/28251
And let us note, had the ABoC stayed with the previously stated Communion discipline, KJS would not have been invited to the meeting in the first place.  And her election to the JSC was about the ONLY decision taken at Dar that the ABoC has backed up.

[108] Posted by tjmcmahon on 3-21-2010 at 12:24 PM · [top]

#108
You are correct that votes for membership of the Primates’ standing committee and the JSC were by regions, but this all falls within the remit of the Primates’ Meeting.  I am no expert, but I expect that that which has been given by the Primates’ Meeting, can also be taken away, although it might take a vote, if TEC were not to agree to voluntarily withdraw.  I suppose that there is even an argument that if not invited to the Primates’ Meeting, that derivative membership of the PB on any other bodies which arise out of it, including Primates’ nominations to the JSC might also fall away in any event.  I don’t see how you can be a representative for a body you are not participating in.

However this is all speculation based on what we know of the existing JSC, and who knows what the position would be under the secret constitution of the ACC and whatever jiggery-pokery there has been with the alleged “Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion”

The other possibility is that any withdrawal of invitation to participate in this Primates’ Meeting would be on the basis that a representative of a church whose conduct is being looked at should recuse itself from that body, for that particular purpose.

I take careful note of the rest of what you say.

[109] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 3-21-2010 at 01:03 PM · [top]

Pageantmaster at [106]:

Certainly by convention she [the Queen] has previously acted on the advice of the Prime Minister, but under her prerogative powers she has considerable power to appoint and dismiss prime ministers and others.

Since the UK has no written constitution the Queen’s prerogative powers are entirely governed by convention.  The present Queen has, following historical precedents, had no power throughout her long reign to appoint or dismiss prime ministers or indeed other office holders such as the Archbishop of Canterbury except in accordance with established conventions.

In the case of Prime Ministers, the last time she had any discretion at all was in 1963 - nearly 50 years ago -when Harold Macmillan resigned as Prime Minister and the Conservative Party had no formal procedure for choosing his successor.  Since then, all the parties have established their own rules for choosing and dismissing party leaders, including prime ministers, and so the Queen will never be in this position again. 

Similarly, the office of Archbishop of Canterbury is governed by procedures which leave the Queen with no discretion at all.

If the Queen were to exercise a prerogative power contrary to convention there would immediately be a constitutional crisis and the future of the monarchy itself would be threatened as a result.  For this reason it is inconceivable that the Queen would ever test the point - quite apart from her personal reluctance to take personal responsibility for any controversial action, which has been part of her extraordinary success as our constitutional monarch.

The last monarch to dismiss a prime minister was William IV in 1834.  Even Queen Victoria did not risk such a step.  Queen Victoria’s attempt to assert her royal prerogative was limited to rejecting the prime minister’s nominations for ladies of the bedchamber and even that triggered a constitutional crisis in 1839 which deterred her from repeating the experiment.  By 1936, it was the Prime Minister (Baldwin) who obtained the abdication of the King (Edward VIII) rather than the other way round.

We in England (which I know includes Pageantmaster) are familiar with the distinction between form and substance in our constitutional arrangements.  The Queen exercises formal powers, but because she has no power to decide how she should exercise them, the real power lies elsewhere.  It is important not to be misled by this.

[110] Posted by badman on 3-21-2010 at 02:34 PM · [top]

representative of a church whose conduct is being looked at should recuse itself from that body, for that particular purpose.

I completely agree.  Unfortunately, the ABoC does not.  As was demonstrated at New Orleans- when the PB should have recused herself, and did not, nor, apparently, did the ABoC indicate that she should.  One might also argue that she should have recused herself in the case of Uganda’s ACC delegation- since TEC deposed the priest in question and is suing any number of churches in the US in communion with Uganda- but again, she did not, and the ABoC did not suggest she should.

[111] Posted by tjmcmahon on 3-21-2010 at 04:03 PM · [top]

TJ,
Do you think the ABC had any sense that his leadership was in question when Pope Benedict invited Anglicans to come to Rome? Do you think he appreciates how much his leadership is being questioned in general even to calls for his stepping down?

[112] Posted by Fr. Dale on 3-21-2010 at 04:14 PM · [top]

Badman, Pageantmaster, et al,

Thanks for the helpful summary of English convention.  It sounds to me as if the ABC is responsible to no-one.  Is that correct? 

What would happen if something scandalous occurred - such as for example the ABC becoming a druid or a muslim - could the PM request the Queen to dethrone him?  Does the ABC have any boundaries on his behaviour, according to custom (in the absence of constitution).

[113] Posted by Michael D on 3-21-2010 at 04:43 PM · [top]

Fr. Dale,

I have never thought the ABoC to be either stupid or arrogant.  I think he is very much aware that his leadership is in question.  As others have pointed out, how effective he really is can only be determined if one knows his desired outcome (that is, where is he trying to lead us to?).  The few times I’ve thought I had figured out where he was going, he has changed direction.  Right now, it seems like he is trying to reduce the Communion to the British Isles, Australia and NZ, with a close relationship to Canada and any African Church willing to be quiet.  The impression I get is that the English bishops and many laity see TEC as a bunch of insufferable boors- even if they do like gay marriage and are looking forward to enjoying the TEC lifestyle themselves.
On the specific topic of the Apostolic Constitution, I think the only thing that took +RW by surprise was the timing.  I think he was not only aware, I think he is in favor of the idea, since it solves one of his biggest problems- how to eliminate all the real Anglo Catholics without going the KJS lawsuit and deposition route.  This way, Anglo Catholics can leave voluntarily, celebrate our quaint old fashioned customs under Roman auspices, and he can get on with the business of women bishops and gay marriage and whatnot without feeling guilty about deposing 1500 clergy and running 10s of thousands of people out of their little parish churches.  It’s just that the Pope moved before +RW had run the clock down for another couple years.  That is to say, the Pope was supposed to offer a gracious reception to all those who had (in 2 or 3 or 5 years) determined to leave the CoE after he had his women bishops securely in hand.  The timing has changed the dynamic of the negotiation.  I think he was expecting the Pope to offer ordiariates initially only to TAC or similar Continuing Churches- the offer to CoE Anglo Catholics was supposed (in +RW’s mind) to wait until the actual consecration of women bishops in the UK.

[114] Posted by tjmcmahon on 3-21-2010 at 04:54 PM · [top]

#114. tjmcmahon,

Right now, it seems like he is trying to reduce the Communion to the British Isles, Australia and NZ, with a close relationship to Canada and any African Church willing to be quiet.

Do you think this is because he might be looking for a more theologically homogeneous grouping? Maybe he sees the split in the WWAC as inevitable.

On the specific topic of the Apostolic Constitution, I think the only thing that took +RW by surprise was the timing.  I think he was not only aware, I think he is in favor of the idea, since it solves one of his biggest problems- how to eliminate all the real Anglo Catholics without going the KJS lawsuit and deposition route.

If what you have surmised is the case then it destroys the mantra and myth that he has been trying to keep everyone at the table.

[115] Posted by Fr. Dale on 3-21-2010 at 05:06 PM · [top]

Badman and others - many thanks.  There is a very useful discussion on the Royal Prerogative issued by Parliament here:

The scope of the Royal prerogative power is notoriously difficult to determine.  It is clear that the existence and extent of the power is a matter of common law, making the courts the final arbiter of whether or not a particular type of prerogative power exists [“the King hath no prerogative, but that which the law of the land allows him”..]...The difficulty is that there are so many prerogative powers for which there is no recent judicial authority and sometimes no judicial authority at all.  In such circumstances, the Government, Parliament and the wider public are left relying on statements of previous Government practice and legal textbooks, the most comprehensive of which is now nearly 200 years old..

As far as I can make out the last time an Archbishop was removed was 1690, so one would have to look back a very long way for any precedent, assuming that it is that the prerogative power still remains to dismiss as well as appoint Archbishops and has not been varied by statute.

It is correct that this prerogative power would probably be exercised on the advice of the Prime Minister.  However it is not the case that all prerogative powers are exercised with the consent of the government.  An example is the position where there is a ‘hung parliament’ and the monarch has the decision of who to ask to form a government.  It is because the prerogative is a fall back when things break down that it is useful and difficult to do away with constitutionally.  In effect Parliament and governments arise out of the exercise of the prerogative, rather than the other way round.

Now it is certainly the case that if the monarch ignored government advice or exercised the prerogative against the wishes of the government it could provoke a constitutional crisis.  A similar case arose when the Queen’s representative in Australia dismissed the government of the then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.  Interestingly the Governor-General was appointed on the advice of Whitlam.

So I suspect whether what happened in 1690 could happen now is a bit of an unknown.  Presumably the problem for the then Archbishop is that he could not take the Oath which Archbishops are still required to give to the monarch.  Although the Church of England is established and important in the life of the country, I am not sure how much of a “constitutional crisis” exercise of the prerogative would provoke.

Regarding Baldwin, I am not sure he could have required the abdication, he certainly advised this, and it was as far as I know based on the advice of the then Commonwealth and Dominion governments whose head of state the King also was.

So that brings us to what this means.  Although the power may be there, as I say it is unlikely to be used.  In practical terms it would arise if say the Primates of the Communion signified they had no confidence in him, or the bishops and synod of the Church of England.  In that event something might be done by the government or the church, but a quiet word and an encouragement to resign would be more likely.

In the instant case, there is no reason to suppose that Dr Williams does not enjoy the confidence of his bishops or that the Primates would wish to remove him.  They might want some change to arrangements for calling meetings and procedures.  It also has to be said that in relation to TEC all the Instruments have called for TEC to observe the two moratoria on consecrating bishops in partnered gay relationships, and conducting same-sex blessings.

On the record Dr Williams has:
1. Issued a number of statements calling for restraint in consecrating bishops in partnered gay relationships including the latest press release in relation to Canon Glasspool and action which is now being discussed:

It is regrettable that the appeals from Anglican Communion bodies for continuing gracious restraint have not been heeded. Following the Los Angeles election in December the Archbishop made clear that the outcome of the consent process would have important implications for the Communion…. Further consultation will now take place about the implications and consequences of this decision.

2. As a statement of Communion teaching on same-sex unions and in particular bishops in same-sex unions he wrote in July last year:

8…Thus a blessing for a same-sex union cannot have the authority of the Church Catholic, or even of the Communion as a whole. And if this is the case, a person living in such a union is in the same case as a heterosexual person living in a sexual relationship outside the marriage bond; whatever the human respect and pastoral sensitivity such persons must be given, their chosen lifestyle is not one that the Church’s teaching sanctions, and thus it is hard to see how they can act in the necessarily representative role that the ordained ministry, especially the episcopate, requires.

Two pretty clear statements, which it seems to me that it is reasonable for the Primates and Communion to expect the Archbishop to hold to and to hold him accountable to follow through on.

Ultimately this is a matter not just for the ABC, but for the Primates and Provinces to adjudicate on and determine what relationships they and the Communion will have with TEC in the future, as it seems it will not change course.

I think the first time we will get a clear idea of what this response will be is the meeting of the Global South in Singapore in April.  I hope we hear from them and the other Instruments promptly, and keep the above quotes in mind in reading future responses from the ABC and Instruments.

[116] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 3-21-2010 at 06:15 PM · [top]

#115 Fr Dale and #114 TJ
I really don’t think the ABC wants to shrink the Communion to the British Isles.  He seems to spend a lot of time on overseas trips to other provinces and has just got back from Israel if you check out his website as I just have - there is a picture of him playing with balloons - well why not?
All the indications are that he personally does not want the Anglo-Catholics to leave.  There has been a certain froideur over the Apostolic Constitution from him and the senior bishops.

[117] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 3-21-2010 at 06:42 PM · [top]

#117. Pageantmaster,
I appreciate your understanding of things and reassurance. You are not his apologist but you have been fair with your communications about him and to us here and they have meant more to me than what he has said.  I only wish there was some sense of connection with him. It makes me sad. I am writing my Homily for Maundy Thursday and was reflecting on how much Christ cared for his disciples, how much he enjoyed being with them and how much he was willing to give up for their and our sakes. I wish I could see him through the eyes of our Lord. Pax

[118] Posted by Fr. Dale on 3-21-2010 at 07:38 PM · [top]

Fr. Dale,

You wrote

If what you have surmised is the case then it destroys the mantra and myth that he has been trying to keep everyone at the table.

I don’t think this is necessarily the case. If he can keep everyone at the table until one side or the other loses patience, then he can make the case that he was being the patient and pastoral leader of the Communion and whichever side loses patience and bolts the flock then becomes the scapegoat. Each of us has our own opinion as to whether he has a preferred group to remain in the WWAC, and I would be surprised if most of us weren’t in agreement as to which side that is, but by keeping everyone at the table until someone loses patience, then that departing group becomes the proximate cause of the rupture, because everyone else was “still trying to work it out.”

One could easily make the case that such a strategy would be disingenuous on his part, but as long as no one who knows it to be the case “spills the beans,” assuming there is someone else besides Rowan +Cantuar who can prove his responsibility, just try to prove that was his intention. Insofar as I have been able to determine, he only has two mechanisms by which he can attempt to induce the imposition of some consequences: (a) withhold invitations to Lambeth (beyond his tenure, ergo not an option), and (b) encourage the Primates to dismiss Schori and Douglas from the JSC. That makes such a strategy pretty attractive if one wishes not to be seen as not only the last head of the WWAC, but also the person responsible for its demise, because it offers a plausible argument that it was not his doing, but that of an intransigently intractable group of its members.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

[119] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 3-21-2010 at 09:10 PM · [top]

#119. M.A.,
I guess your scenario is a possibility too. That would fit the Hegelian side of him. That is what is so frustrating to me. He just doesn’t seem straight forward. Maybe his communication is like my stereo. My old ears only catch a portion of what is communicated. He seems more plastic than his communion.

[120] Posted by Fr. Dale on 3-21-2010 at 10:09 PM · [top]

117.  Well, then Pageantmaster, if Rowan Cantuar personally doesn’t want the Anglo Catholics to leave the Church of England, what is he prepared to do in order to encourage them not to leave; to encourage them to stay?  And by extension, what is he prepared to do to try and prevent the same thing from happening in the rest of the Communion?

[121] Posted by Cennydd on 3-21-2010 at 10:39 PM · [top]

#107 Fr. Townsend Waddill, I agree, I remember clearly the Queen saying something exactly like that to Rowan, sort of a tongue-in-cheek comment that clearly had a lot of steel underneath, as I remember it. 

Then again, Churchill said on several occasions that his rule would never be the cause of the end of the British Empire, and we see how well that worked out for him!

Nice meeting you this evening, by the way.  Sorry I left in a rush, I was watching the debate on the healthcare bill and wanted to get back to see how bad it was going to be.  I was unfortunately not disappointed in how bad it was.

KTF!.....mrb

[122] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 3-21-2010 at 11:02 PM · [top]

117-
PM, so long as ++Rowan is so scared of the consequences that he continues to refuse to support diocesan bishops for Anglo Catholics, whatever he privately thinks is irrelevant.  And to the best of my knowledge, ACs don’t even have anything as solid as ++Rowan’s promise to +Howe that he would “not abandon the faithful” in the US.  7 years now, and still waiting to be “not abandoned.”

I am sure that Jon Bruno and Mary Glasspool played with balloons last week too, at the big consent party.  Something else ++Rowan might want to see if he can fit into his schedule and perhaps remark upon.

[123] Posted by tjmcmahon on 3-21-2010 at 11:02 PM · [top]

Carl at #27 wrote:

Not every leadership decision is so cut and dried.  A leader must account for the willingness of those he would lead to actually follow.  FDR struggled with this reality before WWII.  If RW had actually attempted to lead in the manner you suggest, he would have provided an easy answer to Jeffersonian’s question in [24].  He would have immediately ripped apart the AC along theological fault lines.  In so doing, he would have sealed the fate of the CoE.  That has been RWs dilemma all along.  He sought stasis for anything else would propagate the fight into the CoE, and destroy it.  Every leadership decision he has made has been intended to perpetuate stasis.

I don’t think this fits the evidence. +++Williams’ goal has NOT been merely stasis. He has been an active (if often covert) proponent of the liberal agenda.

Nor is it correct to say that “he would have immediately ripped apart the AC along theological fault lines”. An effective leader can give endorsement to the orthodox without doing anything of the sort. +++Williams’ task is no more difficult than that facing Thomas Cranmer or Hosius of Corduba or Gregory the Great in past centuries. He has their intelligence and erudition, but he lacks their COURAGE and their moral compass.

What could have happened (from a unity point of view) if +++Williams had given courageous leadership? Would TEC have withdrawn from the communion? Not likely. And even if they did, how does that compare with the situation now? The fact is that the effect feared by Carl has actually happened – the Communion is openly disunited and impaired - and largely because of +++Williams vacuous “leadership”.

[124] Posted by MichaelA on 3-25-2010 at 06:58 PM · [top]

Connie at #52 wrote:

Not disagreeing with anything Greg has said, but what, if anything, can +++Rowan do at this point?  State, for the record, that the Presiding Oceanographer will NOT be invited to the next Primates’ Meeting (whenever that is)?  Kick TEC off any boards or committees?  (I don’t think he has the power to do that, but I could be wrong.)  Dis-invite anyone to the next Lambeth Conference (when he won’t still be the ABofC)?  Really, at this point, what CAN he do besides issue statements, even one as weak as the one issued so far?  I would be interested to know if he has any power, other than moral authority (which he has thus far failed to exercise), to DO anything at this point.

That is all he needs to do. If you look through the scriptures and church history, great Christian leaders rarely do more than speak out. And that in itself carries tremendous impact. Yes, +++Williams can “state for the record that the PB will not be invited to the next Primates meeting”, and that would hit home like a sledgehammer. But he won’t, because he favours the liberal agenda.

There is in fact no end to the things he can do and say. As for public statements, just look at ANY recent statements by orthodox leaders – Mouneer Anis, Henry Orombi, Peter Jensen, then imagine them being made by the ABC. As for actions, he can send emissaries to visit the faithful churches within TEC and publicly endorse and encourage them. ++Venables did precisely that to dioceses such as Fort Worth before they left TEC – why can’t ABC? He can call publicly for ACNA and TEC to combine on a TRULY orthodox basis – that would carry huge impact.

But he won’t do any of these things because he favours the liberal agenda.

[125] Posted by MichaelA on 3-25-2010 at 07:00 PM · [top]

Pageantmaster at #65 – good point about Becket, not that I have a lot of sympathy for him. He was as much a politicker as Henry II and was the source of much of his own grief.

I agree that I don’t think there is any legal means of getting rid of +++Williams, although intense pressure from his own establishment may do the trick – it is still possible that concern about fallout from this issue affecting commonwealth relations could cause the british political establishment to give +++Williams a tap on the shoulder.

But even when he goes, we have the same problem – it is the Church of England that in effect will choose the next ABC, and no other province will have any input.

I see this as just as much of a problem as the involvement of the British political establishment. With all due respect to your church (CofE), you are only one of 38 national churches in the communion, yet the choice of who is to lead that Communion falls entirely to you!

[126] Posted by MichaelA on 3-25-2010 at 07:02 PM · [top]

Pageantmaster at #116
I can’t see that the primates or anyone outside of England has even a moral right to remove an ABC from three of his offices: He is the diocesan of the diocese of Canterbury, he is the metropolitan of the province of Caterbury, and the primate of all England. Decisions about his future in those offices must surely be made by those affected, i.e. the members and institions of the diocese or province concerned.

But his status as head of the Anglican Communion – that is a different matter. That is an office that ABC has only held for a comparatively short time, since the late 19th century – there is no great tradition behind it. Surely it should be up to the senior prelates of the Anglican Communion whether ABC continues to hold that office?

[127] Posted by MichaelA on 3-25-2010 at 07:05 PM · [top]

I think the post should rotate among the primates on a regular basis….let’s say every ten years.

[128] Posted by Cennydd on 3-25-2010 at 07:12 PM · [top]

#126 MichaelA
Thanks - I agree about Becket - a difficult and ambitious man as far as one can make out, and one who tried to upstage and even more ambitious and ruthless king.

“yet the choice of who is to lead that Communion falls entirely to you!”
My understanding is that the Primates did ask to be consulted on any choice for ABC in the future, which seems reasonable given his Communion function. 

Much is spoken about the role and importance of the ABC, largely by his office as far as I can see, but I think the most appropriate, and oldest, is primus inter pares wrt the Primates, as one would expect of a servant ministry.

[129] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 3-25-2010 at 07:23 PM · [top]

#118 Hi Fr Dale - I am not sure I am in a position to offer reassurance, save of the general certainty that God’s plan is being worked out, but I thank you and wish you well for your magnum opus on Maundy Thursday.

#121 Cennydd, #123 TJ - all good questions.

[130] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 3-25-2010 at 07:34 PM · [top]

130- PM
Recent events (All Saints in SC, recent Fulcrum statement, and those are just the last 24-36 hours) lead me to wonder if Aslan is on the move, perhaps has already landed.  Easter is, of course, the time to anticipate positive things for the Church.

[131] Posted by tjmcmahon on 3-25-2010 at 07:53 PM · [top]

TJ #131 - indeed, the Resurrection is a time of new life, renewal and growth, but things were pretty dark just before the dawn.  Amen to that prayer.

[132] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 3-25-2010 at 08:00 PM · [top]

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