March 1, 2017

April 11, 2012

What’s Your Guess on the Appointed Primate to the Crown Nominations Commission [for ABC]

The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion—an overwhelmingly liberal body as the various conservative Primates have refused quite rightly to participate in the weighted, heavily manipulated Anglican Communion bodies—gets to appoint a Primate of the Anglican Communion to serve on the Crown Nominations Commission.  It’s a nod to the fact that an Archbishop of Canterbury used to be the actual leader of the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion [those days are over, of course, but still, the token leader will be appointed by the COE/UK government.] You can find the list of members of the Standing Committee—including the grossly revisionist Ian Douglas, as well as the priest who believes that God is nothing more than a made-up, human construct, Janet Triskhere.

The question before the house is:

—What Primate will this Standing Committee select to serve on the Crown Nominations Commission?

Here’s how the game works for these things.

1) All the libs confer privately and before-hand on the best choices—one or two—and I think it’s going to have to be a person who will be a) dependably non-conservative and b) non-white.  Obviously, that leaves only a few possibilities!

2) Then someone quietly checks to see if the one or two names that the libs want to nominate are willing to serve if nominated—it doesn’t do to waste a nomination with so few options.

3) Then the Standing Committee meets and the first choice of the liberal group is nominated, and seconded [both speakers have been pre-selected and agreed to serve this valuable duty in as “natural” and “spontaneous” a way as possible]—and then, various libs speak up “naturally” and “spontaneously” approving of the selection. In this way a meeting can flow and surge in a quite lovely way towards the inevitable choice and—in a mighty move of the Holy Spirit!—a choice can be made with near, swelling unanimity.

That’s how the game works.

So the question again is . . . what one or two would be the pre-selections of the liberals on the Standing Committee?

Your thoughts?

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I’m not sure it makes any difference to the outcome who is nominated.  The next ABC will be worse than the last one.  He will just finish off the Anglican Communion.


[1] Posted by sactohye on 4-11-2012 at 10:36 AM · [top]

I am guessing that since the primate will likely only have the power of a “hissy fit veto”, they will aim for someone who is more of a hapless, ineffectual moderate/liberal rather than a more overt liberal.  Thus not a choice that will result in cries of outrage from conservative Provinces, but rather a choice that will have all the right window dressing but no teeth.  Thus look for perhaps Mexico, Central America or perhaps one of the small Asian churches (i.e. Hong Kong, Philippines, etc.).

The primate appointee will likely only play the role of being asked “will this candidate lead to upheaval in the Communion?” to which the clear reply is “no, if he continues indaba and ubuntu, and doesn’t take any precipitate action, we will remain united.”  Since this person won’t be terribly influential, my guess is that they don’t want someone who has their fingerprints all over him, but also nobody at risk of pulling a “Daniel Deng Bul Yak”.

[2] Posted by jamesw on 4-11-2012 at 01:34 PM · [top]

Sarah’s analysis is right on point.  The bureaucracy that runs the “Anglican Communion” is just the Lambeth Palace bureaucracy with different hats and a few extra faces brought in (but never enough to change outcomes). 

n turn, the “Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion” was brought into being arbitrarily by the Lambeth bureaucracy and no constitutional basis has ever been publicly stated for its existence. Apparently someone in the Lambeth bureaucracy a few years back decided to combine the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Standing Committee of the Primates Meeting (both of which do have at least some sort of constitutional existence) and gave it a separate existence and purpose (and thereby marginalising and neutering the Standing Committee of the Primates Meeting). No public resolution or decision of a Lambeth conference, the Primates meeting, the ACC or an Archbishop of Canterbury has ever been cited for this step, but we now apparently have an SCAC. 

This is just one of many acts that has resulted in a major loss of credibility for the Anglican Communion organs since 1998.  No-one in the Global South cares what the SCAC decides, except perhaps South Africa or Burundi.

So, what will the SCAC decide? Anything it wants to, I expect, and probably following exactly the sort of fluffy procedure postulated by Sarah above.

My guess is that they will try and find someone that they think is malleable, but also has some credibility.  The trouble is, they have tried to do this before using “moderates” like Drexel Gomez, Mouneer Anis and Deng Bul.  But instead of the patsies that they thought they had, they found that these men in the end didn’t think much differently to Peter Akinola or Gergory Venables, only their timing was a little different.

My bet: South Africa (Thabo), Burundi (whoever it is) or Australia (Aspinall).

[3] Posted by MichaelA on 4-11-2012 at 09:54 PM · [top]

I don’t understand your question. Are you addressing selection committee membership or who the selection committee will select for ABC? If it’s the former, would it make any difference?

[4] Posted by Fr. Dale on 4-11-2012 at 10:09 PM · [top]

I just want a pukka Englishman, not another non-English interloper on the throne of the English Church like the last one. And I want someone who will put the Church of England first, not someone who thinks the chimerical mirage of the Anglican Communion is anything more than a mirage.

[5] Posted by A Senior Priest on 4-11-2012 at 10:47 PM · [top]

A Senior Priest,
A person not fit to be ABC will not be fit to be head of the Church of England. Maybe the head of the CoE should now be a different person than the ABC. The process seems designed to focus on selecting a leader for the CoE.

[6] Posted by Fr. Dale on 4-12-2012 at 06:50 AM · [top]

I think the decision has to do with which way KJS and Co. have decided to play this.  They might go hard line, and you could get another “Janet Trisk” type appointment in which KJS elects herself or Hiltz.  Probably more likely is the appointment of someone like +Mexico (where it appears the primate is radically more revisionist than his Church).  As Michael A points out, the highest probability is a non-Anglo liberal, but I doubt they will opt for an African, because it has backfired so many times in the past.  ++Thabo in South Africa seems more conservative than his Church in general, and I think he also takes account of the thinking of his peers in Africa in his approach to policy, something that KJS definitely does not want to happen.

The bigger question is how was it that the Crown Nominations Commission came to have a member appointed by the “Standing Committee,” which, as noted above, is NOT an Instrument of the Communion, and did not exist at the time of the appointment of ++RW?  How did this change in the composition happen? One would have thought it would have required debate in either Synod or Parliament or both.  In effect, it has given the PB of TEC a member on the Commission.  WHO made the Standing Committee a constitutional part of the election of the head of the CoE?

Regardless of who is chosen for this spot, I doubt it makes much difference.  Overt liberal/revisionists are guaranteed a large majority of seats on the Commission, simply because the named positions are currently held by overt liberals.  Most of the influence will go to the political appointee of the Prime Minister, Kearon, and the liberal members of the CoE.  The Primate will only have a real voice if he (or she) is a vocal liberal.  The point of the exercise is to appoint an ABoC who will push through gay marriage in the CoE- and by extension into the 15 Communion churches likely to remain in the TEC run part of the Communion along with the CoE, when the inevitable division comes.  And given that a majority of the members of the Commission hold that view, no doubt the exercise will be successful for KJS and those trying to force out the Global South, and for Cameron’s determination to redefine the Conservative Party in England.

By the way, what will the actual conservative party in England be called when it is formed next year?

[7] Posted by tjmcmahon on 4-12-2012 at 07:17 AM · [top]

Hi Fr. Dale—I’m committed to watching and analyzing *the process* of the selection of the ABC.  As it stands now a Primate of the Anglican Communion will get to serve on the Crown nominations Commission and I’m going to be fascinated as to which Primate the so-called “Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion” will choose.

So far, I think the picks above are very good.

What is fascinating is that in the old days I could see the Schoris of this world saying “hey let’s select Tutu—he’s black and liberal!” But I’m not sure that they’ll want to take that risk with the *current* Primate of South Africa.  He just seems a bit too . . . um . . . Christian, even if he may be weak or soft. Of course, as JamesW pointed out, people thought Sudan was soft too. 


I think they’ve learned a few lessons.  Right now I can’t think that any of the African provinces will quite “work” for their purposes.

So I think it’s going to have to be a “person of color” only not within Africa and of course suitably “moderate” and not likely to be independent, preferably somebody with a direct pipeline to TEC—like Mexico.

[8] Posted by Sarah on 4-12-2012 at 09:55 AM · [top]

Thanks for the clarification. The process flow chart must look like it was designed by Rube Goldberg.

[9] Posted by Fr. Dale on 4-12-2012 at 11:20 AM · [top]

I agree with the positive comments about ++Thabo above. I didn’t mean to put him down, and he is in a difficult position.

tjmcmahon, as usual I strongly agree with your analysis, but I would add one positive point: PM Cameron and his coalition (remember the conservatives are a minority government) are not as enamoured of the liberal Anglican agenda as they were two years ago, because British foreign trade policy has undergone a public shift since the GFC:  The Commonwealth is no longer taken for granted, and is considered at least as important as the EC to British trade.  In turn, this has increased the importance of the Anglican Communion, particularly the Global South, because Africa is where the new trade opportunities lie, and the African primates tend to have much influence with their home governments.

[10] Posted by MichaelA on 4-12-2012 at 06:19 PM · [top]

MichaelA:  Isn’t David Cameron bound and determined to push gay marriage though?  And wouldn’t a pro-gay marriage ABC make that a lot easier for him than a wise orthodox ABC?

[11] Posted by jamesw on 4-12-2012 at 07:03 PM · [top]

Jamesw, why do you consider that Cameron is “bound and determined” to do so?

[12] Posted by MichaelA on 4-12-2012 at 11:14 PM · [top]

Look, this is an English post for the English Church, so why all this fuss about possibly apointing a non-Englishman to the Throne of St Augustine?  Sure, the Anglican Communion will have a new spiritual leader, and (most of the provinces, anyway) will look to him for that leadership, but is it really important that whoever is appointed to the See of Canterbury should be someone of color, for instance, or that he not be an Englishman?  What’s MOST important is that he be a true Man of God!

[13] Posted by cennydd13 on 4-13-2012 at 09:27 AM · [top]

MichaelA:  Because that is what he says.  This is all over the news.  For example, check out this latest report in the Telegraph which I just found doing a quick Google search.  Note the following excerpts:

Ministers [in David Cameron’s gov’t] have repeatedly insisted that there is no question of “watering down” the proposal to allow same-sex couples to be married in civil ceremonies before the next election.

The issue has divided Tory MPs and last week David Cameron appeared ­anxious to shore up relations with religious leaders, insisting that he did not want to “fall out” over the issue.

Here is another story revealing Cameron’s problems in pushing HIS gay marriage plan.

Why do you think Cameron ISN’T determined to push through gay marriage in the U.K. despite his own government’s plan to do so, and his comments to that effect?  I am not sure I understand here.  It’s sort of like me expressing astonishment at someone saying that President Obama plans to run for re-election.

[14] Posted by jamesw on 4-13-2012 at 10:48 AM · [top]

“Why do you think Cameron ISN’T determined to push through gay marriage in the U.K. despite his own government’s plan to do so, and his comments to that effect?”

Jamesw, please.  I know from your posts that you are not naive in the ways of the world. We both know that Cameron is a politician and he does whatever is needed to stay in power.  Beyond that, *everything* is negotiable for him.

He will stick to promises if it is in his interest to do so.  He will abandon or twist inconvenient promises if he can get away with it. 

As a leader he will carry his party with him, so long as both he and they believe it is in their mutual best interests to do so.  He has the added complication that he is leading two parties.

He made a promise before the last election that seemed (a) popular to many interest groups; (b) indifferent to many others; and (c) without any obvious political cost.  Now he is finding out that: (a) Not all of the first group are quite as enamoured of it as they at first seemed, including some of his own party; (b) there actually are many interest groups that are strongly oppposed; and (c) there is fall-out in other areas. 

With respect to (c), to a British politician trade is *everything*.  And now the Commonwealth is more important to trade than it was when Cameron was elected.  Will this be decisive in his thinking? I have no idea.  Will he take it seriously? Definitely (IMO).

“It’s sort of like me expressing astonishment at someone saying that President Obama plans to run for re-election.”

That was my whole point: Its staying in power that matters to Cameron.  He is only interested in gay marriage if it helps him to that end.

[15] Posted by MichaelA on 4-13-2012 at 05:49 PM · [top]

MichaelA:  So you are suggesting that David Cameron is simply posturing now and is looking for a way to bow out?  Then why bring it up like he did?  Politicians promise all sorts of things before they get elected, but tend to only act on those things they consider important.  What it seems like to me is that Cameron is someone who doesn’t much care one way or the other on social issues, but has (correctly) read the media as being overwhelmingly pro-gay marriage.  And Cameron figured that he could toady up to the media by pushing it through.  And Cameron didn’t think it would elicit a significant political cost.  But now he is facing surprisingly strong resistance, especially from the churches.

Thus Cameron has two choices:  1) Backtrack or 2) Use this opportunity to neuter the Church of England.  Given that Cameron strikes me as someone who cares more about toadying up to the media than he does about principles or the Church, my guess is that he will go with option 2.  I question whether a liberal ABC would really hurt UK trade with the Commonwealth.  Most politicians tend not to allow religion to interfere with the Almighty Dollar.

[16] Posted by jamesw on 4-13-2012 at 06:39 PM · [top]

And hasn’t Cameron argued for a long time that the Conservative party must become more “in tune” with British society and socially more tolerant and liberal, etc.?  In other words, hasn’t Cameron long been seen as an economic moderate and social liberal, and that he is trying to shift the Conservative party in that direction?  And isn’t this entirely consistent with that?

[17] Posted by jamesw on 4-13-2012 at 06:43 PM · [top]

I don’t care if I sound like a broken record on this but I am praying that +Michael Nazir Ali becomes ABC. It would be good for the CoE and good for the Anglican Communion.

[18] Posted by Fr. Dale on 4-13-2012 at 10:04 PM · [top]

Jamesw, sure.  I don’t pretend to know Cameron’s mind.  I expect he understands that you can have whatever principles you want on the opposition benches.

[19] Posted by MichaelA on 4-13-2012 at 11:11 PM · [top]

“Most politicians tend not to allow religion to interfere with the Almighty Dollar.”

Pound, james, not dollar.  But this is precisely my point.  I think there is good reason to think that in Whitehall’s view, the Anglican spat has started to affect Commonwealth relations.  That is just my view, and you can treat it as utter ignorant tripe if you like.

[20] Posted by MichaelA on 4-13-2012 at 11:15 PM · [top]

Hmmm, looks like I was wrong.  I suppose that the liberals must be feeling pretty confident since they obviously don’t feel that subtlety is needed anymore:

Archbishop Barry Morgan of the Church in Wales has been elected to serve on the Crown Nominations Commission for Canterbury, the body that will nominate the next archbishop of Canterbury.

Morgan was elected by members of the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion, which had been asked to nominate one primate to represent the Anglican Communion on the commission.

Barry Morgan representing the voice of the international Anglican Communion?!?  Really?!?!?

[21] Posted by jamesw on 5-11-2012 at 11:05 AM · [top]

Fr. Dale, FWIW, I totally agree with you about praying for +Michael Nazir-Ali as the next AbC.

[22] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 5-11-2012 at 01:27 PM · [top]

#21, Iagree it really is absurd, and yes they do seem to have abandoned any need for subtlety.

But I suppose it depends on your view of the ABC’s role.  If you truly view him as one of the four “Instruments of Unity” for the Anglican Communion with all the roles clarified in the draft Covenant, then it would be insane not to include representatives of the orthodox majority of the Communion in the selection process. 

But if the powers-that-be in CofE don’t think that ABC has any real relevance to the rest of the Communion, then sure, why shouldn’t they give the strongly-liberal ++Morgan a seat on the CNC and deny a seat to the strongly orthodox majority in the Communion?

And by the same token, if the Global South agrees with them that ABC no longer has much relevance to the Anglican Communion, then the Global South probably won’t be bothered complaining about the choice of ++Morgan.

[23] Posted by MichaelA on 5-16-2012 at 10:47 AM · [top]

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