Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Archbishop of Canterbury is botching the Panel of Reference.

In discussing the Bedford Communique last month I posted the following:

Another paragraph from the communiqué I find interesting:

The primates of the Anglican Communion at their meeting in Newry called “as a matter of urgency” for a panel of reference (paragraph 15), and yet as of this date, the panel has not been organized. We implore the Archbishop of Canterbury to organize this panel immediately to help ensure the protection of beleaguered parishes and clergy of the Episcopal Church.

Sounds like some polite but public impatience to me.

I, too, am wondering why the Panel of Reference hasn’t been yet formed. With situations in Connecticut, Brazil, and elsewhere, the need is urgent, and the Primates were right to say so. I realize there are probably procedures to follow, consultations to make, etc. But I’m scratching my head about the delay.

My impatience has been proved mistaken before. So I’ll say no more . . . for now.

It’s time to say more.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has appointed Peter Carnley, Senior Primate of Australia to lead the Panel of Reference.

When I read the news last night, I was beside myself. My first thought was ++Rowan’s putting a fox in charge of the hen house. In fact my second thought was ++Rowan’s putting a fox in charge of the hen house.

This is a terrible choice. ++Carnley has long been a partisan in the liberal camp. He has again and again alienated conservatives, including this one. The Panel needs a chair the orthodox trust and respect. Carnley is NOT it.

Is this the best Rowan Williams can come up with after such a delay? I was (and still am) hesitant to criticize the delay in appointing the Panel of Reference because I’m not in a position to know much of what’s going on behind the scenes. But it seems to be becoming more clear there is no good reason behind the delay.

The delay combined with this appointment sends an awful message to orthodox parishes under distress – the Archbishop of Canterbury really doesn’t care about you.

Maybe he does care. But he’s not showing that well at all right now.

The Primates made clear that the Panel was an urgent matter. And the Global South Primates have made clear the distressed orthodox should get real relief. The delay and this appointment are at cross purposes with those priorities.

I wonder what the Primates think about this. I’m flabbergasted myself. I really thought the Archbishop gave keeping the orthodox in the fold more priority himself than he is showing now.

I hope events show I’m overly alarmed and misreading the situation. But based on his actions so far, the Archbishop of Canterbury is botching the Panel of Reference and giving the orthodox less and less reason to stick it out and stay in the Anglican Communion.

And it’s time to say so.

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