Wednesday, December 27, 2006

About ++Rowan’s Letter

It’s now clear that the Archbishop of Canterbury’s leaked letter to the Primates concerning their upcoming meeting is genuine.

The question now is just what does it mean and what to make of it. Opinion among reasserters is very mixed while most revisionists are negative about it, some very much so.

I think it’s premature for either side either to shout hosannas or to fall on their swords. ++Rowan’s missives conceal as much as reveal his thinking. But the more I look at this letter the more I like it. The Archbishop recognizes, in writing (albeit in what was intended to be a private letter), that ++Schori attending and representing U. S. Anglicans at the Primates Meeting and at Lambeth ’08 is problematic at best. And it sounds like he wants that issue resolved at the February Primates Meeting. He does not want combat over this at Lambeth. And he’s taken initial steps toward someone else representing Episcopalians.

The reason he did not disinvite Schori already is that he believes in making major decisions in council – very Anglican – and does not want to bypass that even if it is his prerogative whom to invite to Lambeth. I expect, as I suspect does he, that the Primates Meeting will (in effect) expel Schori. But he wants that to be done in such a manner that no reasonable person can say he was unfair or the process short-circuited. (Of course, many UNreasonable people are already saying he’s unfair, but anyway . . . )

Of course, he also doesn’t want to short-circuit matters by acting in such a way that the Global South walks away altogether. I suspect he worked this out before sending out the letter.

Now having said that, am I perhaps being overly optimistic? Is it still possible that he will keep inviting Schori and company to everything and let the Global South walk if it wants? Yes. But after reading this letter, I think it less likely.

If you’d like to read some cogent analysis of the letter, I suggest that from Brad Drell, BabyBlue, and Christopher Johnson.

No comments: