Monday, January 22, 2007

What Should Happen if --Schori Goes to the Primates Meeting

It may surprise you to know that a few months ago, I probably would have said that TEC Presiding Bishop Schori should be allowed to fully participate in the upcoming Primates Meeting although I had mixed feelings about it. After all, a big subject of that meeting will be the discipline of the Episcopal Church and its status for Lambeth. So it’s only fair that she be allowed to participate in that deliberation.

That’s what I would have said a few months ago.

Since then, however, her conduct has changed my mind. I knew she was a liberal when she was elected PB. But I did not expect the following (Maybe I should have.):

1. She has very publicly and brazenly espoused multiple heresies, some of which are spelled out here. Her denial that Jesus is the way as He taught especially angers me.

2. It is now quite clear that she is a systematic persecutor of the faithful.

Many faithful orthodox wish to leave the Episcopal Church in a peaceful matter. In Virginia, Falls and Truro Churches and allies have bent over backwards to negotiate amicable departures. Her policy instead is now clearly to take away their parish property (which in at least many cases was entirely paid for by congregations with little or no help from dioceses) and kick the faithful out onto the streets. And, yes, she’s now gone public with that policy.

This has now gone far beyond Windsor and gay bishops, though she and the TEC are certainly on the wrong side of those matters as well. A serial heretic and persecutor of the faithful now presides over an Anglican province. This can not and must not be accepted in any church body.

A number of the Global South primates are right to refuse to sit with her. Her conduct should not be tolerated in any Christian leader. She shouldn’t be a Sunday School teacher or VBS volunteer, much less a Primate of the Anglican Communion on equal footing with Primates who are actually Christians.

It is also clear that she has no constructive role to play in the Anglican Communion, particularly in bringing current troubles to a right resolution. She is a big part of the problem and has shown no willingness to be a part of the solution except on her terms, which include toleration of her heresies and wars on the faithful. It’s clear than any solution should and must include expelling her.

Therefore, if she flies to Tanzania, she should receive the following reception. Right at the start of the Primates Meeting or even before, the Primates should tell her that she is a blatant public heretic and a persecutor of the faithful, and she will not therefore sit as a Primate at the meeting. Then she should be voted out of the meeting, except perhaps to participate as a non-voting observer (After all, TEC will be a big subject of the meeting.). And she should be banned from any services.

And, although the Archbishop of Canterbury makes the final decision on invitations to Lambeth, he and the other Primates should make clear that she and a number of others will not be invited.

Yes, harsh. But her heresies and systematic persecution of the faithful must not be tolerated; such conduct in a putative Primate must be firmly disciplined. And that should not wait until Lambeth ‘08. She should not be allowed to be a Primate in full standing at the meeting next month or ever. I understand the Anglican love of dialogue and deliberation. But this is that clear cut and urgent a matter.

If she is not so disciplined and is seated at the Primates Meeting, then it’s problematic to say the least. That heretics and persecutors have been tolerated and even favored in the Episcopal Church is a big reason for its downfall. Ditto for the Presbyterian and other mainline churches. If the Anglican Communion makes the same mistake, it likely faces a similar future.

And, as I mentioned, a number of primates say they will refuse to sit with her. That could be end of the Anglican Communion then and there. Even from a purely practical point of view, seating her is a huge and needless risk. Still, at least part of me hopes that, even if she is seated in Tanzania, the Global South Primates would somehow stick it out, continue their leadership in the Communion, and help boot her and allied Episcolibs out of Lambeth and the Anglican Communion.

But they and the Anglican Communion should not be put in such a position. Public, blatant, unrepentant heretics and persecutors of the faithful have no place in any position of church leadership, much less as a Primate of the Anglican Communion. The time to boot --Schori is now.

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