Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury to meet TEC House of Bishops in late September

Yesterday came word that the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams along with other Anglican leaders will meet with the Episcopal Church House of Bishops in September as the HOB decides formally how to respond to the Primates Tanzania Communiqué just before the September 30th deadline. The best summary of this news I’ve come across is here.

This sets us up for high drama, does it not? The Archbishop of Canterbury meets the TEC HOB with the September 30th deadline looming. As I’ve said before, who needs soap operas when you’ve got Anglicans?

As for whether this is a positive development, my opinion is . . . it depends. It depends on what +++Rowan and company will say to the bishops.

If they tell TEC bishops that this is the end of the line; they will either get on board with the rest of the Communion and disallow same-sex blessings and homosexual bishops as requested, or they will be left behind. That should TEC continue their course, there will be a split. The only question is who leaves or is pushed away. +++Rowan needs to make it clear that, if forced to choose, he would choose to give priority to the orthodox majority staying, not to the Episcopal Church. Therefore, should the HOB fail to meet fully the requests of the Tanzania Communiqué, it’s highly unlikely the Episcopal Church will be invited to Lambeth or in any significant way continue in the Anglican Communion for the foreseeable future.

If that is what is communicated, then the meeting would serve a good purpose of buttressing Tanzania and Windsor/Dromantine and of shattering any illusions that there is some other viable way for the HOB to proceed.

However, if +++Rowan and company in any way negotiate down or soften the requirements of the Tanzania Communiqué, that would be a terrible development. I don’t think I’m overstating matters though it may seem so. It would perhaps lead to a quick departure of several orthodox provinces from the Anglican Communion. Many orthodox have had enough. The Episcopal Church will have had four long years to stop walking apart. If +++Rowan acts in a way that enables instead of disciplines TEC, that prolongs matters yet again and allows all TEC bishops (save you-know-who) to be invited to Lambeth regardless of their intransigence, many orthodox will walk and for good reason. The current bleeding of conservatives from the Communion could easily become a torrent from which it would not recover.

Therefore, to keep the Anglican Communion somewhat intact and orthodox (not to mention it’s the right thing to do), +++Rowan must let the bishops know he is poised to back full discipline of the Episcopal Church and that very soon -- on October 1st, 2007.

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