Monday, July 27, 2009

BREAKING: ++Rowan Williams Comments On TEC General Convention

The Archbishop of Canterbury has finally commented on the Episcopal Church General Convention.

I’m in the process of reading his statement and may comment later.

Well, I’ve read the statement and don’t know quite what to make of it. In reading Dr. Williams’ words, one has to take into consideration his actions, which have enabled the apostasy of the Episcopal Church time and time again. Also, with Dr. Williams, when he understates matters, it is hard to know how much of that is British understatement and how much he is really underestimating a matter.

But at first reading, it seems there is much to commend the statement in spite of his side-splitting beginning:

No-one could be in any doubt about the eagerness of the Bishops and Deputies of the Episcopal Church at the General Convention to affirm their concern about the wider Anglican Communion.

I had a very good laugh out of that one. That is what you call receiving a deposit of crap and calling it a loving contribution.

Fortunately, the statement went uphill from there. I was particularly impressed with the following:

9. In other words, the question is not a simple one of human rights or human dignity. It is that a certain choice of lifestyle has certain consequences. So long as the Church Catholic, or even the Communion as a whole does not bless same-sex unions, a person living in such a union cannot without serious incongruity have a representative function in a Church whose public teaching is at odds with their lifestyle. (There is also an unavoidable difficulty over whether someone belonging to a local church in which practice has been changed in respect of same-sex unions is able to represent the Communion's voice and perspective in, for example, international ecumenical encounters.)

10. This is not a matter that can be wholly determined by what society at large considers usual or acceptable or determines to be legal. Prejudice and violence against LGBT people are sinful and disgraceful when society at large is intolerant of such people; if the Church has echoed the harshness of the law and of popular bigotry – as it so often has done – and justified itself by pointing to what society took for granted, it has been wrong to do so. But on the same basis, if society changes its attitudes, that change does not of itself count as a reason for the Church to change its discipline.

That is very well said and cuts through the fog surrounding such issues as well as Dr. Williams can be expected to do. And I am pleasantly surprised that he pretty much states that it is at this time inappropriate for practicing homosexuals to “have a representative function” in the Anglican Communion.

But with ++Rowan, the problem is not so much his words as it is his actions and inactions. If he were to stop enabling The Episcopal Church, then I would be really surprised. Maybe this statement is a beginning in that direction. But I seriously doubt it.

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