Some of my patient readers may be wondering if I am sullenly ignoring the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Pentecost letter. I am not. But I was so preoccupied this past weekend that I did not even become aware of it until the past two days. So kindly excuse my tardiness.
However, the delay may be providential. For TEC’s Presiding Heretic Schori’s response, in its own way, sheds more light than I possibly could on the Pentecost letter. To say she doesn’t like it would be an understatement. That suggests ++Rowan’s missive may have more teeth than we have come to expect from him.
A close reading of the letter reveals that may indeed be the case. The money passages:
And when a province through its formal decision-making bodies or its House of Bishops as a body declines to accept requests or advice from the consultative organs of the Communion, it is very hard (as noted in my letter to the Communion last year after the General Convention of TEC) to see how members of that province can be placed in positions where they are required to represent the Communion as a whole. This affects both our ecumenical dialogues, where our partners (as they often say to us) need to know who it is they are talking to, and our internal faith-and-order related groups.
I am therefore proposing that, while these tensions remain unresolved, members of such provinces – provinces that have formally, through their Synod or House of Bishops, adopted policies that breach any of the moratoria requested by the Instruments of Communion and recently reaffirmed by the Standing Committee and the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) – should not be participants in the ecumenical dialogues in which the Communion is formally engaged. I am further proposing that members of such provinces serving on IASCUFO should for the time being have the status only of consultants rather than full members. This is simply to confirm what the Communion as a whole has come to regard as the acceptable limits of diversity in its practice.
That appears to be real actual sanctions. ++Rowan then briefly informs, “Particular provinces will be contacted about the outworking of this in the near future.”
It appears from her response that --Schori has gotten that call . . . and that it was not a pleasant one.
Further, ++Rowan appears to leave the door open to further sanctions from the Primates:
I am aware that other bodies have responsibilities in questions concerned with faith and order, notably the Primates’ Meeting, the Anglican Consultative Council and the Standing Committee. The latter two are governed by constitutional provisions which cannot be overturned by any one person’s decision alone, and there will have to be further consultation as to how they are affected. I shall be inviting the views of all members of the Primates’ Meeting on the handling of these matters with a view to the agenda of the next scheduled meeting in January 2011.
Therefore, like Matt+ Kennedy, although I am *Anglican understatement alert* not a tremendous fan of the current Archbishop of Canterbury, I am pleasantly surprised by this letter. It appears the man may be actually capable of saying, “Enough.”
Yes, I am indulging in the wild and wishful speculation that His Grace may think the Episcopal Church has finally gone beyond the boundaries that his grace can accommodate. I still would not exactly bet on that. But I may indulge myself and burden you with further useless speculation later.
In any case, --Schori’s response is pushing me to respect Dr. Williams again . . . somewhat . . . for now. And that is quite an accomplishment on her part.
Other notable (and fun) responses to the Presiding Heretic may be found at MCJ and Baby Blue.