Thursday, February 03, 2011

After Dublin: A Happier Future for Everybody

No, I am not being sarcastic in the title to this post. In fact, it is not my title, but Matt+ Kennedy’s. Now when I first saw the title to his piece, I thought he was being sarcastic. But no.

Kennedy predicts that after the Dublin Primates Meeting, there will be no dramatic split in the Anglican Communion, but more walking apart, with most of the orthodox on one side of a theological chasm and heretics and their enablers on the other. Both sides will pay less mind to each other as in the last eight years and therefore be “happier.”

I think he is correct. Now one may ask why will orthodox jurisdictions stay in the Anglican Communion at all. Matt+ gives two reasons in the comments:

1. Unlike the relationship between heretic bishops in TEC and orthodox parishes, the Communion exercises no authority over various primates. The ABC could, I suppose, not invite various orthodox primates to various meetings, but that would not mean much to primates determined not to go in the first place. The lack of Communion authority over various provinces means that there is nothing for provinces to “escape” from. They are already free to essentially do as they wish.

2. Since the Global South meeting in 2010, the more centrist conservative primates like Chew and Anis and the Gafcon primates have been seeking to act in concerted, unified ways. Listen again to Anis’ speech and Q/A at Mere Anglicanism. They seem to have committed to act as a unified group in a way that they had not before. Perhaps this is because the centrists have finally seen the light with regard to RW? In any case, declaring independence from the Communion would split the GS primates along the old lines and make both sides weaker. And, given the truth of #1 above, there is no compelling reason to do it.

The conservative primates are have no necessity or reason to declare that they have officially broken with the Communion when doing so would disrupt their own unity and they are free to essentially defect in place with no sanction.

Again, I think he is on target. I once thought there would be a formal split in the Anglican Communion. But with the way authority is structured, that is really not necessary and would split the orthodox as well.

So expect more walking apart, but not a formal split. A separation, but not a divorce if you will. And, yes, I too suspect that will make everyone happier.

Read Matt+ Kennedy’s post for more discussion.

No comments: