Skip to comments.BRAZIL: Orthodox diocese looks to Williams' Panel of Reference for help
Posted on 04/08/2005 5:28:36 PM PDT by sionnsar
Exclusive interview with Bishop Robinson Cavilcanti of the Diocese of Recife
By David W. Virtue
Bishop Cavlicanti cites lack of public support and apathy as Brazilian Primate comes down hard on him. He is appealing to the Archbishop of Canterbury and says orthodox primates will intervene if nothing is forthcoming.
Six months ago VirtueOnline interviewed Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti. We have talked to Bishop Cavilcanti again about the situation in the orthodox diocese of Recife and its struggle with the provincial liberal leadership of Archbishop Oliviera.
VirtueOnline: You have said that one obstacle has been the lack of information about what is going on in Latin America by the Anglican press worldwide. Why is that so?
Cavalcanti: For the majority of Christians (Anglican included) worldwide, Latin America is either "the largest Roman Catholic continent" or "a place of phenomenal Pentecostal growth". But two realities are forgotten: First, there has been a significant presence of historical Protestantism for almost 200 years. In Brazil, alone, there are around 2 million Baptists and 1 million Presbyterian, deep-rooted and very evangelical. You can add the Methodists, the Congregationalists and the Anglicans as part of this missionary experience, and the Lutherans more as a result of immigration. Secondly, there are islands" of liberalism,mainly among Lutherans and Anglicans, under European and North American influence.
VirtueOnline: So you are saying there are also "islands' of orthodoxy within liberal dominated denominations?
Cavalcanti: Yes. This is the case with the Diocese of Recife and many isolated parishes in other Anglican dioceses of Brazil and other countries of Latin American (Anglicanism is present in all of them). There are dioceses still within ECUSA IX Province and others with a formal provincial autonomy, but very dependent on ECUSA financially and ideologically. The orthodox in these places feel oppressed, isolated and very few people visit them to know the reality and to support them. Much of the news comes from controlled and biased agencies.
Take the case of Ecuador, besides the controversy, who went there to listen to the people? Everybody pays attention to the orthodox oppressed by the revisionists in the USA and Canada, but we don't feel the same support toward oppressed diocese and parishes in Latin America.
VirtueOnline: We know that Recife had requested "Alternative Primacial Oversight with Jurisdiction" to the Archbishop of Canterbury and to the Primates of the Anglican Communion, and were told to wait until the Primates Meeting in Newry, Northern Ireland. What has happened since then?
Cavalcanti: First, the Primate and the House of Bishops of Brazil imposed a so called "Alternative Episcopal Supervision" on certain clerics and parishes without request or consent of the communities, and without Constitutional or Canonical base, creating a "de facto" parallel diocese, completely separated from the diocesan bishop, all financial provincial resources to Recife were suspended, and a disciplinary process - politically motivated with false allegations and with unethical procedures - was initiated against me, under the accusation of "in submission". Two days before the Primates Meeting, the Brazilian Primate Orlando Oliveira suspended me from "Office and Ministry" and appointed the suffragan bishop as "diocesan authority". The Primate issued decrees to impede our diocesan synod to meet and a sordid defamatory campaign took place against the diocese and myself.
VirtueOnline: And what was the diocese reaction?
Cavalcanti: Some 35 parishes, missions and mission stations, 32 clergies, representing 90% of the membership, protested and rejected the illegal, illegitimate and immoral actions of the liberal provincial leadership, and issued open documents reaffirming their loyalty to the "legitimate diocesan bishop". Only tiny minorities of dissenters are under the suffragan authority.
VirtueOnline: Did you receive any comments or feedback from what was discussed about Recife among the Primates and the Archbishop of Canterbury in Dromantine?
Cavalcanti: I have not heard or received any comments from the Archbishop of Canterbury to whom we made our appeal. But the liberals are happy with the election of Primate Oliveira to the Primates Standing Committee and with the decision about not crossing boundaries and with the lack of any public reaction against my suspension, it has been very disappointing. Oliveira went to Dromantine with counter-information papers to propagate distorted versions of what is really happening here and to erode the orthodox support of me and of the Diocese of Recife. However, we have been receiving very important support from some leaders and institutions, but others have been acting in a very low profile way supporting us.
What we have done is to send a formal appeal to the new Panel of Reference set up by the Archbishop of Canterbury. If the panel does not act we will have a solution from initiatives that will be put in place by the orthodox primates of the Anglican communion.
VirtueOnline: How are the clergy and the people actually faring in your diocese?
Cavalcanti: They are tired but united, oppressed but with hope, and working hard daily in the mission of the church to bring the saving knowledge of Christ to our people. They do not accept the "unlimited inclusiveness" (no standards of doctrine or morals) of the Brazilian liberal leadership, and their "silent revolution" of changing the practice without changing the Canons, and they are looking for a time of peace and security under a Primate who teaches that homosexual practice is a sin, in all times, places and cultures. Their desire is that some of the orthodox leadership in the Global North would come and visit us, to see our situation personally. For those other orthodox parishes in Latin America they too are looking to what happens with Recife, as a sign for their own future.
VirtueOnline: Thank you Bishop Cavilcanti
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