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Choice of Carnley Shows Contempt for Communion [Anglican]
VirtueOnline-News ^ | 5/16/2005 | David Virtue

Posted on 05/17/2005 4:40:56 PM PDT by sionnsar

The choice of retiring Australian Archbishop Peter Carnley to head the "Panel of Reference" created by Archbishop Rowan Williams response to the request of the Primates Meeting last February in Dromantine, Ireland shows nothing but contempt for the Anglican Communion.

The panel was created to deal with the explosive issue of bishops crossing diocesan boundaries to support orthodox parishes in revisionist dioceses around the world.

While the panel members has yet to be announced, having one of the most flagrantly ultra-liberal Primates of the Anglican Communion to head it is a major slap in the face at the Global South and will do nothing to heal the wounds in the Episcopal Church where it's own pastoral oversight plan - DEPO has failed miserably to provide spiritual shelter for orthodox priests in revisionist dioceses.

VirtueOnline has learned that there are over 70 complaints waiting to be settled once this Panel is in place! Carnley was a key figure in the drafting agreement in the Dublin agreement which is why it was softened down from what the Asians and Africans wanted, and in fact thought they had.

Within hours of the appointment U.S. Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold congratulated the choice of persons and said, "It is my expectation that the Panel of Reference will bring the whole question of delegated episcopal oversight objectivity and fair-mindedness. This will help dispel misrepresentations regarding the willingness of bishops and congregations under their care to make use of Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight."

Griswold went on to say that he hoped that one of the consequences of the clarity that will be provided by the Panel of Reference will be the redirection of our energies in the service of Christ's continuing mission in the world.

It is no mystery that Griswold's early and quick endorsement of Carnley should be so forthcoming. Carnley is the Archbishop of Perth and he has been a thorn in the side of the Global South Primates, siding with the liberal West on all the major issues. What Griswold would like to see emerge from this Panel is a full and public endorsement of his church's DEPO policy, a policy that has yet to provide hope or oversight for one single orthodox parish caught in a revisionist diocese.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has asked each Primate or Moderator of the Communion primate with a plan for delegated or extended episcopal oversight to send the plan to Williams within 14 days and to notify him within 28 days if any changes are made to the plan. Williams also called on "each bishop of the Communion to respect fully and in accordance with its spirit" plans established for their own provinces, and on each parish in conflict with its bishop to work within its own province for delegated or extended episcopal oversight.

But one scholar who knows the Cambridge educated Carnley said he would not trust him an inch. "He is an archetypal and very clever liberal (with a doctorate from Cambridge) with very little love for conservatives, whom he understands only too well. If I was in trouble with my revisionist bishop I would not look to him with any confidence at all."

"He is a highly intelligent archbishop who is a liberal scholar and those who are in dispute with their revisionist bishops would hope that others on the Panel have a much greater sympathy for an orthodox and traditionalist position than Archbishop Carnley is reputed to have!" The Oxford educated Anglican scholar added that this appointment will not inspire immediate confidence among those who find themselves in dispute with revisionist bishops, and it is a pity that the Archbishop of Canterbury has not been able to appoint someone who is known to be more even-handed.

"It looks to me like an appointment that is designed to fulfill the letter of the Dublin agreement but to weight it against those appealing, so as to keep in with Griswold."


It was Carnley who ordained the first women priests in Australia even before the General Synod had given the green light.

Fr. David Chislett, rector of All Saints' in Brisbane noted in his "Letter from Australia" on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Australian General Synod's vote for women priests that two days before the ordinations were to take place Peter Carnley, Archbishop of Perth (now Primate), went ahead anyway. "This willingness of proponents to act without what everyone previously considered was the necessary consensus of General Synod demonstrated that even a 'no' vote would not prevent the purported ordination of women to the priesthood."

Wrote Chislett: "It is difficult for us to forget the ruthlessness with which he pushed the ordination of women in the years leading up to 1992; or the way in which (as far back as the 1987 General Synod) he tried to ignore our theological arguments by alleging that we were not REALLY opposed to women priests on theological grounds at all, but as a result of poor psycho-spiritual development. In that speech he accused us of being motivated by fear with regard to the integrity of Anglican orders, and fear of women getting the upper hand. This, he said, could well be related to the absence of fathers during the war years and the exclusive bathing of children by their mothers at that time." (Yes, he really did say all that!)

One thing Carnley could never be described as doing in religious or secular areas is occupying the middle ground. He is frequently outspoken on a range of social justice issues with characteristic clarity and bluntness.

Chislett: "It is difficult to forget the hardships under which priests of our integrity have worked in Perth since 1992, having been told by Carnley to shake the dust off their feet and look for somewhere more congenial to live. More recently he questioned the honesty of priests opposed the ordination of woman who seeks to enter the Diocese of Perth on the basis that such a priest could not honestly subscribe to Perth's Canon Law which provides for woman priests. Things have been tougher for "our" clergy in Perth than in any of the other metropolitical dioceses."

Carnley frequently refers to himself as "progressive orthodox" and hates the word "liberal".

"Liberalism came out of the Enlightenment," he says, "and the Enlightenment was interested in stressing the independence and autonomy of the individual. I think individualism has gone as far as it can go. We need to swing back to a communitarian understanding of truth. We don't just survive as independent individuals, deciding what we will believe or not believe. We are interdependent as human beings, and we depend on the views of others to clarify our own views."

But Carnley is no stranger to controversy especially on hot button issues like the resurrection and the Bible.

The pioneer of women's ordination and author of a controversial book on the Resurrection had this to say about the Bible: "The fallacy of direct transference, as I would put it, is the fallacy that you can take an ancient text... and imagine that it can say the same thing to us today in our context (as in the first century). We bring an agenda to the texts which colors the way we hear them."

On the resurrection he had this to say: "The empty tomb was a sign of the Resurrection, not a proof, because an empty tomb can be explained in other ways. If you look at the Gospel records, the women in fact did not believe on the evidence of the empty tomb. They were very perplexed and went away disbelieving. According to St Paul, Easter faith in 1 Corinthians 15 is based on the appearance of the raised Christ, an encounter with the Risen Christ; the empty tomb by itself is insufficient."

The body of Jesus, Archbishop Carnley continued, was transformed, and not just resuscitated like the bodies of Lazarus and the son of the widow of Nain. The transcendent aspect of the raised Christ is very important to orthodox Christianity. The raised Christ can appear anywhere, and can be encountered by anyone; the raised Christ will never die again. The actual events of Easter Day, however, remain a mystery, he says.


Following ECUSA's consent to Gene Robinson's election on Aug. 6th, 2003 Carnley had this to say: This is not a 'Communion-breaking' issue. Our Communion is established by legal instruments and is not fractured by differences of opinion, especially not over a single issue such as this."

Given that the concept of a 'homosexually orientated person' is a relatively modern invention of the mid-19th century, can these ancient texts be lifted out of their original cultural context (which assumed an undifferentiated heterosexuality) so as to be made to apply to the essentially modern question about faithfully committed homosexual people? The answer to that question is not so obvious to some people as it apparently is to some "Sydney Anglicans".

And yet, his response to Gene Robinson's consecration and his initial responses to the Windsor Report suggest that he recognizes the impaired communion caused by ECUSA's actions, seems to support an Anglican Covenant, and recognizes the limits on provincial autonomy inherent upon members of a global Communion.

"I regret the decision of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America [ECUSA] to proceed with the consecration of Canon Gene Robinson so quickly and without adequate consultation. ... There is no doubt that our unity is damaged and our Communion impaired by ECUSA's decision and the recent actions in the Diocese of New Westminster."


"I think it is an attempt to try and draw the boundaries between autonomy, the autonomy of independent national churches, and interdependence that is a part of intercommunion. If you're going to belong to a communion of churches, that brings with it certain responsibilities and expectations, and this way forward, the idea of an Anglican covenant, tries to outline the expectations and the responsibilities whilst upholding the principle of autonomy. This report suggests the time has come for an Anglican covenant between the churches of the Anglican Communion."

On the Communion splitting, Carnley says this: "Oh yes the Church will cope. There'll be a few stresses and strains here and there, and a bit of foot stamping and hand wringing along the way, but that's the way life is, but yes I think the Church will cope. The Church is full of very gifted people who impress me over and over at synods for their compassion and their ability to think through a knotty problem, in the sensible kind of way, and I think the Church will just get on with the challenges that face it, and move on."

He may think the issue of gay bishops is not in danger of splitting the church "more than any other issue." There are plenty of other doctrinal issues or moral issues that are currently being debated but what needs to be said is that there's a whole lot we agree upon, he says.

Carnley doesn't get it. He is either blind or does not want to hear or see what Primates like Peter Akinola are saying now and will do in the future when push comes to shove. He may think there will be no schism over gay bishops, but he is wrong.

The Americans and Canadians have been asked to walk apart, and they have till now refused. That now leaves only one other option and that is for the Global South to walk apart from the West, and with the numbers firmly on their side they may yet do so. They are refusing Western money and education for their priests and many stood up to Western liberal primates at Dromantine recently. This can only be viewed as a portent of what is to come.

The Panel of Reference may yet prove to be as impotent to enforce as the American idea of DEPO, the only difference being that it will be aired on a grander scale, so its failure will be more publicly humiliating.

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant
KEYWORDS: angpost8

1 posted on 05/17/2005 4:40:57 PM PDT by sionnsar
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2 posted on 05/17/2005 4:41:35 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† || Iran Azadi || Newsweek lied, people died.)
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