Skip to comments.Archbishop Oliveira fails the poor and thwarts the evangelical mandate
Posted on 10/10/2005 6:54:54 PM PDT by sionnsar
As you no doubt recall from other weblogs and Anglican news outlets, the Primate and College of Bishops of the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil (Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil) deposed the bishop of the Diocese of Recifé in that Church, Dom Robinson Cavalcanti, for his provincial boundary-crossing actions in Ohio in March 2004. You may also recall that recently the bishop appointed to replace Bishop Cavalcanti deposed some thirty-two clergy of the diocese who opposed him and supported Bishop Cavalcanti; and that the Diocese of Recifé - or at least, Bishop Cavalcanti and his diocesan staff and clergy - appealed to the Archbishop of Canterburys Panel of Reference for adjudication of the conflict (the Panel has made no indication of responding to the months-old appeal to date, raising serious questions about this panels effectiveness).
More recent is the news that the Most Revd Gregory Venables, Presiding Bishop of the Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America (Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America), has given primatial oversight to Bishop Cavalcanti, his clergy, and the parishes in their charge, essentially making this Diocese of Recifé a diocese of the Church of the Southern Cone.
In late September, Anglican Mainstream published the text of Presiding Bishop Venables 24 September letter to the bishop and clergy of Recifé.
The Church of England Newspaper reported that the Recife bishop is thrown a lifeline by Archbishop Gregory Venables; and George Conger reported in The Living Church that the Southern Cone Primate Annexes Brazilian Diocese.
One notes that the official Anglican Communion Provincial Page for the Diocese of Recifé has treated the deposition of Bishop Cavalcanti and his supporting clergy as something of a fait accompli, listing the Rt Revd Filadelfo Oliviera Neto, bishop-designate of the Primate and College of Bishops of the Brazilian Church, as the ordinary, rather than the (deposed) Rt Revd Dom Robinson Cavalcanti.
It seems to me that until the Panel of Reference has sorted out the appeal to them by Bishop Cavalcanti and his clergy, that it is premature to make such an alteration, especially given that the news articles report that 90% of the diocese supports Bishop Cavalcanti and his clergy. At most the link to the diocesan webpage should have been disabled until the situation was resolved by the Panel of Reference. That the alteration was made, and in this direction, is perhaps an indication of the thinking or the sympathies of the Anglican Communion Office. In fact, the American Anglican Council issued a statement protesting the alterations to the Diocese of Recifé webpage, raising penetrating questions about why this occurred and asking that the Panel of Reference gather in emergency session to deal with this situation in which a diocese is divided.
Now comes word from the Revd Canon Dr Bill Atwood, General Secretary of the Ekklesia Society, that not only has Archbishop Orlando Santos de Oliveira demonstrated overweening prelatical pride and vengeance in deposing Bishop Cavalcanti, and Bishop Filadelfo Oliviera Neto in excommunicating the greater part of the clergy of the Diocese of Recifé, in so doing the Primate of Brazil and his bishop-designate in Recifé have made no provision for ongoing ministry to the unbaptized and to the poor and suffering of Recifé who were being ministered to by these clergy and their parishes.
When the Archbishop and the Province excommunicated the clergy they did not do anything to insure that the poorest of the poor would continue to receive care. Not one phone call, post card, visit, program or inquiry was invested by the province to see how the 52 children in the Casa Esperanza (House of Hope) day care would get milk the next day after the excommunication (which was carried out without a trial). Nothing was done to see how care could continue in the garbage dump on the other side of town. No plans were made or energy invested in protecting the at risk children in the dump or the teens who would be left to wander the dirt roads at night without the alternative offered by the church.
The province didnt even make provisions for the HIV/AIDS ministry to go on. That sends a chilling message. If you are poor, homeless, or unemployed and are linked with those who are theologically conservative, if you worship with them, or are even peripherally connected with clergy who are theologically opposed to the same-sex agenda that is the darling of the Province, then you are expendable.
This is scandalous.
To the credit of Presiding Bishop Venables and Bishop Cavalcanti, and to the glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, these clergy and parishes will (I pray) be able continue to provide this ministry to the poor and the sick. Let us watch in the coming days and weeks how we may contribute, financially and otherwise, to the continuing Diocese of Recifé, now under the primatial oversight of a godly presiding bishop. And in the meantime let us keep all Presiding Bishop Venables, Bishop Cavalcanti, and all the faithful clergy of Recifé, as well as Archbishop Oliveira and the Brazilian College of Bishops, and the clergy of Recifé who did not cleave to Bishop Robinson, in our prayers.
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