Skip to comments.Has ECUSA blinked?
Posted on 03/27/2006 5:34:35 PM PST by sionnsar
Has ECUSA blinked?
Sitting in the airport, waiting to catch a plane back to Phoenix from the North Carolina House of Bishops meeting gives me a chance to add my own unofficial Word to the Church as an introduction to the official published document, which I have included below in case you have not already seen it. There were several large and important issues we dealt with at this meeting. We were very much aware that many in our own country, not to mention the wider Anglican Communion, were waiting to see how we would react to the Windsor Report on the eve of our June General Convention. You will note the mention, in the Word to the Church document, of the Special Commission on the Anglican Communion. Although this Commission did not give us a written report (that will be published in a few weeks), it did outline several recommendations, which will take the form of resolutions at General Convention. From my perspective, these resolutions represent an endorsement of the Windsor Report and express a clear desire not to do anything that would further jeopardize our standing with the rest of the Communion. The resolutions, which I also expect will pass in June, I would sum up as follows nothing is official at this point:
1. A restatement of our commitment to the Communion and the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury; an endorsement of the Windsor process as the way forward for all of us.
2. An invitation that representatives from the wider Communion join us on our national standing committees.
3. An expression of repentance (and that is the word used rather than regret) for actions of our church, which have caused pain to the wider Communion.
4. An encouragement of very considerable caution in electing future bishops whose acceptability poses a challenge to the Communion, until a wider consensus emerges.
5. A call for a wide breadth of responses and pastoral care to the needs of homosexual people. However, the authorization of same sex unions is to be put on hold until a broader consensus emerges in Communion. Bishops who have authorized such are to apologize for their actions.
6. A commitment to the care of all people, especially those who dissent with the decisions of the national church and thus feel marginalized. The provisions of DEPO (Delegated Episcopal Oversight) are to be revised.
7. A call to strictly enforce the ancient rule of bishops respecting the boundaries of other dioceses.
8. Urge the adoption of the Millennium Development Goal of .7% of income given by all parishes and dioceses to the needs of the developing world.
9. A recommitment to a grass roots listening process in which there would be face-to- face interchange of leaders of the Communion. The work of the Anglican Consultation of Women is given as a model for this.
10. Strong support of international human rights for gay men and women.
I think one might say this represents a go slow approach for our church. Without backing away from decisions we have made, it is nonetheless a clear message that we will work to conform to the requests of the majority of the Anglican Communion as expressed in the Windsor Report.
I know that some of you will have questions about my point #4. There are at present three openly gay candidates (out of six) for the next Bishop of California to be elected in May. If one of them should be elected, consent would have to be given at the June General Convention. In that scenario, and given the mood of this meeting, my sense is that those consents would not be forth-coming from a majority of the bishops.
On the one hand, it is good that Smith admits that DEPO is a fraud(#6), that same-sex marriages should be stopped and that those who authorized them should apologize. And Smith's declaration that a homosexual bishop from California would not be approved at GenCon is encouraging.
But there is much less here than meets the eye. One of Kendall Harmon's commenters astutely points out that bans on the dreaded unauthorized bishopping are to be strictly enforced while ECUSA needs only to exercise "very considerable caution" in the bishops it elects, something that the ECUSA left will claim that it already does and has for some time.
There are substantial reasons to doubt ECUSA's desire to repent of GenCon 2003 or whether they even know what repentance means. After all, does not true repentance demand "backing away from decisions we have made?" Repenting of your hangover but not backing away from your decision to drink heavily is worthless.
There are many unanswered questions here. Will Robbie get an invitation to Lambeth? How will ECUSA react if he doesn't? How will ECUSA's left react to ECUSA's reaction? What, if anything, will ECUSA do to a bishop who defiantly authorizes and participates in a same-sex marriage? If California elects a homosexual bishop and ECUSA turns him/her down, do ECUSA bishops have the spines to stand up to the inevitable liberal outrage and probably GenCon walkout?
It is for that reason that I don't see this getting out of GenCon. The bishops might approve it but the clergy and laity will never go along. After all their blathering about "unfolding truth" and "the spirit doing a new thing," the implicit idea that perhaps they were wrong three years ago, perhaps Gene Robinson was a mistake and that perhaps homosexuals should not be allowed to marry in American Anglican churches will be too much for the liberals to accept.
Add the fact that many homosexual clergy will see all this as "diminishing" their "ministries" and I don't think the most important of these proposals will get off the ground. If they do, expect to see the voices of liberal Anglicans questioning the value of the Anglican Communion increase in number and volume and expect a liberal Anglican rebellion that makes the orthodox Anglican rebellion look tame. No matter what it does, there's an excellent chance that ECUSA will shatter into a million, mutually-antagonistic pieces.
So the rich, powerful, arrogant (and largely apostate) ECUSA bishops promise to be good...as long as the (spectacularly fast growing) AMiA is crushed?
This doesn't pass the smell test to me.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.