Skip to comments.Divine divisions [Anglican]
Posted on 07/03/2006 7:07:55 PM PDT by sionnsar
"It is not going to look exactly like anything we have known so far," the Archbishop of Canterbury said last week as he finally took the lead in the bitter dispute between the liberal and conservative wings of the Anglican communion that has dominated his three years at Lambeth Palace. It has been a painful spectacle, watching a philosophical liberal impaled both by what he felt was an obligation to observe the broker's role and his own conservative interpretation of the church's structure. After three years of much-criticised moderation that he began, scandalously, by withdrawing support from the gay canon Jeffrey John, Dr Williams has finally invited the 77 million strong international church to face up to the implications of its continuing row. These are uncharted waters, he warned, as he suggested a future involving the reconstruction of the church around inner and outer rings, with a hard core of national churches willing to sign up to a full doctrinal "covenant" of shared beliefs. And beyond it a ring of churches "in association", voiceless, accepting some - but not necessarily all - of the Anglican beliefs and disciplines set out in this proposed covenant.
Lambeth Palace appears to have grown increasingly frustrated that the liberals, principally the majority of the US episcopalian church, have refused to moderate their embrace of a homosexual as well as a heterosexual priesthood, and now have, in Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, a woman leader who appears undismayed by the threat of schism. Many liberals, in Britain and North America, believe the archbishop is finally capitulating to the conservatives. They were encouraged in this view by the enthusiastic reception conservatives gave his proposals. For any covenant risks being an instrument of division, not unity, where a highly traditional version of Anglican doctrine will be agreed by a majority, leaving those who cannot sign up to it orbiting helplessly and without influence.
This strikes me as a total copout by the Archbishop of Canterbury. In Catholicism, the act of teaching an unorthodox doctrine and simultaneously claiming to be a Catholic Christian is what gets you excommunicated. What the Archbishop is doing is saying he will allow people to believe virtually whatever they want so long as they keep calling themselves Anglican.
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