Skip to comments.Arise, Let Us Go Hence [on Panel of Reference]
Posted on 05/31/2005 6:10:34 PM PDT by sionnsar
The American Anglican Council's David Anderson thinks that the Anglican fix is in:
Crucial to the progress seen at the Dromantine Primates meeting are the chairing and membership of the Panel and its scope of work and rules of engagement. In todays highly charged atmosphere, there is really only one chance to get it right. To this end the American Anglican Council views with some alarm the recent interview with Archbishop Carnley by the Living Church Foundation on May 17, 2005, and if the interview is accurate in the quotes attributed to Archbishop Carnley, it is most disturbing. His remarks, if accurate, cause the Panel of Reference to fail based on the words he chooses to use as to how the Panel will function, for his words conflict with earlier written statements from the Primates. For example he says the Panel will be an independent body. Independent of what? They are certainly not to be independent of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates. Provision was to be in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury on behalf of the Primates (October 2003) and the supervision of the Panel is of the adequacy of the pastoral provisions made by any churches for such members in line with the recommendation of the Primates Statement of October 2003.
The Living Church attributes Archbishop Carnley as saying that the entire process is "not leading to a judgment," and "offered to a national church at the request of its Primate. Participation will be voluntary." The Living Church continues the attribution of Carnley to say, "the diocesan bishop still has jurisdiction," and, "It has not been decided whether to request services through their bishop or directly to Canterbury..." If these attributions are accurate, then the proposed response is not adequate for, nor has any credibility with those for whom it is designed. The oppressed orthodox in the United States do not find it acceptable, and it will not work. This is known because leaders have phoned, written and spoken their considered belief that Archbishop Carnleys plan as he has outlined it is unacceptable.
Archbishop Carnley says that participation by a Province is voluntary. In other words a Province will decide whether to allow the Panel to supervise whether its alternative arrangements are adequate. This is not consistent with the two Primates statements: The Primates in October 2003 call on the provinces concerned to make adequate provision for episcopal oversight of dissenting minorities within their own area of pastoral care in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury on behalf of the Primates. The initiative is from the Primates calling on provinces to make adequate provision. Adequate provision is required.
Then in the Windsor Report process, DEPO was suggested for the USA and that particular type of DEPO was a form of voluntary participation consistent with Archbishop Carnleys criteria. However it was clearly rejected by the Primates in February 2005; otherwise why would they have set up the Panel of Reference if DEPO were adequate? So the notion that participation is voluntary is making its first appearance in this discussion, and this is in conflict with the clear intention of two Primates meetings.
It is not appropriate to require that an offending Primate agree to the process as a condition for relief to be granted to the oppressed orthodox within his Province. Participation by a Province that is voluntary is either non-participation or inadequate participation because they will have a veto over the relief, and a process that does not lead to a judgment is a waste of time for all concerned. The Panel of Reference is already being seriously questioned based on the delays and perceived lack of urgency in the appointments, and this concern is increased by the timeline given by Archbishop Carnley for the process to unfold. Life boats not launched in a timely manner need not be sent.
Archbishop Carnley says, It has not been decided whether to request services through their Bishop or directly to Canterbury. The Primates in October 2003 spoke of provinces making adequate provision in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury on behalf of the Primates. There is no mention of a consultation of the diocesan bishop with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Dromantine further defines the dissenting minorities of October 2003 now as groups in serious theological dispute with their diocesan bishop whose integrity and legitimate needs need to be protected. To request the services of the Panel through, and by implication with the permission of, their bishop was never envisaged and indeed would be self-defeating.
Two of the provinces where the vast majority of dissenting minorities are located are currently considering their place in the Anglican Communion and suspended from its councils. To make a process whereby those who fully affirm the teaching of the Anglican Communion can appeal to the central instruments of the communion for protection, dependent on the voluntary participation of the very provinces who are considering their place in the communion, and through diocesan bishops who will retain jurisdiction over them while at the same time considering their place in the Communion, belies all the laws of natural justice; it doesnt make sense; it is absurd.
It is therefore most important that these remarks of Archbishop Carnley and the proposed line he is taking for the Panel which he is slated to chair are most carefully reviewed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates in whose name the Panel is acting and to whom it is accountable. If the Panel of Reference is a serious effort by the Primates and the Archbishop of Canterburys office to address the needs of those who otherwise would seek succor from global Anglican Provinces, and if there is serious intent to implement this Panel so that it fills this need, major change including the choice of the chairman will be necessary for this to be acceptable and useful. If it is designed to be unacceptable or useless, the bother of assembling the Panel can be dispensed with.
As the President of the American Anglican Council, I cannot even begin to convey the pain and upset and discouragement that Archbishop Carnleys attributed remarks have caused already within the orthodox Episcopal and American Anglican community. If Archbishop Carnley has been inaccurately quoted by the Living Church, then a great deal of damage control will be required of the Living Church and Archbishop Carnley to restore faith in the Panel.
Is Anderson right about all this? Undoubtedly. Will this letter make any difference in the situation? Until conservative Episcopalians demonstrate a willingness to take stronger actions than writing letters, not in the least.
Orthodox Anglicans in the West, particularly in the United States and Canada, are going to have to come to grips with something. They are in the minority, they have no power and they are fighting against a majority whose religion Al Kimel rightly called "an effete high church unitarianism." If orthodox Christians in ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada want to save the Anglican religious tradition in the west, they are going to have to be willing to walk away from western Anglicanism's "official" churches.
Here in St. Louis, the Anglican Church of the Resurrection did just that. Getting expelled from its meeting house by ECUSA didn't stop it or even slow it down. ECUSA doesn't concern Resurrection anymore; its Master's work does.
Although Resurrection does not yet have a permanent meeting place of its own, it has planted churches and intends to plant even more. It has done more for the Anglican tradition in Missouri in two years than the ECUSA Diocese of Missouri has done in fifty. Churches like Resurrection are where conservative Anglicanism's future lies and it would be wonderful if conservative Anglicans realized it.
They won't be walking away from anything other than Satan's immorality.
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