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Now What?
Christopher Johnson, 7/27/2005

"I see my ministry now as helping our church to find a way forward that both preserves the unity of the church and honors the deeply held divergent points of view among us." - Frank Griswold to the Primates of the Anglican Communion, August 19, 2003

Are you planning on starting that ministry of yours any time soon, Frank?

The Rubicon has been crossed; open warfare has broken out in the Episcopal Church.  The question now is what, if anything, can ECUSA do to stop it.  As I see it, 815 has four options and three of them are bad:

(1) Frank convenes some sort of special bishops meeting and attempts to negotiate a solution.  A non-starter since there is nothing to negotiate.  Smith won't back down and the rhetoric of the recent Network letter to Smith means that if the Network backs down or accepts another "compromise," its credibility will be destroyed never to live again. 

And with the recent establishment of the Council of Anglican Provinces of the Americas and Caribbean(CAPAC), the Network doesn't need to back down.  Because CAPAC, along with its inspiration, the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa, gives the Network something ECUSA no longer has.  Membership in and enthusiastic support from a strong, vibrant international Anglican organization.

(2) Presentment charges are brought and carried through against the Network bishops.  Only if ECUSA has a death wish.  This action would outrage CAPAC, the African bishops and every other orthodox Anglican in the world, split ECUSA wide open and guarantee that Lambeth 2008 never happens.

(3) Presentment charges are brought against Andrew Smith who gets some sort of sham trial(see Walter Righter) at which he is found innocent.  See above as this will probably have much the same effect.

(4)  Presentment charges are brought against Andrew Smith and made to stick.  This might be ECUSA's only chance to slow down Network momentum and, ironically, I don't think it's out of the question.  The silence from liberal bishops regarding Smith's actions in Bristol may not indicate support for the Connecticut bishop. 

It's entirely possible that some liberal ECUSA bishops were appalled but, for reasons of their own, didn't want to say anything.  If the charges are strictly framed as a violation of the canons, they might find it easy to vote against Smith, thus taking a major Network issue off the table.  Much of the Episcopal left would be outraged but the left isn't threatening to bolt and isn't ECUSA's main problem right now.

Of the four, I think (3) is the most likely and, for ECUSA, (4) is the most necessary.  For what it's worth.

1 posted on 07/27/2005 6:07:56 PM PDT by sionnsar
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2 posted on 07/27/2005 6:08:18 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† || Iran Azadi || Kyoto: Split Atoms, not Wood)
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