Church of England bishop says ‘Anglican experiment is over’

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishop [John] Broadhurst said that Pope Benedict has made his offer in response to the pleas of Anglicans who despair at the disintegration of their Church. “Anglicanism has become a joke because it has singularly failed to deal with any of its contentious issues,” said the bishop.

“There is widespread dissent across the [Anglican] Communion. We are divided in major ways on major issues and the Communion has unraveled. I believed in the Church I joined, but it has been revealed to have no doctrine of its own. I personally think it has gone past the point of no return. The Anglican experiment is over.”

In an emotional closing speech on Saturday, Bishop Broadhurst used the metaphor of the frog and the boiling pot to describe the current Anglican status.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

10 Comments
Posted October 27, 2009 at 7:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Ad Orientem wrote:

[Comment deleted by Elf]

October 27, 7:51 pm | [comment link]
2. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

Some caution is due here. Bishop Hinds has disavowed comments attributed to him. and repeated in this article. We’ll see how the statements of Bishop Broadhurst and Father “The Ship is Going Down” Tomlinson hold up to second thoughts.

October 27, 8:29 pm | [comment link]
3. Dr. William Tighe wrote:

Re: #2,

Well, if you listen to Bishop Broadhurst’s “podcast” talk he says what’s attributed to him clearly enough.  And, besides, I’m personally acquainted with him, and had occasion to speak with him at some length in both 2005 and 2006 in Norway, and what he said to me on those occasions was entirely congruent with what he’s saying now.

He was the child of non-practicing Roman Catholic parents who had him baptized in the Catholic Church.  He had a religious conversion as an undergraduate, was confirmed in the Church of England, and rapidly moved to the Anglo-Catholic end of the Anglican spectrum.

October 27, 8:49 pm | [comment link]
4. IchabodKunkleberry wrote:

What came across most vividly from the clergymen was their
sincere sense of anguish. The comment incisively made that ...
“the [Anglican] Church I joined, ... has been revealed to have no
doctrine of its own” is especially poignant. In the push to be
inclusive of women and gays in the clerical ranks, the Anglican
Church of England has become a hollowed-out husk now that the
Way, the Truth, and the Life has been ripped out. It was
necessary to rip out and thrust aside the teachings of the Kingdom
Not of This World in favor of gaining this world’s approbation. As it
totters on, zombie-like, the Anglican Church will appear to that same world as “a fond thing, vainly invented”.

October 27, 9:48 pm | [comment link]
5. BillB wrote:

There is a pruning of the vine in Anglicanism.  Some parts will be grafted back to the vines from which Anglicanism was taken as a clipping for a new vine.  Some parts will be removed and thrown in the fire.  Then the pruned vine will be restored to health.  Pray though that all of the healthy vines will be grafted back into one vine.

October 27, 10:20 pm | [comment link]
6. Isaac wrote:

[Comment deleted by Elf]

October 27, 10:47 pm | [comment link]
7. nwlayman wrote:

It’s rare to see such an honest man.  God bless him.  He’s not saying it for the money.  In fact he’s throwing it away.  A fellow like that would be welcome anywhere.  Wherever he winds up will be richer.

October 27, 11:41 pm | [comment link]
8. Londoner wrote:

let’s hope, given rome wants to accomodate some Anglicans who are being pushed out by “single clause” revisionist measures in the CofE which leave no room for any other view, that the ABC et al wake up and stop revisionists doing in England what they have achieved in TEC….taking over its structures an inch at a time, letting opponents leave if they do not like innovations…..regardless of the tragic decline Sunday by Sunday…...

October 28, 7:18 am | [comment link]
9. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

This is hardly a surprise, and yet it’s terribly tragic.  But IMHO, it’s not so much “the Anglican experiment” that’s over, but rather it’s the traditionalist Anglo-Catholic experiment that’s over.  Newman realized that the Tractarian Movement experiment was over rather quickly after the condemnation of his Tract 90, but it’s taken over 150 years for it to become clear that the movement he did so much to help start was doomed within Anglicanism.

Hmmm.  It’s striking that the timing of the pope’s dramatic announcement was just in time for this annual FiF-UK convention.  And that was probably no accident, and why it was seemingly rushed up, before the final text of the Apostolic Constitution was ready.

If this article is any indication, there may yet be a massive exodus of traditionalist catholic clergy out of the CoE to Rome after all.  Certainly you have three bishops seemingly declaring that they are ready to lead that exodus and swim the Tiber (+John Hind of Chichester most explicitly, plus +John Broadhurst of Fulham, and +Martyn Jarrett of Berkeley).  And personally, I think they’d be fools NOT to accept this remarkablly gracious provision for them by Rome.  As Fr. Tomlinson aptly put it, “To stay in the Church of England would be suicide.”  Precisely.

Now it’s still too early to know just how large the exodus may end up being, but I think it’s a safe bet that it will be substantial.  This new provision isn’t just for the TAC after all.

And the consequences for the balance of power in the CoE, and therefore within the AC as a whole, could well be momentous indeed.  If several bishops and hundreds of traditionalist clergy depart for Rome, along with thousands of lay people, that will inevitably cause the CoE to lurch to the left.

I live in Virginia.  When a big block of the most conservative and evangelical parishes in the Diocese of VA left in late 2006 and early 2007 (17 then, more now), the diocese took an immediate and dramatic lurch to the left.  Most evident perhaps in how the Standing Committee of the Dioc of VA voted YES to the election of Kevin Forrester, the Buddhist priest in N. Mich.  Such a thing would’ve been unthinkable just two years before.

Which in turn does tend to suggest that if the CoE likewise makes a dramatic turn to the liberal side after lots of Anglo-Catholics presumably leave, then “the Anglican experiment” in England will have been gravely compromised and weakened.  Now that experiment is actually far from over in that Anglicanism worldwide is flourishing and will certainly continue to flourish in the Global South.  But the current structures of the AC as we know it could well be doomed.

Prayerbook religion will continue.  But the handwriting may indeed be on the wall for the old wineskins of the CoE.  New wineskins are needed.  As far as I’m concerned, nothing less than a New Reformation will suffice.  And lest that be misunderstood, let it be remembered that there was a Catholic Reformation too.

David Handy+

October 28, 4:33 pm | [comment link]
10. Priest on the Prairie wrote:

I would take exception to the statement that Forward in Faith was founded “in opposition to the ordination of women as priests or as bishops, and most recently, to the ordination of active homosexuals.”  Forward in Faith was founded to be an island of orthodox faith and practice in a sea of heterodoxy.  Apparently its vision was prophetic.

October 28, 10:59 pm | [comment link]
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