CEN: Canterbury rejects African call to postpone Dublin primates meeting

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury has rejected Africa’s call to suspend the Dublin primates meeting, a spokesman for Dr. Rowan Williams’ tells The Church of England Newspaper, and the meeting will go on as scheduled.

On Nov 17 Lambeth Palace confirmed that Dr. Williams had received a letter from CAPA chairman Archbishop Ian Earnest. This letter raised a “concern about the planning process for the Primates’ Meeting and request[ed] that it be postponed.”

“However, given the closeness of the time, and the fact that the majority of Primates have already indicated that they will attend, the Archbishop of Canterbury is not minded to postpone the meeting whose date was set two years ago,” the Lambeth Palace statement said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican PrimatesGlobal South Churches & Primates

24 Comments
Posted November 26, 2010 at 8:34 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

Initially I was puzzled by the release of the GAFCON Oxford statement on the day of the CofE vote on the covenant.  On the one hand it looked like a spoiling action, or one to upstage it, whatever the result, but on the other it had been publicised too late to influence the vote. 

Well there may have been an element of that, and it certainly has to some extent upstaged the overwhelming vote in all orders for the Covenant, and the seeing off of a very real threat orchestrated from the States and their supporters to scupper the Covenant and Dr Williams with it, but something else, I was unaware of has been going on which now makes sense.

George Conger reported in CEN on 18th November

At the close of the [CAPA Primates’] meeting, a letter to Dr. Williams was prepared, responding to his Oct 7 letter suggesting that a regime of facilitated small group meetings be instituted in place of the traditional format of the primates meeting, in light of the threatened boycott of the gathering.

The contents of the African letter have not yet been disclosed, sources tell CEN, as the primates do not want to force Dr. Williams’ hand by way of a leak to the press.

So we knew the CAPA primates, including many of the GAFCON Primates had written to Dr Williams, but we did not know what they wrote, although many had stated that if the Presiding Bishop of TEC was invited to Dublin, they would not come.  They would not however disclose the contents of their letter though because it would force the hand of the Archbishop.

Meantime dysfunctionally, Williams unilaterally decided to invite the Presiding Bishop to the Dublin Primates’ Meeting running against what he had promised to do, which is to consult the Primates first, and ignoring the warnings he had received.  At the same time he has been trying to reverse or limit the damage his decision has done to Communion Primates’ unity, by working behind the scenes to suggest ‘alternative’ manipulated Indaba style meetings rather than a proper plenary Primates’ Meeting.  What a shambles he has created through his arrogance and his autocratic decision-making.  There is a view at Lambeth, somewhat British in its presumption, that you can manipulate, undermine, scheme and cajole your way around the consequences of your actions, and this is continuing.

However, with this article on Dr Williams’ reply to the CAPA and other Primates, we now know why the Oxford Statement was released when it was.  With Dr Williams having replied to the CAPA Primates and having given them the brush-off [although one could put it less politely], there was now no reason to keep the content of their message to Dr Williams quiet or the content of the GAFCON Primates decisions out of the public sphere and so the Oxford Statement was released on a day which just happened to coincide with Synod.

The best comment I have heard appeared on Rugby Playing Priest’s blog:
“It will end in tiers”.

We will be lucky if it just ends in tiers in my view, we are looking at division caused by Dr Williams’ responses, and his high-handed brinkmanship.  He and the Lambeth/ACO bureaucracies have failed to engage with the elephant in the room, what the huge majority of the Communion, the Global South, are saying to him in:
1. The Capa Primates’ Communique 29 August 2010
2. Conference Statement of the All Africa Bishops’ Conference 3 September 2010;
3. Fourth Trumpet from the Global South to South Encounter 23 April 2010
4. Communique from the Primates Council of GAFCON/FCA 10 April 2010
5. and now most recently the GAFCON Oxford Statement and the explanation provided in this interview by its chairman +Gregory Venables.

Dr Williams will not be able to just finesse and manipulate this by just bluffing it out with the current Covenant text [and with the ‘Standing Committee’ in charge of it], armed with the CofE vote.  He has to engage properly with the Global South, and if he just thinks that means scheming Indaba and institutional process, the breaks he initiates will not just heal, but will alienate his office permanently from the majority of the Communion.  It is the same mistake the Crown made in North America before independence.  There must be a restoration of democratic governance and representative legality to the Communion and its instruments, and an end to Williams’ scheming and disasterous manipulation - the elephant in the room must be engaged with, it is not going away.

Hubris, and nemesis

November 26, 10:45 am | [comment link]
2. Dan Crawford wrote:

The Archbishop is “not minded”. Truer words . . .

November 26, 12:16 pm | [comment link]
3. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) wrote:

“On the one hand it looked like a spoiling action, or one to upstage it, whatever the result, but on the other it had been publicised too late to influence the vote”. 

It could be that the timing is immaterial and the GAFCON primates just wanted to outline where they stood.  And you know, I typed that last sentence before I read your whole post, Pageantmaster, and now I have.  grin Reading off the same sheet of music…

“There is a view at Lambeth, somewhat British in its presumption, that you can manipulate, undermine, scheme and cajole your way around the consequences of your actions, and this is continuing”.

To add, not “correct”—that is not unique to Britain, and if that is the road that ++Williams is going down, then he’s learning from experts, and/or at least “in bed” with masters of that game, make no mistake.  One would think that he would not want that brand of American pollution in Britain and elsewhere in the Communion, but I guess he does because the overlying reality is that he ultimately agrees with the agenda. 

The layers are coming off the onion, and we’ll have to see where this leads.  I can guess, and I doubt it leads anywhere good. 

I just caught the tail end of one of Liam Neeson’s movies, “The Other Man” in which Antonio Banderas plays the scheming lover of Neeson’s wife.  Interesting drama(about stuff I wouldn’t want to do) with beautiful UK/European scenery. Once Banderas’ character is caught in his games, he honestly refers to himself as a “loser”, and provides a reason for his seduction of Neeson’s character’s wife.  “But losers are brilliant at making things pretty”.  Maybe so, but there’s always a limit to the charades they can maintain.  And it’s truly so shallow that it’s not “pretty” at all; it’s merely a troublesome illusion. 

While it may be true that HM The Queen has to constantly referee the antics of her staff, I believe her devout and traditional on the Church score and I can’t imagine her happy with the direction of the Communion under Williams’ “leadership”—perhaps a huge yank of the chain is in order.  I don’t know what else could help it. 

Thank you for the commentary in #1.  At least it’s good to know where things stand. 

At this point, they may as well lay it bare and have Mary Glasspool attend the primates meeting with KJS, or in her stead.  Why not—the ultimate vulgar, inconsiderate “in your face”... 

As an aside, rest assured that there are some of us here in North America who find this sickening.  Yet, sadly it’s like severe dysfunction in families where there are huge “elephants in the room”—unhealth is the devil you know, change for health is anathema, and death is easier. 

I believe our hope is in Jesus’ destruction of death—we’ll have to see what He does with this. 

Big prayers as always.

November 26, 4:23 pm | [comment link]
4. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

The ArchDitherer Rowan long ago brushed off the Primates Meetings.  This is but the continuation of that act.  Thus does Rowan’s “affirmative aktion katholischism” make itself fully known in all its emperor’s new klothes.  He is the best example of colonialist imperating extant, which given the Schori-ites, is saying something.

November 26, 4:55 pm | [comment link]
5. iAnglican wrote:

so how many will be there and how many won’t show up?

November 26, 7:46 pm | [comment link]
6. Fr. Dale wrote:

It seems somewhat ironic to me that the Covenant in its latest version is the most inclusive (kind of like TEC) yet less and less of the Communion is willing to sign on the more inclusive it becomes. It is not one Covenant creating a two tier membership. It is one Covenant creating two Communions.

November 26, 11:15 pm | [comment link]
7. Larry Morse wrote:

What difference does it make to anyone whether anyone shows up or doesn’t? In fact it makes no difference. This is what utter impotence looks like. The great trouble with failed cultural bodies is that they never lie down even when they are dead. This is where our notion of ghosts comes from, the persisting shadows of failed lives.
  We should be asking ourselves, what next? Mh answer was handed to me here, that we in America face inward and use the likes of ACNA to rebuild a new province that answers only to Americans.  TEC will die of malnutrition and the C of E will die on inanition. Let them go.
We have now better things to do.  Larry

November 27, 12:37 am | [comment link]
8. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

#6 Fr. Dale
I read your blog post linked here.  May I ask what it would take to restore your confidence in a Canterbury centered Communion?

November 27, 7:17 am | [comment link]
9. Br. Michael wrote:

The ABC had to neuter the Primates because their actions were calculated to lead to a final decision one way or the other.  The AC can only be held together if there is no decision.  Perpetual discussion without decision is the only game in town.  The GS now realize that and they refuse to play the game any longer.

November 27, 8:43 am | [comment link]
10. Larry Morse wrote:

I don’t understand #8. Why would you even try? Hasn’t the horse already been stolen? Don’t you see the dissolution as irreversible?
Larry

November 27, 8:46 am | [comment link]
11. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

#10 It is a serious question for Fr Dale, Larry.  I expect you have made your views clear, but I am interested in what Fr Dale from the real diocese of San Joaquin thinks.

November 27, 8:59 am | [comment link]
12. William#2 wrote:

The Covenant is simply yet another means of kicking the can down the road. The means of disciplining those who would infect and eventually destroy Anglicanism already exist, un-used, so why would anyone expect this new process to be anymore used? Perhaps it is marginally useful as a revealer of truth to those who persist in not seeing, which is not enough reason for Africa to participate.

November 27, 9:33 am | [comment link]
13. Fr. Dale wrote:

#8. Pageantmaster,
I blame much of this on the ABC who seems to ignore and even thwart the majority of the Anglican Communion and its leadership. Saying that however, God can accomplish what seems like the impossible to us. A new ABC will not be able to hold the entire Communion together but could reestablish the credibility of Canterbury Anglicanism. The split between the progressive innovators and the orthodox is inevitable. This has been a case of the tail wagging the dog for far too long. It is no longer a question of whether the Global South will remain with Canterbury. Will Canterbury align itself with the Global South? This does not require a Covenant. It requires a genuine leader of Canterbury. If Canterbury wants to survive then the next ABC must come from the Global South.

November 27, 9:58 am | [comment link]
14. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

#13 Fr Dale
Thanks - I will think about what you say.

November 27, 10:29 am | [comment link]
15. Fr. Dale wrote:

#14. Pageantmaster,
And thanks for asking. Answering your question required me to offer up a possible solution instead of my usual carping. You have the heart of a Deacon.

November 27, 11:08 am | [comment link]
16. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

#15 and you have a heart of a Father, Father.

November 27, 11:59 am | [comment link]
17. Larry Morse wrote:

But you posit a new ABC. How is this possible. The Queen is not likely to pull the plug, is she? And she alone can select a ABC? Am I wrong about this? What are the chances - surely negligible - that she would choose someone from the Global South? You conclusion about the means of remedy may be sound, but are they not quite unrealistic? Larry

November 27, 1:22 pm | [comment link]
18. Fr. Dale wrote:

#17. Larry Morse,

but are they not quite unrealistic?

It’s a faith based solution from an ex-plumber. Don’t forget, the last two Popes did not come from Italy. If it is truly a WWAC, It would make sense to be bold enough to go beyond England.

November 27, 2:28 pm | [comment link]
19. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

#17 & 18 In theory not a problem - neither of our Archbishops come from England anyway.

November 27, 5:58 pm | [comment link]
20. Larry Morse wrote:

Can the Queen remove the ABC at will?  Larry

November 28, 9:09 am | [comment link]
21. Fr. Dale wrote:

#20. We will have to wait upon Pageantmaster or someone equally informed for the answer to that. My question would be, “Would the ABC have to come from Great Britain?”

November 28, 4:32 pm | [comment link]
22. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

The ABC has three roles:
1. diocesan bishop in the diocese of Canterbury;
2. Archbishop and Primate of All

November 28, 5:57 pm | [comment link]
23. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

Ugh - I wrote a long reply, only a bit of which came out, and can’t be bothered to go through all that again in spite of trying to save what I had written.  Sorry.

November 28, 6:01 pm | [comment link]
24. Fr. Dale wrote:

22 & 23 Pageantmaster,
We already knew what you posted in 22. How about answering our questions. I suppose the next time I ask you for the time you will tell me how to build a watch![smile]

November 28, 7:34 pm | [comment link]
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