(Reuters) Anglicans must not drift apart, departing leader says

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Rowan] Williams spent most of his decade as Anglican spiritual leader struggling to keep bitter disputes between liberals in western countries and traditionalists, mostly from African and other developing countries, from tearing the Communion apart.

Faced with strong traditionalist opposition to gay clergy, women priests and liberal interpretations of the Bible, he tried to balance both sides and to strengthen central authority in Anglicanism so member churches did not diverge too much.

But his Anglican Covenant project failed when even his Church of England rejected the idea of a stronger center. Unlike the powerful Roman Catholic pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury is only the spiritual leader of Anglicans and has no direct authority over the Communion's member churches.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Rowan WilliamsAnglican Primates* TheologyEcclesiology

Posted December 6, 2012 at 7:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Br. Michael wrote:

I think the question is why should it stay together?

December 6, 1:27 pm | [comment link]
2. Jim the Puritan wrote:

This will be my 15th year of being “apart.”  It’s all become a rather vague memory now, although there are twinges once in a while, such as when I hear the service of lessons and carols from Kings on the radio.  But certainly all the things I liked about being an Anglican are pretty much gone now, even the music, at least around here.  Now it’s about dressing up in increasingly silly and elaborate pseudo-Roman Catholic vestments and having processionals, and inane sermons.  It’s like the increasing pomp and circumstance is supposed to compensate for the total lack of substance.

December 6, 3:23 pm | [comment link]
3. Cennydd13 wrote:

In my case, it’s more a matter of who wears those vestments and what they preach, and not that they’re worn at all.  I won’t criticize clergy for what they choose to wear.

December 6, 3:39 pm | [comment link]
4. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

Rowan artfully conspired with TEc to make it so.  He’s doing the same to the CoE.

December 6, 3:45 pm | [comment link]
5. AnglicanFirst wrote:

There was a relevant comment made a T19 contributer about 5 to 7 years ago citing a statement that he overheard that was made by a revisionist championing the GLBT cause.

That overheard statement went something something like this,

“Either we will have our way or we will burn the church down [figuratively speaking I presume].”

Well it looks like they have succeeded in permanently dividing the Anglican Communion.  And in a sense the revisionists/GLBT activists have damaged the communion as badly as a malicious act of arson.

But isn’t this the new politics, i.e. emphasize differences and build hostility between classes, ethnicities and races?

December 6, 4:14 pm | [comment link]
6. Brian of Maryland wrote:

That was me from a few years ago.  At the time I was an Assistant to the Bishop in the Sierra Pacific Synod of the ELCA.  That’s Northern California, BTW.  It was during the process to elect a new Bishop.  A member of LC/NA told me:

“Either this church recognizes our gifts for ordained ministry or justice demands we burn it to the ground.”  If you don’t understand the emotion that undergirds the core advocates, you don’t get the intensity of their agenda.


December 6, 4:26 pm | [comment link]
7. Dan Crawford wrote:

A “spiritual leader” who has “no authority”. Then why call him a “leader”? He’s just a man with an opinion.

December 6, 5:04 pm | [comment link]
8. MichaelA wrote:

A very perceptive article from Reuters in Paris.

++Rowan, like his predecessor George Carey was faced with a choice: either he could (a) publicly declare for orthodoxy and criticise TEC, or (b) not do so.  Because neither Archbishop would choose option (a), they ended up tearing the fabric of the Communion.  It was inevitable that orthodox leaders in the South and the North would eventually take their own disciplinary action against TEC, and once they did that, who needs an ABC? (and yes, I appreciate that is too sweeping, but there is a strong kernel of truth in it).

Then ++Rowan tried to put the genie back in the bottle, by trying to get the provinces to voluntarily give back to ABC and ACC the status and powers they had had before (and then some).  But the time to do that was in 2001, not 2011.

December 6, 11:47 pm | [comment link]
9. MichaelA wrote:

“What we aspire to as Anglicans,” he wrote, “is not to be a federation of loosely connected and rather distant relatives who sometimes send Christmas cards to each other, but a true family and fellowship.”

Of course, that is always what ++Rowan and every other Anglican has aspired to.

But simply wishing won’t make it happen.  Unless there is a true meeting of the minds, there can be no true fellowship.  Which leads us back to doctrine.  Under Archbishops Carey and Williams (and to some extent under their predecessors also), doctrine has become something to gloss over - the concept of the Anglican ‘broad church’ has been stretched in ways never envisaged prior to the mid-20th century.

But Canterbury got it wrong.  Things long ago reached a stage where doctrine must be discussed, and positions taken.  Only when that occurs, will be there be a family and fellowship.  And for much of the Communion, that is already happening.  Its really only the poor cousins - USA, Canada, England, Wales - who are missing out.

December 6, 11:53 pm | [comment link]
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