The Archbishop of Canterbury will act ‘in collaboration with Primates’

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury has told the Primates of the Anglican Communion that his response to the American crisis will be taken with their collaboration.

Writing to the Primates on Oct 2 Dr. Williams said he was “seeking the counsel of the Primates in the first instance.”

“My intention is firmly to honour the discernment of all the primates and the wider Communion at this juncture, which is why it is important to me to have frank assessments from all of you at the earliest opportunity,” he said.

“What I am asking for,” Archbishop Williams said, “is an indication of your view as to how far your province is able to accept the JSC Report assessment that the House of Bishops have responded positively to the requests of Windsor and of the Dar-es-Salaam message of the Primates.”

Read the whole article.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican Primates

Posted November 30, 2007 at 9:38 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. robroy wrote:

A better title would be the ABC will act only if forced by collaboration of the primates. As I said at SF, the key quote is from an unnamed GS leader:

He noted that by phrasing the question as a referendum on the work of the JSC, rather than upon the actions of The Episcopal Church, some provinces had demurred from offering a blunt critique, offering instead a nuanced response,

This is precisely why Rowan Williams chose to couch the polling in terms of the JSC report instead of simply asking the primates about their impressions about the DeS. He purposefully muddied the water. DeS was passed unanimously by the primates. The blatant subversion of the DeS communique by the ABC is disingenuous, disreputable and despicable.

I call on the ABC to ask the following direct, simple questions:
1) Did the American HoB agree to stop ordaining practicing homosexuals to the office of bishop?
2) Did the American HoB agree to stop offering blessings of SSU’s?
3) Did the American HoB agree to the very specific plan for alternative oversight laid out by the DeS communique?
4) Did the American HoB agree to stop these un-Christian lawsuits?

The polling of the primates would be unequivocal and unanimous (as was the approval for the DeS communique): Yes (with the caveat that the response was couched in terms of B033 and will be a no when this is repealed), No, No, and No.

November 30, 11:07 am | [comment link]
2. Jeffersonian wrote:

Considering that ++Williams has been poking sticks into the spokes of the Primates up to now, this will be a huge change of pace.  Unless the fix is in, that is.

November 30, 11:07 am | [comment link]
3. Br. Michael wrote:

I’ll believe it when I see it.

November 30, 12:05 pm | [comment link]
4. Susan Russell wrote:

For heaven’s sake ... this is a quote from an October 2nd letter. Hardly breaking news!

November 30, 12:39 pm | [comment link]
5. Albany* wrote:

Yup, those are the questions. The real ones, and there’s no peace until they are answered.

November 30, 1:17 pm | [comment link]
6. Dale Rye wrote:

Re #4: The breaking news should come shortly when the Advent Letter comes out. In the meantime, Religious Intelligence is apparently having a slow news day.

November 30, 1:21 pm | [comment link]
7. Bob from Boone wrote:

This is more blah, blah, blah spin, more stoking the fire, from +Conger. Let’s not waste any more time on this business.

November 30, 1:21 pm | [comment link]
8. Sarah1 wrote:

I personally believe that the ABC is doing his usual thing—lots of winks and nudges to the right behind the scenes, so that when the Advent letter comes out, there will be this mad scurry from certain segments of the right to dig out the tiny morsel of disciplinary language that RW will actually offer, which will be vague, oblique, and confusing enough to afford the progressives in ECUSA all the comfort in the world, while the certain segments on the right will wave and flourish their scrap like a huge banner along the lines of “see—the ABC offers a harsh rebuff by mentioning the word “Windsor” in his letter.”

But hey—I could be wrong and as I have said for the past three years, I would dearly love to be wrong.

November 30, 1:39 pm | [comment link]
9. robroy wrote:

Interesting criticisms by Susan and Bob. One dismisses it because it is old news. The other asks that we collectively place our heads in the sand. Again, I call for clarity and directness. If the ABC doesn’t want to ask my four questions in #1, perhaps Kendall might volunteer to tally the results. Primates of the Anglican Communion, please answer the following:
1) Did the American HoB agree to stop ordaining practicing homosexuals to the office of bishop?
2) Did the American HoB agree to stop offering blessings of SSU’s?
3) Did the American HoB agree to the very specific plan for alternative oversight laid out by the DeS communique?
4) Did the American HoB agree to stop these un-Christian lawsuits?

Please send results to (replace the at with the @ symbol).

November 30, 1:55 pm | [comment link]
10. RoyIII wrote:

The ABC doesn’t want straight answers or straight talk.  That is foreign territory to him.

November 30, 2:09 pm | [comment link]
11. Bill C wrote:

I took a seminar once -in Chicago- which was centered on resolving family disputes.  In it, the speaker said that when communicating feelings (of upset, apology, anger, appeasement, etc) the best way was by verbal, face-to-face discussion.  That was the most immediate, open, honest means of communication where nuanced, muddy statements could be best understood and questioned, and where greatest clarity would be obtained and issues resolved.
The second best was by phone where at least a phone call involved verbal communication but where the conversation could be misunderstood.
The third and worst means of communication was by written communication -and for two reasons: 1) The communication could much more easily lead to misinterpretation and misunderstanding by the reader.  2)  It is one-way communication where the writer can express himself with the knowledge that he is less accountable to the reader and basically leaves to the ready the responsibility to interpret his words as best they can.

This was very clearly seen at the DES meeting where all (or most) of the primates were present.  Communication was immediate,  positions were largely understood and discussed/debated, and the outcome was clear and largely unequivocal.

The JSC meeting was intrinsically flawed in many ways, some very obvious (and heavily discussed), some totally unknown.  The results therefore left little confidence in many of the readers of the report.

++Rowan’s partial communication to the Communion on the primatial responses to the JSC was written, controlled, incomplete and very, very open to interpretation by all sides of the current sides in the likely schism.

An emergency meeting of the primates might have averted all of this.  However, an emergency meeting would very likely have resulted in a result unwanted by ++Rowan, the JSC, the Hob, and ECUSA.

The above just looks at a current issue but
throughout the entire crisis of faith, theology and doctrine, and tradition versus innovation there stands out decades of prevarication and obfuscation, failure of honest communication, of integrity, of hidden manipulated goals which are a disgrace to the Anglican Church and to Christianity and our Lord Jesus.

November 30, 2:39 pm | [comment link]
12. robroy wrote:

RoyIII and Bill C: Amen and amen.

The whole ABC response to response of the primates and ACC to the response of the JSC to the response of the HoB to the DeS communique is so obviously contrived to escaped the obvious conclusion that the Americans flipped off the rest of the Communion.

The orthodox need to cut the ABC no slack. No let up. Keep hammering. “Your Grace must abide by your word and yield to the will of the primates and quit subverting it.”

November 30, 4:30 pm | [comment link]
13. Little Cabbage wrote:

#8 Sarah, thanks, I totally agree with your analysis.  It’ll be more of the same from the ABC, whose obsfucation skills were honed by many years of faculty warfare at the highest levels.

November 30, 4:31 pm | [comment link]
14. Ephraim Radner wrote:

The Primates’ as a whole are probably more split than we realize.  I have heard that there is a majority—among those responding—who have rejected TEC’s Bishops’ response;  but that this majority is quite small.  It does, on the other hand, “represent” the largest provinces of the Communion (e.g. in Africa).  At least two elements arise in this context:  is the issue one only of “majority vote” among the Primates?  What if the majority, in this case, is quite slim?  Second:  is the issue the numerical strength of those provinces each primate represents?  In this case, who exactly weight each vote?  I would suspect—although I do not know—that there is here, for the Archbishop, a religious challenge:  how shall the councils of the church’s leadership and representatives make decisions—by a simple majority or by some other means?  What does it mean for Christian leaders to “make decisions”?  What is a “common mind” in this situation?  In the past, I am told, all decisions by the Primates’ Meeting were made without votes at all, but by a kind of accepted “consensus”.  Obviously, this has been misunderstood by some (not the least, TEC’s leaders!).  But I would guess that a part of the hesitation in the current set of issues is that the Communion, including the Primates’ Meeting, has no real accepted standard for “common-mindedness” and its measurement.  The huffing and puffing about all this might be a little less air-blown were these realities faced. 

The “news” in the article, by the way, is less “old” than some here think (though the title may well be):  after all, it tells us about letters sent out, including to the ACC, that have not been, to my knowledge, in the public domain to this point.  But maybe I’ve not been reading the blogs enough.

November 30, 5:41 pm | [comment link]
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