Canadian Anglican leader blasts Reasserters

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Anglican Church of Canada is striking back at its orthodox critics.

In a statement to be read out in Anglican churches across the country on Sunday, Primate Fred Hiltz condemns the actions of breakaway members as "inappropriate, unwelcome and invalid" and "deplores" efforts by a South American archbishop to extend his influence into Canada.

"We deplore recent actions on the part of the primate and general synod of the Province of the Southern Cone to extend its jurisdiction into Canada," says the pastoral statement, also signed by four regional archbishops.

Last week, Archbishop Gregory Venables extended an invitation to conservative Canadian Anglicans to switch their allegiance from the Anglican Church of Canada to his 27,000-member church representing Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

The church has been pushed to the brink of schism over the issues of same-sex marriage blessings and gay clergy. Conservative Anglicans in Canada and the U.S. hope to set up a parallel church in North America along theological lines, saying they no longer feel welcome in the liberal national churches.

Read it all and there is a Reuters story here also.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of CanadaSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings

17 Comments
Posted November 30, 2007 at 4:37 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. plainsheretic wrote:

Ive read the various statments and what I read doesn’t fit with Kendall’s unfortunate headline. The Primate doesn’t “blast reasserters.” He says little to condemn reasserter theology. Rather, he “blasts” those who are breaking away and attemptings to take property with them. He also blasts the unwelcomed and univited intervention from a tiny province (22,000) and it’s arch bishop.

November 30, 6:06 pm | [comment link]
2. Jeffersonian wrote:

I’m heartened by Bishop Hiltz’s sudden rediscovery of ancient Christian principles.  Too bad it didn’t come earlier or in a less selective, less self-serving manner.  All of this could have been avoided.

November 30, 6:17 pm | [comment link]
3. RoyIII wrote:

It’s a shame the good cleric is not as zealous about the Word as he is about jurisdiction.

November 30, 7:09 pm | [comment link]
4. Dale Rye wrote:

Re #1: The headline accurately paraphrases the opening paragraph of the story, which is a wildly inaccurate description of what the Primate (and the Archbishops, who are only mentioned at the end of the story) actually said. Terry Buckle, Archbishop of British Columbia and the Yukon, is about as orthodox as anyone could wish, and I hardly think he was “blasting” himself.

I came to this article after reading the Andrew Goddard piece linked above, and was immediately struck by the confirmation of what he had said. The “centrifugal forces currently threatening the unity of the Anglican Communion” have “produced (or perhaps uncovered) further points of tension.” As he suggests, “there are new fracture lines developing,” even within the camp of those who strongly support Lambeth I.10 and the Windsor Report. These additional tensions are making it even more difficult to hold the Communion together.

Another article I read today, by The Rev. Canon Benjamin Twinamaani of Uganda, shows how cultural differences complicate the situation still further. American reasserters are just as American as American reappraisers, and they both share American cultural tendencies. These tendencies, specifically individualism and the expectation of legal and canonical due process, will inevitably bring them into conflict with their comrades abroad, who have very different experiences and expectations.

All in all, not a promising outlook for containing the fracture of the Communion to only a couple of pieces.

November 30, 7:15 pm | [comment link]
5. Observing wrote:

Reading out a statement in all churches is likely to escalate the division. Church members who had no idea there was any conflict will become aware it. Othodox church members will become aware there is a major group of like minded people they can unite with. New attendees and marginal members will be put off by the threats and public conflict. If they let these people go away quietly no one would have really noticed and it would have all blown over in 2 months time. Instead it looks like its heading towards the same irrational strategy as in the US - lots of public bickering and lawsuits and news reports and jostling for the moral high ground.

The latest attendance figures for TEC should have taught them there are going to be more people leaving as ‘casualties of the war’ than they would have lost had they done a quiet settlement agreement.

If the average ASA of a parish is 70-90, it may survive in the long run. If it drops to 50-70, its long term survival is seriously compromised. 52% of TEC parishes lost more than 10% of their attendance in the last 5yrs. Overall, that only looks like 5% of members. But that can mean that half of those parishes can no longer afford full time clergy, or that their churches are so empty it discourages newcomers. It basically means that a huge percentage of the church will not survive. Many parishes in TEC won’t make it. If Canada follows the same route, Anglicanism will die in North America, unless the conservative movement can re-align and grow enough to take the place of the old establishment.

November 30, 7:26 pm | [comment link]
6. palagious wrote:

#5 Excellent point!  The are risking awakening those slumbering in benign ignorance in the pews.  By making a statement in all the churches they are calling undue attention on themselves.  TEC is much more canny than that, there is no way they would address such issues at the parrish-level and risk “informing” people that are much happier to be “uninformed”.

November 30, 7:48 pm | [comment link]
7. Ian+ wrote:

I, for one priest, will not be reading the primate’s letter in my parish. If asked for a copy, i will provide it with a recent good piece by J.I. Packer+ on the flip side.

November 30, 8:07 pm | [comment link]
8. Toral1 wrote:

Canada is an officially bilingual country, so I suggest reading it in its French translation.

November 30, 9:34 pm | [comment link]
9. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “He also blasts the unwelcomed and univited intervention from a tiny province (22,000) and it’s arch bishop.”

Wait—you mean . . . Nigeria?  Uganda?  Kenya?

Oh—right—it’s the Southern Cone.

A good scraped-up reason for insult there.  ; > )

But . . . awfully irrelevant.

November 30, 10:26 pm | [comment link]
10. Robert A. wrote:

Dale: I think you’re absolute right about the poor prospects for containing the fracturing of the Communion.  I wrote three replies to your thoughts on “your” thread about the national churches getting to decide their own directions about SSBs, etc., and then resisted the urge to post them, but the gist was that such “unilateral” actions will inevitably increase border crossings whatever the rights and wrongs of the issues are, and such incursions will not be limited to any one organization.

November 30, 10:44 pm | [comment link]
11. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

The Southern Cone church also has members in the U.S., Britain, Singapore and Malaysia, where conservative Anglicans have abandoned their local leadership to come under the jurisdiction of the British-born Venables…

I didn’t know +Venables had adherents in Britain. Presumably there is a breakaway congregation there? And, we don’t hear the archbishops of Canterbury and York complaining about uninvited intervention. Anyone know any more about this?

November 30, 10:48 pm | [comment link]
12. robroy wrote:

PP: 22,000 today. 220,000 tomorrow. 2,200,000 the next day.

November 30, 11:46 pm | [comment link]
13. justice1 wrote:

I shall obey my bishop and read the letter - but not without reading the response by +Don Harvey found here [http://www.anglicannetwork.ca/network_responds_113007.htm]; and I might even include the letter from ++Gregory found here [http://www.anglicannetwork.ca/letter_venables_112207.htm].

I think the laos (that’s the People of God to those without the Greek) in my parish deserve to hear the truth along with the rhetoric.

And #7, do I know you…under the Green Roof?

December 1, 12:34 am | [comment link]
14. comoxpastor wrote:

Here in the Diocese of BC (Vancouver Island) we’ve been informed by the bishop’s office that

“The Pastoral Letter from the Primate and the Metropolitans has been posted on the national website but I am not issuing it in the Diocese of British Columbia “
so it does not need to be read out at your Sunday service.


Hence, since the bishop’s not forcing the letter, I will not be reading it, although I, too will have it available, together with Bp Don’s response. Last week I had available the letter from ABp Venables, as well as the ANiC statement.
Jim

December 1, 2:26 am | [comment link]
15. Ian+ wrote:

To #13. I’m a priest in the diocese of Fredericton.

December 1, 12:16 pm | [comment link]
16. Dale Rye wrote:

Re #11: I hadn’t noticed that line in my first read-thorough of the article. Can anyone confirm that Southern Cone really has congregations in Singapore and Malaysia, which are among the South East Asia sponsors of the AMiA? If so, I presume the next step would be for South East Asia or Rwanda to start church plants in Bolivia and Argentina. No piranha is safe when the feeding frenzy begins…

December 2, 1:37 am | [comment link]
17. azusa wrote:

# 16 - Yes it’s true, Dale - haven’t you heard that Venables has consecrated a Chinese-Argentine for dissident congregations in Singapore. I believe he’s the Rt Rev Gau Cho.

December 2, 6:18 am | [comment link]
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