Anglicanism’s Global South primates just concluded a meeting in China and issued their usual communiqué. Stop me if you’ve heard this one:
13. We are wholeheartedly committed to the unity of Anglican Communion and recognize the importance of the historic See of Canterbury. Sadly, however, the Anglican Communion’s Instruments of Unity have become dysfunctional and no longer have the ecclesial and moral authority to hold the Communion together. For instance:
13.1. It was regrettable that the Lambeth Conference 2008 was designed not to make any resolutions that would have helped to resolve the crisis facing the Communion.
13.2. The Primates’ Meeting in Dublin in January 2011 was planned without prior consultation with the Primates in regard to the agenda. There was no commitment to follow through the recommendations of previous Primates’ Meetings. The responsibility given by all bishops at the 1988 and 1998 Lambeth Conferences for the Primates’ Meeting to “exercise an enhanced responsibility in offering guidance on doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters” seems to have been completely set aside.
13.3. The Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), the Anglican Communion Standing Committee, and Communion-level commissions such as the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) and the Anglican Communion Liturgical Commission no longer reflect the common mind of the churches of the Communion because many members from the Global South can no longer with good conscience attend these meetings as issues that are aggravating and tearing the fabric of the Communion are being ignored.
14. We have devoted much time to discuss the Anglican Communion Covenant and the Preamble by the Province of South East Asia documenting the historical events leading up to the Covenant and insisting that the Primates should be the proper moral and spiritual authority for the monitoring of the Covenant. The Covenant with the Preamble have been commended to our respective Provinces for further study and decision.
Global South primates? None of us have any doubt in our mind that all of you love God as much as it is possible to love Him. We also know that all of you loyally serve both Him and His only begotten Son in conditions that would terrify many an effete, comfortable western Anglican.
Many of you see more of your brothers and sisters in Christ die for the faith once delivered unto the saints in one year than any of us in the West have seen in our entire lives. So please don’t take these four words the wrong way.
That ship has sailed.
We don’t need another description of the current Anglican situation. Most of us know what the current situation is and have for at least five years or so. And we know that the West has broken the “instruments of unity” beyond repair.
The question is what conservative Anglicans do about it.
You “are wholeheartedly committed to the unity of Anglican Communion and recognize the importance of the historic See of Canterbury,” do you? Good for you.
Rowan Williams is not on your side and never has been. One could make the case that Dr. Williams’ passive-aggressive actions or non-actions since this controversy began indicate a hostility toward your view of the Gospel.
You correctly point out that Rowan Williams gamed the 2008 Lambeth Conference, the single most important meeting in Anglican Christianity, so that the one, overarching Anglican controversy, the thing that was tearing the Anglican world apart, would not only not be solved, it would not even be addressed.
“The responsibility given by all bishops at the 1988 and 1998 Lambeth Conferences for the Primates’ Meeting to ‘exercise an enhanced responsibility in offering guidance on doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters,’ seems to have been completely set aside” at the 2011 Dublin Primates Meeting.
Seems to have been? Correction. Was.
And you know something? Merely “insisting that the Primates should be the proper moral and spiritual authority for the monitoring of the Covenant” and leaving it there isn’t going to get that primatial power back any time soon.
I’m glad that you go on to say that your provinces intend to work toward self-sufficiency. Anything that reduces the pernicious influence of the Americans and Canadians is all to the good.
But all of you desperately need to realize something. The See of Canterbury is part of the problem; Rowan Williams is not your friend, he never has been and he doesn’t respect you or your theology. And if Dr. Williams does quit next year, his successor will probably not be your friend either.
What do you do about it? Fact of the matter is that, having put action off as long as you have, your options are extremely limited. You could bring Bob Duncan and/or Donald Harvey to the next international Anglican gathering, demand that they be admitted and make a very public show of walking out if they are not.
You could elect a shadow Archbishop of Canterbury, if you like, whose theological views are more in line with your own and proclaim your allegiance to him. But the point is to finally do something about the Current Unpleasantness other than talk about it.
Because to paraphrase an old American pop song to which, borrowing a line from Oscar Wilde, you’d have to have a heart of stone to listen to without laughing, “Tin bishops and Schori coming. You’re finally on your own.”