Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Descent into Irrelevance

The documents posted at the close of the recent Primates' Meeting in Dublin tell the story. The takeover of the Instruments of Communion by ECUSA, aided and abetted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, is now complete. Anything of substance was carefully avoided at Lambeth 2008; the proposed Covenant itself was derailed at ACC-14 in Jamaica, and then carefully defanged by the newly reorganized Standing Committee; and now the Primates' Meeting has let itself descend into irrelevance -- with the primates of the churches having most of the Anglican Communion's membership absenting themselves, and refusing to prop up the pretense of normalcy any longer.

Look at how the remaining primates now view themselves and their function. Their statement of purpose could as well have been written by the Presiding Bishop's staff at 815 Second Avenue:
We endeavour to accomplish our work through:
‐ prayer
‐ fellowship
‐ study and reflection
‐ caring for one another as Primates and offering mutual support
‐ taking counsel with one another and with the Archbishop of Canterbury
‐ relationship building at regular meetings
‐ being spiritually aware
‐ being collegial
‐ being consultative
‐ acknowledging diversity and giving space for difference
‐ being open to the prophetic Spirit
‐ exercising authority in a way that emerges from consensus‐building and mutual discernment leading to persuasive wisdom
"Acknowledging diversity and giving space for difference" is tailor-made for ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada. What a difference just four years can make! At the conclusion of the Primates' Meeting at Dar es Salaam in 2007 the primates adopted a statement which said in part:
The response of The Episcopal Church to the requests made at Dromantine has not persuaded this meeting that we are yet in a position to recognise that The Episcopal Church has mended its broken relationships.

. . .
In particular, the Primates request, through the Presiding Bishop, that the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church
1. make an unequivocal common covenant that the bishops will not authorise any Rite of Blessing for same-sex unions in their dioceses or through General Convention (cf TWR, §143, 144); and

2. confirm that the passing of Resolution B033 of the 75th General Convention means that a candidate for episcopal orders living in a same-sex union shall not receive the necessary consent (cf TWR, §134);
unless some new consensus on these matters emerges across the Communion (cf TWR, §134).
There is not a word in any of the statements released from Dublin today about the commitment that ECUSA's House of Bishops was supposed to make, and which bishops such as +Bruno, +Shaw and the Presiding Bishop herself have so deliberately flouted ever since -- along with the General Convention of the whole Church. It is abundantly clear, based on the statements from Dublin, that the Primates who gathered there are not going to follow through with their commitments at Dromantine and Dar es Salaam. So ECUSA has prevailed, and will have its way.

My quotation from the Dublin statement left off the last paragraph, which constituted the icing on the cake. In it, the Dublin primates also committed to "work through . . . the Standing Committee." The Standing Committe received its own statement of purposes, which includes the following:
o Care for the life and spirit of the Primates Meeting
between meetings

o Acts as a consultative council for ABC:
  • Has possibility to speak on behalf of the Primates Meeting
  • Pastoral role
o Sustain and strengthen relationships among all Primates
and connect with other Instruments of the Communion

o Help to shape the Primates Meetings

o Ongoing bridge building role between Primates Meeting
and the regions
So the circle is now complete. The Dublin primates have agreed to work through the Standing Committee, which will "help to shape" their meetings in the future, and build bridges to unspecified "regions" in the meantime. Doubtless the Standing Committee will have its work cut out for it, as they say.

The Anglican Communion Office promises to tell us who was elected to membership on the Standing Committee just as soon as all the non-attending primates have been notified first.

This is one Anglican who will not be holding his breath.


  1. This is what happens when those who want biblical standards stay away - the liberals then do what they want.

  2. Barry -- it was what happened when the traditionalists were around as well! The strongest communication from the Primates Meeting ever was from Dar -- and it was immediately ignored and destroyed by the actions of TEC and RW.

    The good thing is that they did not lend their imprimatur to this meeting nor did they recognize the PB, as they have in the past.

    And the results are essentially the same.


  3. Since the Standing Committee already runs the ACC (that is why ACC-14 was such a cop out), the only instrument left uncontrolled by the Standing Committee is the ABC's office.

    Since ++Rowan is all for what the Standing Committee advocates, the coup has succeeded.

    Barry, it didn't matter that the conservative Primates stayed away. The results would have been the same, anyway.

    Veriword: petie

    An apt description of ECUSA and its minions and sycophants.

  4. Archbishop Venables had this to say, “You go to these meetings and there is a kind of gagging gas in the atmosphere. It is almost like trench warfare. The gagging gas comes down, and it is as if people are unable to speak.” His warfare analogy only partially cloaks what is the main reason for non attendance. It is judicious to engage in spiritual warfare out of the trenches. I agree with your assessment and have my own posted on "Soundings".

  5. "So the circle is now complete."

    Yes, those joining hands in Dublin are of one mind. The end result will be an accelerated fall as they sing and dance.

    A pocket full of posies;
    Hush! hush! hush! hush!
    We’re all tumbled down.

  6. Barry,
    "This is what happens when those who want biblical standards stay away - the liberals then do what they want." Don't forget that the Holy Spirit will delay action (Jesus and Lazarus) or forbid it. . "When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas." (Acts 16:7-8).

  7. Anglican Primates: confused cliques, some whose gospel has as much meaning as a discussion about the price of bananas, others taking care to prepare and lead their people in reaching out to dying souls with the love of Jesus.

  8. You should know by now, Anglican Curmudgeon, not to believe everything you read. Julia

  9. Julia, this post is based on what I didn't read, not on what I read.

  10. Dale said:
    Don't forget that the Holy Spirit will delay action (Jesus and Lazarus) or forbid it. . "When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas." (Acts 16:7-8).

    That assumes that TEC&Co are interested in (or by now, capable of) hearing the Holy Spirit.

    It seems from their past actions of ignoring the Dar (and other) "agreements," that their focus is on their own desires, whatever the results might be.

    Different parts of the Anglican Communion from around the world pleaded w/ TEC not to consecrate Gene Robinson as bishop, and TEC's response was that the Spirit speaks in different ways to different nations, suggesting that US is a more advanced and sophisticated society and "ready" for this next step, and Robinson was consecrated.

    They haven't been turned aside by the Holy Spirit yet, but not becs the Spirit hasn't tried. We have a gracious God who doesn't force us to do things His way.

  11. Sally,
    My comment was an explanation for why the absenting primates stayed away not a message for TEC. People like the friends of Lazarus wanted Jesus (and the primates) to go. Sometimes the Spirit will not allow it. TEC leadership can only hear the spirit of this age and no longer listens to the Holy Spirit.