Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Ave Imperator, Te Morituri Salutamus

This page contains links to all the posts I have put up about the current sad state of the so-called Anglican Communion. "So-called"? Yes: it is certainly no longer a "Communion", because it has very little in common, and most of its members are not talking to the rest. And it can no longer be called "Anglican", because while that term may once have taken its meaning from the doctrines and worship of the Church of England, that body's ever-dwindling membership, too, is no longer of one mind on just what its doctrines and worship should be.

The page of Anglican posts will soon contain a link to this one -- and that may be its last.

After all, I feel a bit like the Cheshire Cat -- as the meaning of "Anglican" fades away, so does any role for an "Anglican Curmudgeon." Having left the Episcopal Church (USA) on account of its adoption of blasphemous marriage rites, I no longer even have a formal tie to the wider Communion -- not that the tie was all that firm, anyway, once V. Gene Robinson received a miter and ring in 2003. Those of us who remained in ECUSA after that date, as well as any who are bravely trying to stick it out still, may fairly be described as clinging to the faintest wisps of the beauty that once was there.

There is talk of a reckoning that will be demanded at the forthcoming gathering of the Anglican Primates in Canterbury next January (n.b.: not a "Primates Meeting" as such, or one of the former, now-failed Instruments of Unity, but just a gathering that has no structure in advance). The Primates of GAFCON and the Global South will be there, along with -- at the former's insistence -- the Primate of the Anglican Church in North America. This alone should serve to distinguish what will take place from what has gone before.

But what are the possible outcomes of such a gathering? Let's be logical, and list all the possibilities (within reason):

1. In response to a passionate appeal from their orthodox brethren, the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada repent of their waywardness, resubscribe to the tenets of Resolution 1.10 from the 1998 Lambeth Conference, and humbly apologize to their peers. Can we all agree that this possibility will never happen? -- and not just because ECUSA can act only through its General Convention, which will not be in session again until the summer of 2018. It will never happen while the current crowd of liberal revisionists are in charge of the great majority of Dioceses, and they are prepared to run through all of ECUSA's trust funds before they will be forced to make any meaningful changes. (And before that happens, their proclivity for blasphemy will pollute the Book of Common Prayer.)

2. In response to a passionate appeal from their orthodox brethren, the Episcopal Church (USA) and the ACoC speak the truth to the assembled Primates: they are not about to change, and will continue on what they maintain is their "inclusive" course. This is almost certain to take place at the meeting. The question then becomes: what will the other Primates do in response?

a. Nothing, except take another sip of tea and keep talking. Knowing what we know of the Most Rev. Eliud Wabukala, this will never happen. He and the other GAFCON Primates will demand that the Archbishop of Canterbury discipline the renegades by "disinviting them" from all future Communion-wide functions and events. (He can do this with regard to the Lambeth Conference and the Primates Meeting, both of which convene at his invitation. But he has no ability to control who comes to the meetings of the Anglican Consultative Council, which controls its own list of who are its constituent members.)

b. In response to the GAFCON Primates demand (see 2.a above), Archbishop Welby agrees that he will no longer invite either ECUSA or the ACoC representatives to either the Primates Meetings or the Lambeth Conference. The gathering will then break up; the representatives of ECUSA and the ACoC will leave, along with their supporters from ten or so other provinces. (The Archbishop of Canterbury cannot legally operate the formal mechanisms of the British charitable corporation called "the Anglican Consultative Council" -- with its corresponding role in the Anglican Communion -- without them, however, and so he will most likely stay in a formal relation with them through that body.) The rest may remain to discuss future agendas -- or they may go home, too, and postpone further action to another day.

c. In response to the GAFCON Primates demand (see 2.a above), Archbishop Welby refuses so to discipline the renegade provinces. The gathering will then definitely split up, and the majority of the provinces present will depart for home. Those remaining (the twelve or so provinces described in 2.b. above) will continue to meet, and may meet as often as they wish in the future, but without the majority of provinces ever again attending. The minority will claim control of the organs of the Anglican Communion, and so will keep that name. The majority will organize under a new structure, with a modified name. Whether they will maintain any kind of relationship with the see of Canterbury is extremely doubtful, in my opinion -- what would be the point, once he made it clear that he would not do what they asked?

d. In response to the GAFCON Primates demand (see 2.a above), Archbishop Welby waffles, in a bid for more time and to keep all the parties talking. This is ++Welby's most likely response to GAFCON's demand, in my opinion. His goal will be to work out the terms for a "two-tiered" Communion, with the one tier consisting of those not in communion with ECUSA or the ACoC, and other tier consisting of the remaining provinces. Even if he were to succeed in this goal, and keep all the Primates around long enough to achieve it, notice how similar the outcome would be to that sketched out in Scenario 2.c above: the only difference would be that the first tier would stay in some kind of "communion" with the see of Canterbury. And if Canterbury decides to stay in communion with ECUSA and ACoC, then the outcome will be like that sketched in 2.b. above.
Indeed -- notice how similar the final outcomes of all of the last three scenarios are. The UK charity that represents the "Anglican Communion" as such will remain in place, because it is a perpetual corporation, and it is under the more-or-less permanent control of the minority revisionist provinces. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the legal head of that charity, and so will remain in formal relation with it, no matter what the majority of Anglican provinces decide to do. And since that majority will decline to play any part in an organization in which the revisionist minority are also members, they will also have to organize as a new entity, regardless of what the revisionists do (short of repenting, which will never happen).

I conclude from this analysis that the Anglican Communion is almost certainly headed for a formally divided future -- one that reflects in fact the pro forma division which has been in existence ever since the Windsor Report and Dar-es-Salaam. Whether or not it remains a single but two-tiered entity, or becomes two entirely separate organizations (the old one, controlled by the minority, and a new one formed by the majority), will be up to the GAFCON / Global South Primates and how much they value an ongoing relationship with Canterbury. And that outcome will probably be determined by how well Archbishop Welby manages the first few hours of the meeting next January.

Either way, it looks like it is curtains for your Curmudgeon. Just as I am done with ECUSA, I will not have anything to do with an ongoing Anglican entity which allows ECUSA -- in all its blasphemous ugliness -- to be a member. And as I mentioned, if the minority retains the legal right to the control of the British charitable corporation, the new organization will probably not even call itself "Anglican."  I may not even bother to cover the demise, if it follows the most likely path sketched above. But stay tuned for a while longer, because the whole scenario is in God's good hands.


  1. The way the CofE is going, "Anglican" is going to be a dirty word what no one will want attached to their church's name.

  2. I salute you, Mr. Haley. I've not seen a better nor more astute account of the time encapsulated events of this blasphemous train wreck. You've given wonderfully enhanced observations that allows the general public to grasp hold of each unfolding wrinkle. We are forever indebted to your wisdom (God inspired as it is), for it has kept us anchored in these turbulent times. With your ominous words of strength, I fear a time where they are not present, for unarmed many will go. Yet, I give thanks to our Father, and we all salute you. Thank you for your endeavor of love. "Well done, good and faithful servant", are words I feel are in your future.

  3. Mr. Haley, your legal analyses over the last years have been invaluable to us in the greater Anglican communion (in my own case, Chile), helping us both to understand what is happening in the North American and British Anglican world, and to pray for orthodox Anglican worshippers, churches, and dioceses, who are struggling to maintain a faithful Christian witness in the face of liberal revisionism. While I understand your work must frequently be unpleasant, it is surely a very important ministry whose need will continue into the future? I, personally, have often been blessed and edified by your blog, and I hope you do not decide to end it.

  4. What happened to this article's mirror at Stand Firm?

    1. Some fluke with their server -- they're looking into it.

    2. Maybe hacked by some people from the "12" provinces? :-)

  5. Thank you for your astute analysis. As usual, this blog posts takes an in depth look at the various options facing millions of Anglicans while relying on a solid foundation of historic Christian thought. As Topper said, above, I hope you do not decide to end your blog. It is the most balanced and carefully thought out blog around. Thank you for hours upon hours of hard work to get all the facts about the legal law suits, the efforts to distort legal frameworks in the courts and the twists and turns in the areas where Anglicans have stood up for the Gospel.

  6. Perhaps many clergy look at things such as attendance in connection with the announced January Canterbury meeting through a different lens because they are clergy. However, I'm not ordained but am mystified why, before the January event would take place, appropriate conservative bishops in the Anglican Communion would not simply clearly inform Canterbury that their attendance at such meeting would, (as Mr. Haley's post successfully (and thankfully) clarifies), obviously achieve a negative result for many unless a specific principle is made clear to all invitees by Canterbury in advance of the meeting. That principle, consistent with Biblical truth and even the basic principle of the U.S. Constitution, is that the Communion is not based on the acts and virtues of personages but on principles, and following that truth, in the absence of action by certain provinces along the lines in item 1. of Mr. Haley's post, Canterbury would, as it must to follow those principles, take appropriate action along the lines of item 2.a. of Mr. Haley's post. I recall wise teaching in Proverbs about not stepping into troubling situations, and I believe that applies to the prospective attendance of conservative bishops at the subject meeting.

  7. The Anglican realignment which began with the ACNA and Global South continues to unfold. The actions we take now may result in the emergence of a revitalized Anglican Fellowship worldwide. My book, Anglican Manifesto, is devoted to the fulfillment of this process.

    I invite you to visit anglicanmanifesto.com. Read the reviews posted by Martin Davie, from Wycliffe House, Oxford; Bishop Keith Ackerman, Forward in Faith; and Justyn Terry, Dean of Trinity School for Ministry.

    Survey the site, read the book, and add your own comments and thoughts on the comment page.

    May God bless you and your parish, as we stand for the "faith once delivered to the saints." Amen.

    Fr. Jack Estes. Rector
    St. Luke’s Anglican Church
    Bakersfield, CA
    Diocese of San Joaquin, ACNA

  8. When Christians rejoice in tearing each other part ( on both sides of this dispute) there is something wrong. As the Chief Justice remarked in the SC Supreme Court about both sides of dispute that is currently before the court " these actions are not loving." Bearing one another's burdens" - which we were called to do by our loving Saviour - seems very far away from all this. I think Jonathan Swift - sometime Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral Dublin - summed it up well with these words:
    "People have just enough religion to hate each other but not enough to love each other." Shouldn't we all start to try to love each other gather than rejoice in what will be a shattered finality of failure.

  9. When the heresy charges against Bishop Righter in 1996, I knew I had to find a new home. It took me 6 years to do it, but in 2002 I was chrismated into the Orthodox Church when I realized had finally found my way home. I invite you to investigate and see if it would be the right place for you as well.

  10. In my endorsement of our Vicar's succinct and correct analysis my voice in lent. In response to liquaeruta, writing on 3 November 2015, might we observe:
    The mote may well be in our eye for cleaving too much to tradition and the comfort of repetition, tradition, sameness, constancy, and the fighting of the Devil as a Lighthouse might fight the Storm.
    The beam, however is certainly in the eye of those who worship the ills and defects that afflict men's souls, and who demand that we also must endorse what has been taught to be degeneracy and the destruction of the temples of the Lord that our bodies and souls represent. They brought the fight to us. We sing "God rest ye merry, Gentlemen", and we are condemned for being sexist. We urge that the folks should "turn from their wicked ways and live", and we are told that we are not being inclusive, when the very urging, demand, request itself is a plea that the wayward return to the path of righteousness and unite with the rest of us.
    At each juncture, we were told that we had to make the Church more open and inclusive in order to "grow the Church". With each improvement the pews became, almost always, more vacant.

    Kudos to Finch and the majority of our contributors who are kind enough to tolerate my lamentations. We share the obvious burden being borne by our Rabbi, who once again in a thorough and meticulous way, with profound reasoning and obvious heaviness in his heart, has defined the probable future of the "Anglican Communion".

    El Gringo Viejo