June 17, 2010

Advice from Maggie Ross

Pillars of FlameThose of us in Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh have been saying since 2003 that the Anglican church wars are all about power. As the years have gone by, this has become an easier and easier proposition to support. Certainly, the push for an Anglican covenant is all about power—about who gets to define what “Anglicanism” is and about who gets to enforce that understanding. Many proponents of a covenant are unabashedly in favor of there being a worldwide Anglican Church, directed by the primates. This is a bad idea for so many reasons, not the least of which is the very intractability of governing such a far-flung empire by any scheme that looks at all democratic—not a problem for some, of course.

Anyway, I’m presently reading Maggie Ross’s Pillars of Flame and could not help reproducing this little passage from her oddly named introduction (“Abecedary”):
However, it will also become clear that official ecumenism should stop at intercommunion and recognition of one another’s clergy. Organic unity in polity among the larger churches especially is unwise because of what seems to be an ineluctable human tendency toward uniformity, reductionism, and tyranny.
Now, what might that advice be relevant to?

No Anglican Covenant

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  1. Lionel, it is interesting that recognition of each other's clergyis listed as a key item for relationship between churches.
    This is what makes our Anglican differences so difficult to resolve. By consecrating +NH and a suffragan on LA, TEC is saying you must recognise our bishops, particularly at Lambeth. TEC seems to want to unilaterally determine the issue of gay bishops for the whole communion.
    John Sandeman

  2. John,

    Recognition is not endorsement. It is easier for clergy of a sister Communion church to function in an Episcopal Church parish, but there is no right to do so.

    Why is Lambeth a problem? Can Anglican Communion bishops only talk to other bishops they agree with?

    I can assure there are lots of bishops in the Communion who have few friends in The Episcopal Church. Our bishops don’t ask them to resign, however, as Gene Robinson has been asked.

  3. Sometimes inviting people to a meeting implies recognition of their status or achievemnets. In a the case of ELCA, I imagine that TEC and ELCA bishops have been meeting and talking for some time. But only after changes to ELCA's processes has TEC recognised ELCA Bishops as bishops in the apostolic succession and able to effectively take part as bishops in Anglican consecrations. (have I got that right?) It is always possible to meet - but some meetings do imply acceptance of orders.


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