Paul’s analysis is quite helpful, as it provides a flavor of what the FoCA crowd is up to, thereby saving you the painful task of reading the tiresome, repetitive drivel they turn out.
I was struck by this depressing observation:
Therefore there will be no schism in the sense of one organization separating itself out from another on a certain day, followed immediately by either or both bodies setting up new structures and legal identities.One can quibble about what is and is not schism. And one can speculate as to whether a formal break of FoCA from the Anglican Communion wouldn’t be good for all concerned. I suspect that FoCA sees some drawbacks to a clean break from the Communion. It would be easy for a Nigeria or Uganda to abandon the Communion, but what about a Diocese of Sydney? And what about individual parishes? Like the Anglican Church in North America, FoCA is parasitic and is trying to rustle as many sheep as it can wherever they can be found.
Instead there will be a steady continued tearing of the fabric as distinct ecclesial units (parishes, dioceses and provinces as well as individuals) align themselves explicitly with the FoCA. The legalities will depend on the law of each country (property and pensions being governed by secular law) and on the ecclesiastical structure of each Church.
Nonetheless, people have been asking for quite a while whether some churches of the Anglican Communion will actually leave the Communion or whether, for all practical purposes, they already have.
I am inclined to view the Communion as having already split, and believe that it might be time to recognize the new reality. The Anglican Communion is not, in fact, the group of churches in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury (or, for that matter, the Church of England). England has communion agreements with other churches that have never been considered either Anglican or part of the Anglican Communion. But does it, in fact, make sense to have an Anglican Communion in which it is not the case that every church in it is in communion with every other church?
I don’t know that The Episcopal Church has ever declared broken communion with another church. We did not even do so when Southerners broke away from The Episcopal Church during the Civil War. But the situation is different with, say, the Church of the Province of Uganda, which claims no longer to be in communion with The Episcopal Church. Is The Episcopal Church in communion with the Church of the Province of Uganda nonetheless? Of course not. Being in communion is a symmetric relation. A in communion with B implies that B must also be in communion with A. The Episcopal Church cannot impose communion on its Ugandan counterpart. This is like friendship. I cannot legitimately claim I am Joe’s friend if Joe has publicly declared that I am not his friend and has acted accordingly.
The Episcopal Church should acknowledge the obvious: we are not in communion with Anglican Communion churches that have broken off communion with us. Moreover, an Archbishop of Canterbury who was interested in real, rather than faux, unity of the Anglican Communion would make it clear that a church cannot be in the Anglican Communion if it is not in communion with all the sister churches of the fellowship.
Let’s get on with the Anglican divorce, so we can get beyond the bickering with which the Calvinists have tied the Communion in knots in the past decade or so.