Friday, July 20, 2007

Global South Primates Speak Out

While there is really nothing new in their statement, it is worthy of note that the Global South Primates have issued a statement justifying their recent activities in the United States. The statement is worth reading in full, but I want to highlight these paragraphs in the statement:

6. Because of the categorical rejection of the unanimously agreed Pastoral Scheme and the urgent needs of the growing number of congregations now linked to various Provinces in the Global South, we have had no choice but to provide additional episcopal oversight from the concerned Provinces. We believe that failure to do so would have resulted in many individuals and congregations lost to the Anglican Communion. The rejection of the proposed Pastoral Scheme has also had a profound impact on those dioceses that had requested alternative primatial oversight. We recognize that this is a temporary measure and look forward to the time when it is either no longer necessary or they are all part of a new ecclesiastical structure in the USA.

7. We are aware of the anticipated visit by the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the ACC to the September meeting of the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church USA. Sadly we are convinced that this decision, made jointly by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Chair of the ACC, undermines the integrity of the Dar es Salaam Communiqué. We believe that the Primates Meeting, which initiated the request to the TEC House of Bishops, must make any determination as to the adequacy of their response. We strongly urge the scheduling of a Primates’ Meeting for this purpose at the earliest possible moment.

8. We have also noted the decisions of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada and are dismayed by their unilateral declaration that ‘same-sex blessing is not core doctrine’. While we were grateful for the temporary restraint shown in not proceeding with any further authorization, we have observed that a number of the bishops are continuing to defy the recommendations of the Windsor process. We are exploring the possibility of additional pastoral provisions for those who want to remain faithful to Communion teaching and have been affected by the continuing actions of their own bishops.


There are several quite interesting aspects of this statement. The Primates appear to be ignoring the September 30, 2007 deadline of the Communique, but are instead moving forward with interventions in the United States. At the Bishops meeting in September, after all, there may very well be a response that includes an alternative to the "Pastoral Scheme" in the Communique.

And I mean this as a real question, and not a rhetorical one: what is the urgency on this issue? As far as I know, the dissenting dioceses within the Episcopal Church are being tormented by the Presiding Bishop. Bishop Duncan, for example, seems to being doing quite well. Why not wait for the final response of the House of Bishops?

It seems to me that a hint at the answer is in the statement itself, where it states "We are aware that they are exploring various ways in which they can maintain their Anglican identity apart from The Episcopal Church. We are encouraged by this and also that they are working together within the Common Cause Partnership to avoid unnecessary fragmentation." this telegraphs to me that the desired goal is a separate Anglican entity in the United States, and not merely some accommodation to dissenters.

Finally, it is interesting that the Canadian General Synod is discussed. The Episcopal Church will not be alone--expect new African Bishops in a Canadian diocese near you.

Read the entire statement at Titus One Ten.

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