Why the Communique and Recommendations are really groundbreaking

Well, I’ve had a night to sleep on it and to think a bit more about what’s been said and written in the past 12 or so hours. It strikes me that we are at a really dramatic point in the life of the Communion. Let me explain why:

  1. The Communique and Recommendations (CaR), for the first time in the Communion, establishes the clear principle that disciplinary action may be taken against any Province that supports or practices doctrines contrary to the mind of the Communion
  2. That “mind” of the Communion is defined in the Draft Covenant as the Lambeth Bishops meeting in Council when it says “The Lambeth Conference, under the presidency of the Archbishop of Canterbury, expressing episcopal collegiality worldwide, gathers the bishops for common counsel, consultation and encouragement and serves as an instrument in guarding the faith and unity of the Communion.”
  3. That being so, it is clear that Lambeth 1998 1.10 is “the mind of the Communion”. This has been affirmed in the “Foundations” section of the Recommendations
  4. Given that, the Recommendations imply that discipline is to be expected against any province that permits it’s clergy to ignore Lambeth 1998 1.10 in it’s pastoral life and practice
  5. The wording though of the demands upon TEC are subtle and ingenious. They call for a ban on consenting to consecrate as a Bishop anybody in a same-sex union. The subtlelty is that the union does not necessarily have to be sexually active – the moral ruling of the Primates has not been made in this regard. It is enough that someone is in a same-sex union, regardless of the manner or content of sexual activity within that union.
  6. In making this ruling, the Primates have shown that it is not sexual activity per se that is the indicator of incorrect moral ordering of a priest’s life (for all those nominated to be Bishop are firstly priests). Rather, it is simply the framing of one’s life in a manner that denies the truth of husband and wife as being the correct sexual union (which for example a same-sex union does, because the existence of the union prevents either partner from being married – which is a signifier of Christ and the Church (Eph 5) at the same time) that is the disbar for consent. In other words, somebody in the UK who was in a Civil Partnership would by that very act place themselves in a position where they could not be considered for consecration as a Bishop, regardless of sexual activity.
  7. This then has further implications as to whether those in a Civil Partnership (Civil Union in the US) or homosexual relationship should ever be considered for ordination into the priesthood in the first instance. This should lead to a re-examination of the Church of England’s House of Bishop’s pastoral advice on Civil Partnerships.

As before, these are preliminary thoughts to get the conversation going. What say you?

9 Comments on “Why the Communique and Recommendations are really groundbreaking

  1. The language used leaves far too much wiggle room for TEC to stall and stall and stall. My bet is that they will say nicey-nice things about the communique in public, but continue to teach and do exactly what they wish in most dioceses.

    If the AC is serious about upholding scriptural and traditional sexual morality, why does the communique implicitly allow the ordination of priests and bishops who are flouting it?

    How many faithful will leave TEC in disgust, seeing in this just another in an apparently endless series of “one last chances” for TEC to return to orthodoxy? Why can’t the primates see the clear and simple truth that the leadership of TEC is totally committed to ignoring Scripture and tradition in favor of it’s own version of New Age religion in which God is amorphous, all truth is relative, and TEC’s will is sovereign over all?

    Too much wiggle room, and TEC will indeed wiggle. That’s what worms – and snakes – do.

  2. on Thinking Anglicans site http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/ is a press release from Inclusive Church. It includes: “The heart of the Gospel for us is not about sexuality. The continuing arguments are damaging the Church’s mission and undermining the Gospel. Anglicanism has in its DNA the ability to embrace diversity. For example we recognise diversity over the nature of the Sacraments, in worship, and in the interpretation of scripture.

    Why then are parts of the church so obsessed by the single issue of homosexuality? It is not a defining issue nor can it be the benchmark of orthodoxy.”

    Further on: “For example, the demand for TEC to forswear same sex blessings ignores the reality that across the Church of England such blessings are happening right across the country as parish priests respond to the pastoral needs of their community.”

    What has to be made clear is that this is NOT about sexuality. Also a response to the C of E claim by Giles Goddard, I presume.

  3. As ever, I have a very simple question to post and that is: who’s going to be sacked?

    A global corporation calls all it’s national MD’s together and they focus on the fact that one of the national operations is not doing its job and has bad management in place. The buck stops with the MD of that national operation. Typically, they resign. If not, they go home and swing the axe aggressively. They then get the right kind of people in to turn things around.

    Grace is a wonderful thing and we should show it. But God’s judgement is a fear-ful thing and love compels us to warn people of it. Furthermore, sheep are sheep and goats are goats. No room for mongrels.

    Brize has got it absolutely right. Squirm, squirm, squirm will be all we see and hear now.

    Closer to home, let’s start swinging the axe. Hypocrisy being the no.1 criticism of the Church and Christians in general, it’s time to put our own house in order. In the words of a Mr John Smith, “No nonsense. You’re barred!”

  4. Darlings,

    I think it’s just gorgeous that Archbishop AKinola, Archbishop Orombi, Bishop Minns, Duncan, Jensen, and all the rest have given full approval for ECUSA to carry on with gay blessings, gay marriages, gauy priests, gay priests in civil partnerships, services of blessing for civil partnerships, gay parties in the church, gay weddings, gay baptisms, gay deacons, Gene Robinson staying on, Jeffrey John, Colin Coward all being priests, gay recruiting in the seminaries, gay youth groups, gay sunday schools … and all the rest just so long as there are

    no more gay bishops consented (but they can still be nominated, still elected, still campaign)

    and no more gay rites authorised (still keep going with the existing ones though – just hold your wedding in New Westminster or New Hampshire or ask Jefferts Shori to preside in her old diocese)

    all you have to agree to is this – and AKinola, Orombi, Minns, Duncan, and all the rest are back in communion!

  5. Now that same-sex relationships are said to be sinful for bishops, priests and supposedly prospective ordinands, when does this filter down to members of the congregation as well? There are priests who counsel their gay partnered parishioners that God doesn’t mind at all that they live in these “faithful, loving” relationships. Will the bishops be expected to discipline such priests as well, and the priests have to stop teaching these perversions of Biblical truth? It seems logical to me that this should follow.

  6. Hey, Peter! Are you ‘fasting’ from your posts? Or getting sthg meaty for us to chew on?
    May I suggest “Wake me up when Septemberrr ends” for your next YouTube post?
    What is KJS on about, fasting…
    Anyone got a line on UN MDGs? How can we yoke ourselves to NWO agenda like that? Has ABC read Alice Bailey / Lucis Trust etc?
    Awful justification here from ex ECUSA AB http://www.episcopalchurch.org/3654_64550_ENG_HTM.htm
    ;-)

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