2/08/2007

The Camel’s Nose and the Primate’s Tent.

The camel's nose is a familiar metaphor, involving small acts and large undesirable acts or circumstances. The most bazaar case of a camel's nose and intended or unintended consequences was the cartoon character, Joe Camel. The cartoon character was both an ad for Camel cigarettes and a reasonably goofy cool sort of character that children liked. It was contended that the camel's nose, in that case Joe's, carried the message to children that smoking was cool. It turned out the camel was understood to be bad for our health. In the end it Joe got whacked on the nose and Joe was out of there.

We are now dealing with another camel's nose and another tent.

Several years ago a memo came to light which has come to be called the Duncan Memo. Item 18 in that memo states, "Insist on an invitation to the Moderator whenever the ECUSA PB is invited."

Later in the memo there are listed items under the heading "We, as bishops in North America…" pledges labled 'a' to 'g.' Items e, f, and g read as follows: "e. We will no longer be at the Table with those who consecrated Gene Robinson. f. we commit to the guerrilla warfare of the next year, g. We will produce a catalog of the present intimidations against those orthodox Episcopalians."

All of this information and more is available in the two part series, "Follow the Money," written by Jim Naughton. The notes came to light in the context of the suit brought against the Diocese of Pittsburgh by two parishes.

The Anglican Communion Network is nothing if not dogged. It keeps on working at a way to get its nose in under the edge of the tent. It keeps up the pressure on shunning the consecrators of Bishop Robinson, it has first this organization and then that one fire on its behalf, it works hard at cataloging all the miseries faced by orthodox Episcopalians.

Consider the camel's nose:

In the past two weeks the Moderator has gotten an invite to be at the Primates Meeting – only at a special session, mind you, but in the tent. The Duncan Memo and later the affirmation in the November 2006 meeting between Global South Steering Committee members and Anglican realignment groups in the US make it clear that an objective of the near future is to have the Moderator present in Anglican Communion meetings whenever the Presiding Bishop is present. Having his nose in the tent isn't enough, but it is a starter.

The Fulcrum Newsletter, February 2007, has included an article, "To Cleave or To Cleave? The Primates' Meeting in Tanzania" by Graham Kings, in which he resurrects the Anglican Communion Institute's idea of "A College of Windsor Bishops" . This college of Windsor Bishops is in effect the continuation of the ANC's strategy of working towards a replacement Province in the US by first developing an interim device that would be a Province in waiting. Kings' article is well done and it is only at the end that one gets to the agenda:

Kings writes, "I believe that a key part of the way forward is the concept, outlined in the Archbishop of Canterbury's statement in June 2006, of 'constituent' members of the Anglican Communion (those who choose to adopt the covenant) and 'associate' status (for those who do not). However, to prevent more of the current haemorrhaging, there may well need to be some sort of creative interim measure in the USA, as has been suggested by some in stream three outlined above, such as a 'College of Windsor Bishops' to oversee 'Windsor compliant' parishes and dioceses in The Episcopal Church."

There it is: the interim measure prior to replacement.

Now a non-starter group, Lay Episcopalians for the Anglican Communion, has published an "Interim Compact of Anglican Loyalty," written in such fawning language as to be an embarrassment. The problem is that they have sent this out to parish clergy all over the church in the hopes of turning this piece of garbage into a full fledged petition to the Primates. In it they plea that the

"Subscribers to this Compact pray for decisive action within the general meeting of the Primates at Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania, on or about February 13-15, 2007, both to disavow TEC and to support the faithful through Common Cause Partners or a similar venture. The Subscribers believe continuing delay in the American corporate Anglican community will permit further parochial and diocesan deterioration, and precipitate further "balkanizing" of the American corporate Church. We believe irreparable harm will be done to the prospects of restoration and renewal of a unified, robust orthodox Anglican presence if action is delayed until the scheduled decennial Anglican bishops' conference in 2008, or beyond. The Subscribers further believe that a new remedial program limited to Alternative (Alternate) Primatial Oversight would be counterproductive, delaying effective relief."

So.. no APO, go for the gusto. Go for the Common Cause Partners (a subgroup founded by ANC ). Drop the Episcopal Church, and way the Primate, and go for a representative of the Common Cause Partners, who strangely enough is already in Dar Es Salaam with his nose in the tent.

If Lay Episcopalians for the Anglican Communion's first plea is not met, this is what they then propose:

"In the event that the Primates, at their meeting at Dar-Es-Salaam should not find it possible to embrace a sufficient remedy for the American problems or to recommend such remedy be implemented in conjunction with Common Cause Partners or by other satisfactory means, then the Subscribers to this Compact would undertake other actions in fellowship to effectuate the interim objective of making progress toward full communion between the Primates, the Anglican Communion and the orthodox anglicans of North America. Subscribers to the Compact, having no safe harbor of their own resources, as Christians faithful to the Anglican Communion in the Body of Christ, and being variously divided into separate groups or owing allegiance to disparate foreign Primates through both formal and informal oversight relationships, graciously provided by the Primates for emergency help, have determined that:

"THEY WILL SEEK TO CREATE, with Common Cause Partners or with a similar force for Anglican unity and orthodoxy, a temporary Anglican Federation in the United States of America, composed of faithful Anglican jurisdictions, dioceses, parishes and individuals who subscribe to this Compact. The Federation that we envision will comprise a covenanted union of its constituent members dedicated to the higher purpose of reuniting in Christ. The federating action shall be taken, hopefully with the advice and consent of Common Cause Partners and the orthodox Primates, if the Primates' efforts at Dar-Es-Salaam do not result in a sufficient remedy. The prospective Federation, with appropriate clerical and lay participation and accountability, would intend to have a structure and operation that prepares it for admission to the Anglican Communion as a regularized and exclusive province after the Primates and The Anglican Communion shall have restructured the ecclesial landscape to accommodate this new "province-in-waiting" for Anglicans in the United States."

Lay Episcopalians, an organization that can't seem to get it together to have a meeting, and that seems to exist without much body to it, is making a proposal well beyond its abilities. This is a front for the "guerrilla action" promised in the Duncan Memo. The most important piece in this strange "Interim Compact" is the phrase at the end. It is the give away: The notion of a "temporary Anglican Federation in the United States of America" would seek admission to the Anglican Communion as "a regularized and exclusive province." It would be the "province-in-waiting."

Here it is again: no hedging here. The object of the exercise is to get the nose in the tent, and then the whole body, and squeeze the Episcopal Church out.

And, just so the consistency is really clear: the cleanliness is next to Godliness crowd who won't sit with consecrators of Gene Robinson have extended their promise. They will not sit at Table with the Primate of the Episcopal Church. This table thing has taken an odd turn. First it is refusal to sit with the unclean at the table of the Lord, i.e. at Eucharist. Now it is threatened as a refusal to sit with sinners at the Table of the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury. The first refusal seems odd, given Our Lord's willingness to eat that last meal with a whole gang of people who he knew perfectly well would abandon him. The second refusal seems perverse, since the invitation is in no way dependent on the relative sanitized character of those invited.

Over at Stand Firm there was an odd note: Greg Griffith just wrote an essay in which he remarks, "The truth is that most on the left have no clue how close Schori came to not being invited. Perhaps one day that evidence can be made public, but for now, suffice it to say that they should be wiping sweat from their brows that she's there at all." Well, I am glad that Greg is in the know. I will confess that I know little except the Archbishop of Canterbury's statement saying that he "decided not to withhold an invitation to Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as the elected Primate of the Episcopal Church to attend the forthcoming meeting." That was quite enough. The objection to his wording has been out there for some time. No special knowledge is required to understand the language of ungracious invitation.

This is all part and parcel of the regular, plodding, exacting effort to bring down the Episcopal Church. Everything is going according to plan, but only so far as those in authority look away, are distracted, are too timid to act, or tragically willing to let it all go.

So here it plays out: the camel Moderator gets the nose in the tent. The plea, seemingly rational and polite, comes from the Anglican Communion Institute and the Lay Episcopalians for the Anglican Communion, to let the camel just a bit further in, in a temporary way. The friends of the Camel, in purity rarely seen in Anglican gatherings, voice increasing discomfort with sitting with the sinners and suggest the Camel is no sinner and a lot better representative of 'real' Anglicans in the US. They invite the Camel further in, and push the Primate of the Episcopal Church out of the tent entirely.

Plans are afoot, some Primates and other Bishops and their advisors are meeting in Kenya, the Lion of Nigeria is growling, the focus is turning to old plans of the Network coming to fruition. The Camel's nose is sniffing at the edge of the tent. If the Archbishop of Canterbury does not whack the Camel now he may discover that he has lost all power and control of things and shortly after the Episcopal Church is squeezed out, he will be too.

These will not be easy weeks. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Perhaps there will even be the growl of the Camel soundly whacked. We can hope.

15 comments:

  1. christopher+8/2/07 6:03 PM

    "If the Archbishop of Canterbury does not whack the Camel now he may discover that he has lost all power and control of things and shortly after the Episcopal Church is squeezed out, he will be too."

    Well, your word in ++Rowan's ear, of course.

    But there is another, rather practical matter in all this. The worst a two-thirds majority of the gathered Primates could do in terms of realigment is perhaps pre-approve changes in the membership of the Anglican Communion that would then have to be proposed and approved by the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC). According to the ACC's Constitution:

    "The Council shall be constituted with a membership according to the schedule hereto. With the assent of two-thirds of the Primates of the Anglican Communion, the council may alter or add to the schedule."

    Doing such a thing would be bad enough, but it is not at all clear that the ACC, being much more representative of the laity and clergy of the Anglican Communion than the Primates Meeting, would go along. The Primates can say and vote on many things, but they cannot - on their own - fundamentally alter the Anglican Communion in any way that has teeth, which is, of course, as it should be. This is a meeting for fellowship - and for more of that "listening" everyone has been doing so very well.

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  2. Add to this that the Moderator this week informed his Diocesan Council that he expects to return from Tanzania with the promise that a separate U.S. Anglican Province will be established and that upon his return he will inform the Non-Network Parishes that they must LEAVE the Diocese of Pittsburgh!!!!

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  3. Of course they should be wiping their brows that she was elected, for however would they be able to spew such venom at TEC if not so? Perhaps someday the vote will be made public and it will be known how ++KJS was made martyr...

    However, from a second grade teacher, the camel is adapted to close his nostrils voluntarily. He/she does not need to stick his/her head under a tent flap to know what is fair and what is foul.

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  4. What bovinesue writes is inaccurate. Duncan did not say that a separate US Province will be established nor did he say that the non-Network parishes "must leave" the Diocese. He did say, however, that parishes who wish to remain in Province III while still in the Diocese, will have to make a choice if, as he prays will happen, Alternative Primatial Oversight is granted.

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  5. Peter Frank9/2/07 9:52 AM

    In response to bovinesue:

    I'm Peter Frank, Bishop Duncan's Communication's director. What Sue is saying here is grossly inaccurate (Sue wasn't even at the meeting). Bishop Duncan commented that it was very unusual that he had been invited along with Schori to deliberations in Tanzania. This meant that there was a recognition that significant division existed in the American Church. He made it clear that it was up to the Primates to decide whether or not there would be another province. He also did not say that non-network parishes must leave the diocese. He said that parishes committed to stay in Province III must understand that they were choosing to leave the diocese, because the diocese is not a member of Province III.

    These are difficult times for everyone without gross misinformation like this being passed around.

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  6. Regarding Sue(bovinesue)'s comment and the followup by Daniel and Peter:

    The exchange seems to have brought some clarity, even with the difference of report. All seem to agree that Bishop Duncan's position is that because the Diocese is no longer part of Province III parishes who wish to remain parto of Province III will no longer be part of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

    I agree with Peter that these are difficult times for everybody.

    It does seem to me that Sue is, in the main, saying the same thing regarding non-Network, or "province III" parishes not being part of the diocese. Whether or not it is a matter of their choice (staying as part of Province III) or part of the Bishop's discernment (you have chosen to leave the diocese) is unclear.

    What puzzles me is the notion that parishes could choose or not to belong to a Province. A Province (on a domestic level) is made up of dioceses, not parishes. So, if a diocese distanced itself from the Province that is the dioces's business. I strongly disagree with the reading of the canons that suggest a Diocese can, on its own, simply disengage with a Province. It can request reassignment, but somehow that gets settled by General Convention. When Puerto Rico came back into the Episcopal Church it was assigned to particular province. It all made sense of course (Province IX), but one supposes they could have asked to be part of another province.

    The whole business of domestic Provinces is a bit odd. Dioceses in the Episcopal Church belong to the Episcopal Church. It is the church as a whole that for a variety of reasons institutes the domestic province system, but a diocese is first a part of the church as a whole.

    Then again, who knowns.

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  7. I believe that it was Andrew Brown on Helminblog who suggested that when ++Rowan dumped his former best friend Jeffrey John into the vat of shit, he did not realize how much he had spattered on himself.

    I do not know what the ABC will do, but based on his track record, I am pretty sure it will be wrong.

    The sad thing is that I am past caring.

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  8. Peter Frank9/2/07 12:24 PM

    Mark,

    FWIW, I do think you have accurately identified and described part of the disagreement we are having.

    Our self-understanding here in Pittsburgh is that we have indeed withdrawn from Province III. With you, it appears, we see no way for an individual church in the diocese to be part of the province if the diocese as a whole has withdrawn (though, of course, we have a major disagreement about whether or not that can actually happen).

    Thus from our perspective, if one of our parishes is absolutely intent on maintaining the connection with Province III, the only way we can see for them to do that is to join another diocese that is in the Province.

    The ironic thing is that the organization that Sue is a member of, Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh, has categorically denied that the diocese can withdraw from the internal provincial system. They say in their 2006 Diocesan Convention briefing papers "A diocese simply does not have the power to remove itself from a province."

    Link:

    http://progressiveepiscopalians.org/html/AC06-R01-01.htm

    If they are right about that, I don’t understand why they are concerned about their membership in Province III. From their point of view, we are all members, whether we like it or not, and no-one should need to do anything to maintain membership.

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  9. Canon Mark and All,

    I apologize for initially reacting, rather than reporting what I was given to understand had happened with +Duncan and Diocesan Council. I do try to attend those meetings and would have been there if at all possible. I have since posted a correction after speaking to a person who WAS there and took notes.
    It seems to me that the person who can speak to whether the Diocese of Pittsburgh has actually withdrawn from Province III is the President of Provine III, Bishop Robert Ihloff. I wrote to him and he informed me that whatever happens, those who wish to be in Province III will remain in Province III. He suggested that such parishes send representatives to the Province meetings, etc.
    What all this boils down to is the very sad situation of ever-growing distrust between "Christians" within the Diocese of Pittsburgh which has been going on now for at least ten years. I say "Christians" because we who consider ourselves faithful to the Episcopal Church, its Constitution and Canons, have been told, in no uncertain terms, by our Bishop and his Associates, that we are "Counterfeit Christians". That, I believe, was the most unkindly cut that could ever have been made. It has hurt many of us to the core, believe me. I cannot believe that any of us would EVER say such a thing about Bishop Duncan or his allies. Yet,I continue to pray for him, and he knows that. It's what Christians are supposed to be doing.
    Bovinesue

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  10. Bovine Sue writes:
    "I say "Christians" because we who consider ourselves faithful to the Episcopal Church, its Constitution and Canons, have been told, in no uncertain terms, by our Bishop and his Associates, that we are "Counterfeit Christians". That, I believe, was the most unkindly cut that could ever have been made. It has hurt many of us to the core, believe me. I cannot believe that any of us would EVER say such a thing about Bishop Duncan or his allies. Yet,I continue to pray for him, and he knows that. It's what Christians are supposed to be doing."

    I would love to hear what Peter Frank and others who know Bp Duncan have to say about his stating that those who disagree with him are Counterfeit Christians. I find it awful to think that a man ordained as a bishop in this church could behave in such a manner. Does Bp Duncan really believe this?
    Mr. Frank, any comments?

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  11. Christopher+ wrote:

    But there is another, rather practical matter in all this. The worst a two-thirds majority of the gathered Primates could do in terms of realigment is perhaps pre-approve changes in the membership of the Anglican Communion that would then have to be proposed and approved by the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC). According to the ACC's Constitution:

    "The Council shall be constituted with a membership according to the schedule hereto. With the assent of two-thirds of the Primates of the Anglican Communion, the council may alter or add to the schedule."


    This understanding of determining the membership of the Anglican Communion is not correct. Membership in the Anglican Consultative Council does not equate with membership in the Anglican Communion per se.

    The Primates' Meeting is the Anglican Communion body who admit new provincial Churches to membership in the Communion. (Though perhaps they exercise this as a sort of standing committee function of the Lambeth Conference?)

    For further discussion, see:
    http://reader.classicalanglican.net/?p=941

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  12. "I say "Christians" because we who consider ourselves faithful to the Episcopal Church, its Constitution and Canons, have been told, in no uncertain terms, by our Bishop and his Associates, that we are "Counterfeit Christians". "

    Considering that what Bovinesue wrote originally in this thread (and has posted at other venues I might add) was a lie, I have a very hard time believing that my Bishop would ever call her or her associates "Counterfeit Christians". She has shown that what she says cannot be trusted, how can we trust what she says about our Bishop Duncan? Mr. Frank was kind in calling her post "grossly inaccurate".

    "I say "Christians" because we who consider ourselves faithful to the Episcopal Church, its Constitution and Canons,"

    Christians? Only if you adhere to the truth of the gospel. That Christ is the incarnation, he died for the sins of all the world, rose again in 3 days and ascended to heaven. That is what makes us Christian.

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  13. momtat said,"I have a very hard time believing that my Bishop would ever call her or her associates "Counterfeit Christians".

    Don't know about that, but he has said essentially that about a lot of us:

    Here are references:

    Duncan ripped Connecticut Bishop Andrew Smith, saying "there are wolves here that are set upon the flock. Does a shepherd come after the sheep? Does a shepherd seek to disable his flock? This too is a counterfeit, and those who lead in this way are counterfeiters." http://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/15077.htm

    AT THE RALLY outside the Hartford capitol building May 13, attended by the same leaders as the previous evening, Bishop Duncan blasted revisionist Episcopal bishops for promoting a "counterfeit" religion, and lauded the "Connecticut Six" for standing for the "faith once delivered." http://www.challengeonline.org/modules/wfsection/article.php?articleid=66

    "The choice is for Jesus Christ, True God and True Man," he said, as opposed to something less or counterfeit, as he believes ECUSA is offering. The choice is for "truth over accommodation, accountability over autonomy, mission over sullen inaction," Duncan told the gathering of Episcopalians/Anglicans from 77 dioceses and several extramural bodies. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1523417/posts

    Bishop Robert Duncan of the diocese of Pittsburgh and head of the Anglican Communion Network said, “We are here to warn the people of this nation that there is a counterfeit abroad in the land that looks and sounds like the real thing but has no currency when you try to spend it.” http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/2005_05.html

    Now granted three of these four references came from a particularly hot and heavy exchange in and around a rally for the Conn. 6, but the quotes (all from different sources) give roughly the same read of the matter.

    Sue and I and many other progressives took the stinging charge that we are "counterfeit christians" to heart.

    Sue states, "That, I believe, was the most unkindly cut that could ever have been made. It has hurt many of us to the core, believe me."

    When the Moderator said that he may have been involved in what seemed to be hyperbole or perhaps the excess of the moment. And it can be argued that he was targeting Bishop Smith. But that charge does not sit well with many of us.

    At any rate, The Moderator did say that of those he believes have left the right path. He can say it, of course, but we who also adhere to the Gospel have no desire to have his statement about being counterfeit adhere to us as well, or for that matter to Bishop Smith.

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  14. Mr. Harris: There is a Counterfeit Gospel being promoted by many in the Episcopal Church leadership. You only need to open USA Today and see it, from our presiding BP herself. And remember BP. Spong? If you and Bovinesue are threatened by BP. Duncan's comments made "in a hot and heavy exchange" personally, then maybe God is speaking to your conscience.

    If you are not of this group, then BP. Duncan's comments are not for you.

    And goodbye this is not a forum for a conservative

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