11/14/2007

Bless Their Little Hearts

The good people of the Synod of the Province of the Southern Cone (PSC) have by resolution invited diocese that can't stand continued life in the Episcopal Church to join them, if only for a while. Stand Firm has posted the resolution passed last week and it can be read HERE.

No one can fault their hospitality, many (and certainly I) fault their ecclesial and theological rationale. But mostly I fault their chutzpa.

Following the invitation, the resolution closes as follows:

"We do this in order that such dioceses may continue in the mainstream of the Anglican Communion and be faithful to its Biblical and historic teaching and witness; and we pray for God's grace and help to resolve the painful, critical situation in our beloved Anglican Communion."

It is magnificent chutzpa and presumption to think that dioceses connected to the Province of the Souther Cone "continue in the mainstream of the Anglican Communion and (are) faithful to its Biblical and historic teaching and witness." The notion that the PSC can be the guarantor that "such dioceses may continue in the mainstream of the Anglican Communion" collapses under the weight of the PSC "rescue" of the deposed bishop of Recife and those who aligned with him as "The Diocese of Recife, Anglican Communion." That action was so outrageous that the Archbishop of Canterbury declined to invite the deposed bishop of Recife to Lambeth.

The notion that the PSC can in any way determine what constitutes the mainstream of the Anglican Communion is preposterous. What the PSC means is that by taking in dissenters they can continue in relation with the Global South group, whose Primates sometimes represent 8 and sometimes 11 of the much larger group of Global South churches in the Anglican Communion.

And while we are at it, perhaps it is in order to point out that among the "historic teaching and witness" is the enduring canon that decries bishops mucking about in one another's gardens.

The PSC, under the guidance of Bishop Greg Venables, has essentially kissed off the Anglican Communion whose focus of unity is the Archbishop of Canterbury, not the Primate of the Southern Cone, and has consistently been destructive of the efforts to hold the Communion together.

In the end he may find several bishops in the Episcopal Church and a number of their followers (sheep they say) willing to take their lead and move on down to Argentina. The Dioceses of Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, San Joaquin, and wherever else, will continue as dioceses in the Episcopal Church, or by General Convention resolution be incorporated in existing dioceses.

Meanwhile, don't cry for me, Argentina... you will be getting more than you bargained for, and less.

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