12/10/2007

Bishop Lyons of Bolivia : Confused or a Liar?

Charitably, it appears that Bishop Lyons misspoke. Uncharitably, it appears Bishop Lyons put out false statements and is a liar.

Bishop Lyons has been going about saying that the decision by the Province of the Southern Cone to take in disaffected dioceses had approval from the Archbishop of Canterbury. A summary of that line of reasoning was given most recently in an Episcopal News Service story on December 8th. ENS reports,

"Schofield characterized Venables' invitation to align with the Province of the Southern Cone as a "Godsend" for Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, allowing for disagreeing factions to still remain within the Anglican Communion. The Province of the Southern Cone has about 22,000 members and encompasses Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

Lyons also told reporters that Williams approved of the new affiliation and described it as "a sensible way forward."

But, the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, Anglican Communion secretary general, disagreed. "I would be surprised to hear that the Archbishop would formally support such a development which is contrary to the Windsor Report," he said in a November 27, 2007 letter to a Fort Worth delegate who had asked for verification of similar assertions Lyons made during the Texas diocese's November 17 convention."

A Church Times article reports that "Bishop Venables, who was unanimously re-elected as Primate at the Synod meeting, confirmed that he had had a one-to-one meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury before taking the decision. “We would not have moved if I had not had that conversation with him,” he said."

So there was a meeting between Bishop Venables and the Archbishop of Canterbury. The results were taken by Bishop Venables as at least allowing the Province to go forward. But the question remains: Did the Archbishop approve or endorse the actions of the Primate to invite disaffected dioceses into the Province?

Bishop Lyons has been making the rounds assuring everyone in sight that this scheme was viewed by the ABC as appropriate and sensible. Bishop Venables has taken it upon himself to welcome San Joaquin back into "the full fellowship of the Anglican Communion."

Well, it appears that the Archbishop has spoken on the matter, if only indirectly by way of the Anglican Communion Communications Office.

Episcopal Cafe received an email from the Director of Communications for the Anglican Communion Office:

"Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has not in any way endorsed the actions of the Primate of the Southern Cone, Bishop Gregory Venables, in his welcoming of dioceses, such as San Joaquin in the Episcopal Church, to become part of his province in South America," a spokesman for the Anglican Communion said."

This is Jim Rosenthal reporting on what a "spokesman for the Anglican Communion" said.

So it appears that Bishop Lyons either lied or misspoke. People in San Joaquin deserved better.

6 comments:

  1. You are ignoring a third possibility: that the "spokesman" is an American sent their to improve relations with TEC, and might not be an impartial "spokesman". Also- the lack of an endorsement does not mean opposition.

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  2. Not that I'm a fan of Lyons or anything, but it's a definite possibility that Rowan made some impenetrable, oracular statement that could be interpreted as meaning practically anything under the sun, and Venables took it as an endorsement.

    Too bad Rowan can't let his yes be yes and his no be no.

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  3. Hmm. Why would you believe "a source" for the Anglican Communion is factual while determining that a Bishop is either a liar or confused? Doesn't seem very equitable - or charitable.

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  4. That bishops lie is not unheard of. That lying is still considered "uncouth" is a delight to hear in the Church at present. Thank you for making it clearer than some bishops are doing at present.

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  5. As the old quip goes "Jesus maybe the answer, but what's the question." In this case, Rowan may have said "it's a sensible way forward" but what was the proposal and to what end. Perhaps, Venables said "we wish to pursue our own interests and don't care whether we strain the bonds of affection." To which perhaps the ABC responded, well in that case your plan seems to be "sensible way forward."

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  6. According to Bill Bryson, admittedly no theological heavyweight, the question is "What do you say when you hit your thumb with a hammer", C.B.

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