12/21/2007

CANA argues for two Anglican entities, affirms schism.

The CANA related congregations in Virginia are arguing for the retention of properties that they physically hold by virtue of a majority of the members of congregations leaving The Episcopal Church to join the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion.) Part of their argument before the court in Virginia is provided over at BabyBlue Café and consists of the following (thanks to BabyBlue for doing the hard work reading the brief). See all of what she referenced HERE.

Here is CANA's contention:

"As a result of these recent changes, the Anglican Communion is now divided into two "branches"—those that relate to all provinces that relate to the See of Canterbury, and those that relate only to those who are understood as adhering to the historic faith, doctrine, and discipline of the Anglican Communion. See Sept. 14, 2007, Tr. 41 (directing the parties to address the branch issue at the Anglican Communion level). The Church of Nigeria, with which the CANA Congregations have affiliated, is the principal leader of this new branch. Tr. 363-64, 372-74 (Minns); Tr. 639-40 (Yisa). Indeed, TEC Presiding Bishop Schori herself referred to CANA as a distinct "part" or "branch of the Anglican Communion" repeatedly in her deposition. Schori Dep, Designations 54-56, 79, 83. The evidence at trial thus independently satisfied the "branch" requirement of § 57-9 at the Anglican Communion level."

So, CANA believes there are two Anglican Communion entities, two "branches" – (Anglican Communion 1) "those that relate to all provinces that relate to the See of Canterbury" and (Anglican Communion 2) "those that relate only to those who are understood as adhering to the historic faith, doctrine and discipline of the Anglican Communion." The alternative "leader" to the Archbishop of Canterbury (or See of Canterbury) is the Church of Nigeria, and, one presumes, its Primate.

That of course is nonsense. The Anglican Communion is not now nor never has been an entity with branch offices, nor has it been an entity that can split into two branches. It for sure is not the Vine of which we are the branches. But the Courts in Virginia may not get it.

This whole thing is a pack of cards. If, for some reason the court in Virginia were to decide that yes indeed the Anglican Communion did consist of two branches and that therefore the argument for the division of property under Virginia law held, the matter of determining that there were indeed two Anglican Communion entities would have to wait for the actual formation of such entities on an international level. The division does not exist yet. Further, it will be interesting to see if such a decision could hold up in higher court, for it would be a decision about the character of a world wide split into two communions that has not yet transpired.

This is why the notion of an alternative gathering of bishops, from the Global South, away from Lambeth, perhaps held in Northern Africa, etc., this coming summer is not simply a matter of bishops in a snit but rather quite important. Such a gathering becomes the testing ground for precisely such a second Communion, one with a different Patriarch (not Rome, not Canterbury, but perhaps Alexandria).

This is why the swing of the Diocese of San Joaquin to the Southern Cone is a stop gap… it is not a stop gap until there can be a new and improved Province in America related to the current Communion (AC1), but until there can be a new Patriarchal based Communion to which such a Province could relate. The end of all this is NOT a new Province that would relate to the Anglican Communion instead of The Episcopal Church, but a Province recognized by a community of Provinces constituting Anglican Communion 2 (AC2).

The Realignment crowd has now worked itself into a place where the way forward is no longer with Canterbury and those in Communion with the Church of England, but a different world-wide Communion with a real Patriarch and a no nonsense adherence "to the historic faith, doctrine, and discipline of the Anglican Communion." The mere fact that there is no such thing as "the historic faith, doctrine, and discipline of the Anglican Communion" will be beside the point.

The holiness crowd will find their way into something like AC2. They may, if the Common Cause Partnership business works out, pull some more disparate churches never in relation to AC1 anyway. There may indeed be a second Anglican Communion. AC2 will be a world wide church.

God help them. We already have several of those and there is no reason to think that one more will make much difference. Those that already exist are quite enough. Rome and Constantinople provide adequate reason to think that structurally world wide does not mean universal or catholic.

Meanwhile AC1, whoever is part of that, will continue to be a fellowship of churches – not branches of a single church. We may or may not always work together. Our representatives may or may not sit in the same room together. We will be remarkably human. The Episcopal Church will in all likelihood continue to be part of AC1. If not we will take our place in a world wide ecumenical context. I have stated before that I believe the Anglican Communion (AC1) to be a particular form of ecumenical fellowship. That will continue to be part of who we are in the future.

But we will say our prayers, work for the spread of the reign of God, complete with justice and peace as the signs of that reign, and give with all that love has to offer for the life of the world.

Our assumption should be that those in AC2 are about that as well, in spite of their supposing that they are a world wide church.

Meanwhile, CANA and the Church of Nigeria, its parent, have made their plea: There are two Anglican Communions.

If anyone is interested, they are clearly about breaking up that old gang of ours. That bit of breaking up is called schism. It's not all that awful, but it's not pretty.


15 comments:

  1. I think BB's case will backfire, since the "Church" to which the Virginia Law applies is not "The Anglican Communion" but "The Episcopal Church" -- and TEC has not officially "divided." Nor has the AC, for that matter. What has happened is that some members of the AC no longer recognize others. But we in TEC still do; ergo, TEC is not divided.

    This seems so brain-dead to me, but then, it's been a long day...

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  2. The following is taken from Fr. Dan Martins' comments at Covenant today. I think they are an important indicator about what has always been the plan for some..away from Canterbury... and how he and others may have been duped:

    "In January 2004 I was present at a meeting that was apparently a direct result of the one referenced by Dr Radner. It took place at Christ Church, Plano, and I was there as an official representative (appointed by Bishop Schofield, along with another cleric and two lay persons) of the Diocese of San Joaquin. It was at this meeting that the Network charter was 'perfected' in debate, and adopted–so far as I can recall, unanimously–by those present. It was also at this meeting that Geoff Chapman, who was there, was rebuked formally–and he apologized formally–for circulating the now infamous memo outlining a “replacement” strategy. The assembly disavowed the Chapman Memo, and I recall that such a disavowal was a condition laid down by Bishop Howe for his continued participation in the meeting. The ACN charter that was adopted, of course, pledged to operate within the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church. There were some others present as well–non-Episcopalians –who were seated at a special table in the back of the room and referred to as 'common cause partners.'
    Many Reappraisers have spoken of a Grand Conspiracy to effect a coup d’eglise within American Anglicanism. I have always resisted such talk because I believed myself to be enough of an insider to know that it was unfounded. After all, I raised my hand in assent when the motion to disavow the Chapman Memo was made. I am now beginning to wonder whether I have been duped and played.
    It has slowly dawned on me over the last several months that there is an element within the ranks of 'conservative' Anglicans who are not only open to, but eager to embrace, a form of Anglicanism sans Canterbury. But, for the time being, they’re mostly being coy about it, even continuing to pay lip service to Canterbury while they get their ducks in a row as they wait for the crisis to achieve critical mass so they can pull the trigger on the revolution." EPfizH

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  3. August 5th, 2003

    Even Wiki recognizes what happened on that day:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_5,_2003

    The division occurring in the Episcopal Church and spreading into the Anglican Communion can be traced to August 5th, 2003. One just wonders if it will end up on the Church Calendar one day, one way or the other.

    To continue to maintain that there is no division in the Episcopal Church is putting our proverbial heads in the sand.

    I was there on August 5th. I saw what happened that day with my own eyes. And there was jubilation in Minneapolis. "Easter Day!" had come, Susan Russell told the press. I heard her say it in her impromptu press conference. TEC totally missed what a catastrophic decision that was both nationally and internationally. If you may recall, the first overseas bishop we heard from was from Egpyt. That same bishop is now the Primate for the Middle East (including Jerusalem) and was in New Orleans for the TEC House of Bishops meeting in September, Bishop Annis.

    Again, if the leadership of TEC is truly convinced - as it appears it really is - that indeed the spirit doing a New Thing - then just go for it. But to expect a whole section of the Church and the Communion (and again, read Rowan Williams Advent letter very carefully - Rowan has quite a firestorm brewing of his own there in Merry Olde England).

    One of the things that I found interesting sitting in court for four days in November was how the arguments were made logically, being argued from the law. It was such a contrast to the legislative sessions I've sat in General Convention where arguments are made subjectively and using reinvented meanings of words (like "local option"). The arguments are based on subjective personal experience - or what might be called "Prophetic Witness" - but those won't work in a Court of Law. We cannot reimagine the word "division" just to suit our own purposes - as one of the "expert" TEC witnesses discovered on cross-examination and as we also learned from the deposition of the Presiding Bishop herself.

    This does get wearisome, doesn't it? It's so darn sad. I keep praying for another way through - that we could remain in what Bishop Lee used to talk about as the "closest communion as possible," even at this late hour.

    -Mary

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  4. For Tobias...

    I believe the legal concern here on why "branch" and why the "Anglican Communion" is the argument that the AC is a "religious society" according to 59-7 of the VA statutes. But even if the CANA congregations win at this level, the constitutionality of 59-7 may be a more critical issue. EPfizH

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  5. Even Wiki says it's so it must be so?!!! Yikes that is authoritative. I'm sorry that it's just now dawning on many conservatives that there has been a long term plan (starting with WO) to take over the AC either from within or without it. August 2003 will go down as the date they found their dividing rod.

    But I repeat the Virginia scheme to take property is essential to the success of their scheme. They need high profile churches with property to become the "center" of their new Communion in the U.S. to give them the sense of "authenticity" they need to be players on a world stage.

    Their timing was a bit off - so they've had to argue in the alternative that the division is in the AC - not TEC. But the hope is the same - A Falls Church "Anglican" Cathedral to rival the Washington Cathedral. Without it they will not be a viable alternative - hence the taking of DOV to court to get it.

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  6. christopher+23/12/07 5:19 PM

    That there is disagreement in the Episcopal Church - as there is in other provinces of the Anglican Communion, too - is perfectly clear.

    But this should certainly not be confused with "division" in any structural sense. The Episcopal Church is not "divided," sad as it might be that some people wish to leave the Church, and confusing as it might be for onlookers when those departing claim they have the right to take with them Episcopal Church property.

    Speaking of which, I am confused about why some parishes are claiming that their long history and deed status somehow exempt them from the Church's canon law. Whether a parish was established in 1690 or 1990, has it not been subject to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church for as long as it has been a parish of the Episcopal Church? And, if that is the case, how could a parish leave, since the Episcopal Church makes no canonical provision for parishes (or dioceses) to do so?

    How a civil court could decide a question of trust based on canon law is unclear to me. Do civil courts really want to decide canon law?

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  7. Wikipedia is not a particularly definitive source since anyone can go in and edit it to support their particular views.

    It seems to me more than a trifle ingenuous to date the "split" to the date of the consecration of Gene Robinson.

    Those who have been plotting, scheming and planning for schism were at work long in advance of that, declaiming the "apostacy" of anyone who dared disagree with them on a range of issues. So if this is the measure of a "split," then it long predates one New Hampshire ordination.

    On the other hand, since there has been no legal division in the Episcopal Church to date, one can argue there has been no split at all.

    So, either we have not yet split or we have been split for a generation. Claiming the particular date on offer is simply spin - and poorly executed spin at that.

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  8. For Malcolm - I can say from personal experience that Aug 03' was the date of our split from the church. It was after that date my eyes were open to what was going on within the church and since that day my children have not set foot in an Episcopal Church. I attended one meeting after that date and haven't returned since. Am still waiting for an orthodox Angligan church to open in my area and in the meantime attend as a visitor in neighboring churches. My "inclusive" church doesn't care for laity who believe in the Bible.

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  9. “In Mary God has grown small to make us great.”
    St. Ephrem (d. 373)

    Christmas blessings from one Anglican blog to another
    Bosco Peters
    http://www.liturgy.co.nz

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  10. It is equally clear, anonymous, that you have no respect for anyone who believes in the Bible but interprets it differently than you.

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  11. Is the "division" exemption in the Virginia law meant to be to the profit of the makers of schism themselves? or just for innocent parties entering the fray after the fact (post ipso facto)?

    The latter seems (perhaps) acceptable to me, the former a tad un-righteous...

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  12. The problem with trying to re-write the past is you have to silence those who were there. While the funders of IRD are probably capable of that, and certainly one of them has suggested it, we are still around.

    In the years running up to the 03 General Convention, there were a number of conferences, and papers by the self-styled orthodox discussing "homosexuality" as the "wedge issue" that would permit them to move a large portion of the laity to their schismatic view. The documents still exist, even if some propagandist writing for Wikipedia has (conveniently) not found them.

    Of interest to anyone who thinks that the consecration of +Gene was the cause of the current troubles may be the term the various leaders used to describe them before the event. "Pew lumps" were those Episcopalians who were not in the movement to split the church but might 'take notice' if they pressed the lesbian/gay issue.

    I recall a number of the leaders being almost jubilant when New Hampshire voted. Now they could jump start the 'pew lump!' So if you think that was the event, it is likely they think they are way superior to you. As a very conservative priest has posted on his blog, he is thinking he was played. Yup.

    FWIW
    jimB

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  13. Dear EPFizH,
    Yes, that is the argument -- but as I read the statute the Anglican Communion is not a "religious society" -- it isn't like the RCC; and, perhaps more importantly, even if it were, by its own self-understanding there is only to be one jurisdiction in any one place. Of course, the act of making such determinations falling into the lap of a judge is precisely why the statute is unconstitutional; and should the judge in this case rule the statute applies, I think he will also have to rule that the statute is ipso facto unconstitutional.

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  14. On the one hand, we have CANA attorneys arguing that a real "division" has taken place in the Anglican Communion into two branches. By the attorneys definition of the branches, they are mutually exclusive. One is lec by Canterbury the other Nigeria. By contrast, we now have the GAVCON crew contending that their conference is not really in competition with Canterbury, not really of a different Communion. So who is to be believec here? The CANA attorneys who are are liable for what they say to an American judge or the "not really" bunch organizing GAVCON who are accountable to no one? +Minns, +Guernsey, +Atwood, +Duncan? Same people, particularly +Minns in the CANA case, so why not the same story? And, the CANA attorneys argue that the "real" second "branch" of the Communion is led by Nigeria. On what did they base that alleged statement of fact? Have any other members of the alleged second branch agreed to Nigeria's (presumably, given Nigeria's constitution,) +Akinola's leadership. Exactly who is being duped here and who is doing the duping? EPfizH

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  15. VA_episcopal27/12/07 7:46 PM

    And yet CANA still claims affiliation with Canterbury on its website:

    http://www.canaconvocation.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=17&Itemid=33

    So, on which days are they affiliated with Canterbury or not? When they need to keep property? When they want to go to Lambeth?

    And, how many bishops does one group need?

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