1/15/2008

The Deposed Bishop of Harare brings out the guns.

Some time ago I suggested that in days to come Anglican Land would fulfill the prophecy of Warren Zevon, who famously said, "Send lawyers, guns and money, the shit has hit the fan."

While in most of Anglican-land lawyers and money seem to have been the stock in trade for the very complex range of events going on, in Harare, Zimbabwe, it appears that guns are now the instruments of choice in a struggle that engaged the Province of Central Africa, many of the dioceses of the Province, and now the Archbishop of Canterbury.
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For a full unfolding of all this, see The Episcopal Cafe, Thinking Anglicans (particularly good for all the references to texts and commentary0. For a superb read on the similarities between this case and the issues with the Diocese of San Joaquin the acid wit of The Mad Priest is right on target.

Some months ago I pointed out that, as far as the Bishop of Harare was concerned, the Province of Central Africa was broken. After considerable sputtering that no, actually everything was alright, the Province settled down to elect a new Primate and eject the Bishop of Harare. But of course everything was not alright.

The Bishop of Harare who had earlier been denied invitation to Lambeth was now ejected from the Ppovince and a new bishop put in place. The dismissal of the Dean of the Province and the festering problem of the election of a bishop for Lake Malawi still sit there. Now the deposed Bishop of Harare, Bishop Kunonga, has declared himself the Archbishop of a new church and no longer under the authority of the Province and on Sunday had police forcefully remove and arrest several priests and parishioners at the Cathedral.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken out on the matters in Zimbabwe. There is much to commend in the Archbishop's statement.

Near the end of his statement, the ABC says the following about Bishop Kunonga, "
He did not receive an invitation to the Lambeth Conference when they were issued last May. Kunonga's position has become increasingly untenable within the Anglican Church over the last year, as he has consistently refused to maintain appropriate levels of independence from the Zimbabwean Government."

It is easy to support the ABC in this. The government of President Mugabe is awful. The Archbishop of York has dramatically opposed Mugabe's government and Kunonga seems to be Mugabe's lackey, which is good enough reason to want not to invite him to Lambeth.

But the ABC needs to be a bit careful here. The last time I looked the Church of England maintains a level of dependence on the government of the United Kingdom that would make Kunonga's dependence on President Mugabe seem a trifle.

The real problem is not that Bishop Kunonga is not a nice man, or even a decent one, but that he is deranged. He has made assumptions about his own power that are way out of line with the realities of life in Christian community.

No one wants much to touch any of this. There has been a bit in the papers in Zimbabwe and in the UK and in the US church press, but not much elsewhere. Where are the voices of the Global South on this one?

4 comments:

  1. Deacon Charlie Perrin15/1/08 12:26 PM

    Well, the Global South (Save yo' Confedit moneh bawz, the Sout shal rize agin') has far more important fish to fry: Colonizing the West, Driving out the queers and the uppity women, elevating John Knox and Ulrich Zwingli to Anglican Sainthood, and let's not leave out elevating Martyn Minns (Akinola's too old) to the Anglo-Papacy.

    These are far more important the the lives of a few Africans, who are probably in the wrong tribe anyway.

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  2. Somehow the business where Kunonga was supposed to be investigated for incitement to murder some years ago, has been forgotten in all this noise.

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  3. Reading deacon charlie's spin, one might think GS Primates are supporting Kunonga - but that would be a lie.

    Are people deliberately ignoring the fact that it is a GS province that has disciplined Kunonga?

    He has not "left" and set up a new church because his actions were supported by the GS Primates......

    Note the GS province in question has put in new leadership in Harare.

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  4. Yes Nolbert Kunonga is a deranged man. In addition he is not a nice man and he is not a decent man. He has put priests and parishioners on a hit list. His interest has never been on the good of the church. He is a man who lacks compassion for the suffering people of Zimbabwe. Homosexuality has never been an issue for the ordinary people of Zimbabwe. We are concerned about the plight of women and children. We are concerned about the political repression and economic suffering that is devastating the people of Zimbabwe. We pray for wholeness that seems elusive. In most cases we are surprised when we eventually hear of how the bishops represent us in the communion.

    ReplyDelete

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