The article by Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Religious Affairs Correspondent begins,
"Homosexual clergy will be barred from becoming bishops in the Anglican communion under controversial new plans backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Telegraph then goes on to repeat a really wacko rumor:
"There have been reports that it is prepared to consecrate more gay bishops while the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, told this newspaper that he would be willing to do the same."
Some dioceses are prepared to accept gay and lesbian candidates for bishop. If one of these candidates is elected it might very well be that a majority of bishops and standing committees might well give consent. The notion that the Episcopal Church is "prepared to consecrate more gay bishops" is tabloid journalism at its finest. It makes it appear that there are a number of people already elected and standing by to be consecrated.The Telegraph then reports, "The paper, "How do we get from here to there?", stresses that it is vital that an Anglican Covenant be agreed so that churches around the world are mutually accountable and united by a common set of beliefs....
Until a consensus is reached, the American and Canadian churches must refrain from consecrating more homosexual bishops and carrying out blessing services for same-sex couples, the paper says.
If they do not, they will face being pushed to the margins of the communion and find themselves excluded from the councils that are central to the governance of the Church."
So it is Windsor time again. Just when we thought that idol was broken it rises up again. Requests to refrain, to express regret, to cease and desist.
According to the Telegraph, "The African churches, which oppose having practising homosexuals in the clergy, will be told that they must stop intervening in the affairs of other churches as their actions are deepening the rift."Good luck on that one. Bishops Minns, the AMiA Rwanda Bishops, the Kenya and Uganda bishops are not likely to give up their ministries and disband their various church structures. They will use the same old argument. We have to do it, we hear the cries of the suffering.
The Telegraph opines, "The introduction of a covenant and canon law would be further steps on the path to a more concrete notion of Anglican identity and limits on what is acceptable behaviour, following the more centralised model of the Catholic Church."
Well, we will know on Monday.
I think the document on Monday will indeed return to Windsor and its demands to cease and desist. It will meet with the same polite interest and non compliance by various factions.
Another possibility is there: The document (Preliminary Observations III) might well propose that barring compliance, the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada be removed from the governance bodies of the Communion for a period of time, during which the bishops ordained for ministry in America and Canada as well as the Provinces providing them Primatial leadership also be removed. That would take TEC, Anglican Church of Canada and Southern Cone, Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda out of the governing bodies.
Another possibility is that the document might call for the Primates to constitute a Central Committee of the whole and that they take on some synodical powers for an Anglican Patriarchy ordered around the Covenant as it is developed and the Common Canon Law as it is formed.
As Jim Naughton has pointed out, the tone of much of the Preliminary Observations is ordered around the offices of bishop, and in particular the office of the Primate. Given that The Archbishop of Canterbury's role is under attack and the concerns of Province to Province communion status is seen as central, it is not hard to see why almost nothing is said of lay or clerical input to Anglican Communion matters.
Many of the Provinces of the Communion are not prepared to have outside bodies dictate what they may or may not do. If the Covenant runs in that direction or the Canon Law Project gives rise to a disciplinary canons applicable to all Anglicans, there will be hell to pay.
Let's see what comes on Monday. For now, may your Sunday and mine be a time of refreshment in the faith.