Two sane voices from Pittsburgh, one less sane.

Lionel Deimel and Jim Simons of Pittsburgh have some wonderfully sane things to say in an insane time in Pittsburgh. Lionel wrote The Anglican Neighborhood of Make-Believe. There he outlines the "Through the Looking Glass" world of Anglicanism in Pittsburgh as understood by the deposed bishop of Pittsburgh and those who with him have realigned.

Jim Simons runs a remarkably sane and caring site, "Three Rivers Episcopal" that addresses matters of continuing life in the Episcopal Church and a whole host of other matters pastoral and social. It is indicative of Jim's pastoral stance in the midst of the craziness swirling around in Pittsburgh. Take a look.

And then we have the strange less sane comments of the Rev. Peter Frank, a spokesperson for the realignment group in Pittsburgh. In The National Post he is reported to have said, "that any opposition from Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, will be moot because the spiritual head of Anglicanism has lost his moral authority.
"Frankly, [he] is not in a position to do anything. At this point, the leaders of a majority of the world's Anglicans are going to recognize us when we [separate]."
But he added it would make it more difficult if Mr. Williams did not give his blessing."

I believe The Rev. Peter Frank will discover that the moral authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury, battered as it may be, is relatively intact. Also, it is not Mr. Williams. It is Archbishop Williams.

It is much too early to dismiss the Primates Meeting, Lambeth Conference and the Anglican Consultative Council, all of which are chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury, as having given up on him. The possibility of the Archbishop giving his blessing to this new improved GAFCON province is a long shot indeed, and if he did I would then question his moral authority.


  1. Three Rivers Episcopalian is a fantastic blog. I read it all the time for a voice of reason in an apparently chaotic sea.

  2. Hi, Mark--

    The "Mr." is the newspaper's house style, not Peter Frank's. Reading through the original article, you'll even find an Archdeacon called "Mr."

  3. Fr. Mark,
    Are you sure? The Archbishop's clear inability to delineate a position of the Anglican Communion on the issue of LGBT. We purportedly know what he personally believes; we know that he has not come down unequivocally on either side and most recently, Lambeth, appeared to throw the LGBT community under the bus. Yet he continues to equivocate. He receives Mr. Duncan as though Mr. Duncan were just another bishop in good standing. He refuses to reject the interlopers within the US and Canada. It appears he has attempted to chart a middle path trying to hold everybody together and yet holding nothing together. The interlopers continue to do just as they please and will announce shortly the creation of a new province inside the United States (perhaps North America) that the Archbishop is unwilling or unable to stop. Doesn't sound to me as if ++Williams has the high ground here.

  4. I am sure the ABC does not worry too much about TEC people questioning his moral authority....after all, TEC is the doublespeak church eg Griswold being both part of a united call from the Primates for TEC not to do something and then being part of the group which completely went against that same Primatial call - who thinks TEC has moral authority in the AC???

    (You're only still in because the ACO argues that it needs TEC cash....everyone knows that - but GAFCON clearly cannot be bought so easily)

  5. Rev. Harris – I think you’re using something of a double standard here. Peter Frank presumably feels Archbishop Williams has lost moral authority as a result of things he has done or failed to do throughout the crisis of the last several years. You take him to task for saying so, then close thus:

    “The possibility of the Archbishop giving his blessing to this new improved GAFCON province is a long shot indeed, and if he did I would then question his moral authority.”

    In other words, you may make judgments about the ABC’s moral authority based on his behavior, but Rev. Frank may not.


    I disagree, FWIW, with Rev. Frank’s phrasing; I don’t think it’s the ABC’s moral authority that’s lacking, but his authority, period. Admittedly, he never had formal authority to begin with, but many (I suppose on both sides) would have respected clear exercises of leadership on his part. Having decided instead to repeatedly equivocate, he has made himself something of an irrelevancy.

  6. James Simons+ is probably at the opposite end from me on the continuum that is TEC belief yet he has my admiration and respect plus that of clergy in NWPA who know him. I have followed his blog since it was started. He has suffered much abuse from the schismatics. Why is it that the folks who are convinced they own all the truth about God and the Bible seem to spend much energy doing the opposite of what the Gospels say Jesus taught?

  7. So, Observer, maintaining the principles of the Quadrilateral - the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral - don't matter if the church maintaining them is the Episcopal Church (not to say others aren't, but that we are)? Or, if we can believe that Kenya and Nigeria and Uganda are not motivated by the money of North American schismatics, why should we allege that issues of money motivate other provinces in being willing to maintain relationships with the Episcopal Church?

    Relationship with Canterbury is important to all of us. Just how important will be seen in actions taken. We might not make things easy for Canterbury, nor has Canterbury made things easy for us; but neither have we suggested abandoning the relationship. FOCA, on the other hand.... Well, we shall see.

  8. People in Pittsburgh have left TEC and formed their own diocese. They are going to join with others to form a new Anglican province (a la Lutheran Missouri Synod) which will be recognized by some Anglican Provinces while others will not, and will continue to recognize TEC as the official Anglican presence.

    The dissidents made their mind long time ago. We stuck to our guns. In a couple of hundred years people will be in a better position to assess what happened and will, I am sure, question themselves "Why those morons didn't do this or did that?".

    We are witnessing a failure of imagination, a generational change, and there is nothing that can be said or be done to undo what has happened.

    We have a task at hand. They have a task at hand. Now each one of us can go in peace to love and serve the Lord... instead of throwing potshots at each other.


  9. You're only still in because the ACO argues that it needs TEC cash....everyone knows that.

    Interesting. And why is the Anglican Church of Canada (home of the nefarious Diocese of New Westminster) still in? And why are all the Provinces that have made a point not to break communion with PECUSA still in?

  10. Hello Marshall.... you got evidence of lots of money going from people you call "schismatics"? Funny how your "schimatics" are acceptable all over the AC - please consider if it is TEC which is out of line with the AC.

    TEC people don't like talking about nos (unless it is to makee Quincy look small!) Trouble for TEC is that the "new thing" attracts so few Americans....just 0.3% of the US population and mostly pensioners. The ABC has to choose 0.8m in TEC or half the AC in GAFCON...... he did not expect GAFCON to be so big or so global or so broad in its churchmanship - he has had a wake up call and you can expect TEC to be sold down the river. How soon depends on whether your GC09 keeps BO33 or not.

  11. Oh, Observer: evidence? Not much, although there is that notorious quote from Bishop Orombi: "...We have shared with them our needs so they support us, they give us money. Oh they give us money. Since we began to relate with our orthodox brethren they have given us much more money, much more money, oh yeah, much more money. They have given us more money"

    But that's not so much my point. I can imagine they might accept support without that being the primary reason for relating to the groups trying to take dioceses out of the Episcopal Church (and so schismatic; simply leaving as individuals is perhaps different). Therefore, why allege that the primary reason for Canterbury to continue to relate to the Episcopal Church is simply financial?

    In the mean time, it remains to be seen, not so much who Canterbury will exclude, but who will choose to exclude Canterbury.

  12. It's funny how everyone who fails to do the bidding of the fundamentalists loses his moral authority.

  13. Hello Marshall Well, the ABC's do-nothing-but-talk conference has landed him with a big deficit...he needs cash badly.... and it is a fact that the ACO is dependent on TEC cash and has TEC over-represented in it.....just as TEC was at Lambeth with 1/4 of the bishops attending when TEC is less than 2% of the AC - I don't think these things are coincidences and I think TEC has a disproportionate amount of influence because of its cash. It ain't because of strong, growing, vibrant congregations in TEC, sadly.

    Of course, the whole reason we get BO33 type compromise and the endles willingness to talk (but not repent) is that TEC needs the global stage the AC gives....
    Now, I can understand that some in TEC have genuine principles for which they are fighting in the AC... but then why compromise those principles (eg BO33_- it is not as if the AC is going to change any time before GC09 or GC12), is it? Why stay in? What is TEC gaining from the last 5 years of stress for all of us, including TEC? TEC would be better off outside the AC with all those joining who agree with TEC and the AC would be better off without all those who would want to join TEC....and with all those who have not departed from the core AC position re the authority of scripture.

  14. Observer does provide a nom de keyboard by which we may identify him. He declines, however, to provide a link so that we can see who he is.

    But one thing he certainly is is confused.

    Observer, the original point of this discussion was not the Episcopal Church (or, for that matter, the Anglican Church of Canada) questioning Rowan Cantuar's authority. It was some half-baked schismatic questioning Rowan Cantuar's authority.

    The rest of Observer's posts are just the same old schismatic naus.


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.