6/22/2009

Why is the Archbishop sending one of the Pastoral Visitors?

The Archbishop of Canterbury has in place a group of people called Pastoral Visitors. They are
  • the Rt. Rev. Santosh Marray, bishop of Seychelles (Indian Ocean);
  • the Rt. Rev. Colin Bennetts, retired bishop of Coventry (England);
  • the Rt. Rev. Simon Chiwanga, retired bishop of Mpwapwa (Tanzania) and former chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council;
  • Major General Tim Cross, a retired British soldier who was the U.K.'s senior-most officer involved in the Pentagon's post-war planning in Iraq;
  • Canon Chad Gandiya, Africa desk officer for the U.K.-based mission organization USPG; and
  • the Very Rev. Justin Welby, dean of Liverpool Cathedral (England).
One of them, Bishop Santosh Marray, is in attendance at the Anglican Church in North America constituting convention.

Now according to ENS, in its article on the Pastoral Visitors, the supposed reason for the Pastoral Visitors is this:

Both the primates and the continuation group supported Williams' plan to appoint an interim group of "pastoral visitors" who could be called upon in any dispute or situation of tension until the May 1-12 meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council, the communion's main legislative body. Despite that time limit, the continuation group noted that Williams suggested an initial 12-month appointment.

The group's recent report, which was presented to the primates at their February meeting, also noted that the visitors would be required to act in a manner "consistent with the constitutions and canons of those provinces" in which they operate. Further, the group said it welcomed what it called Williams' decision that the visitors "would not have any authority to make dispositions or proposals for structural solutions to any situation, unless expressly authorized to do so by the primate or other lawful authority of the particular provinces with which they have been asked to work."

We might hope, therefore, that the Pastoral Visitor, Bishop Marray, would visit, make no supportive or encouraging statements, make no statements at all really but observe, and GO HOME.

Why is the ABC sending anyone? There is no "dispute or situation of tension" at the ACNA meeting. They are there and The Episcopal Church is going about its business preparing for General Convention. The ABC has no business sending a Pastoral Visitor as an observer. Someone else, perhaps, but this gives the Pastoral Visitor scheme a scheming sort of flavor.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is muddling and meddling and it would be helpful to know just how much of this is being done with full disclosure.

Archbishop to be Duncan has reported that Archbishop Williams has encouraged ACNA to apply for membership in the Anglican Communion. Canterbury has been talking to (then) Bishop Duncan for a long time and the assertion continues to be made that Canterbury did not just listen to those forming the Network, which became the Partnership, which became ACNA, but even suggested calling it a Network and using the word "confessing" in its full name. That was later dropped, but has reappeared in full flower. Now the talk is of a "confessing Anglicanism."

There has been much too much slack cut for the Archbishop of Canterbury who has played a quite strong monarchical hand in matters outside his venue. Or perhaps he didn't read the implications of the "no jurisdiction in this realm," bit in the Thirty Nine Articles.

15 comments:

  1. Should we assume that Marray is attending as the ABC's "pastoral visitor" rather than as the retired bishop of an Indian Ocean diocese offered an expenses-paid, publicity-coup junket by ACNA organisers? Guess we'll find out fast enough. If true, should certainly smooth the path for Williams' GC appearance.

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  2. Whether he should be there at all is questionable. That said, are we sure he was sent? He might have been invited by one of the participating parties.

    That he would accept such an invitation doesn't inspire much confidence that as a Pastoral Visitor he could be an honest broker. However, he might not be present on behalf of Canterbury.

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  3. Since all we have to go on is +Duncan's testimony I would avoid saying to much.

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  4. Mark - I'm confused - 1st you complain that the ABC does not take any notice of Rwanda consecrating a few more bishops for AMiA, and then you complain when he does take notice of the formation of a new group in North America, assuming that Marray was asked to attend this meeting by the ABC, as Marshall rightly questions. We still don't know for sure what his response to the inauguration of ACNA is anyway, and perhaps part of his forming an intelligent informed response is to have an observer there to find out what is going on and why it is going on. And isn't he himself attending GC2009? Is that meddling and muddling too? What DO you want him to do - everything or nothing or only the things that suit you, and leaves ECUSA entirely free to do its own thing? Maybe it would be better if you or your PB occupied the position - all we get from you is snarping criticism about him, how about some prayerful support?

    Furthermore, I am surprised that you are quoting anything from the 39 Articles, given the disdain that ECUSA officially has for them, but I am not surprised that what you do quote is twisted and taken out of context. That bit about "hath no jurisdiction in this realm" (Art XXXVII) is not about the Archbishop of Canterbury and his relationship with the provinces of the Anglican Communion, which would be an anachronistic reference and application, but about the Bishop of Rome, ie, the Pope, having no jurisdiction over the King of England or therefore over the reformed and protestant church in England.

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  5. What Frair John said

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  6. I still think the Archbishop of Canterbury ought have a nice booth in the display outside the General Convention of The Episcopal Church...he can take a double space have his continuing continuetts along with him...no doubt they´ll be busy and ought bring lots of literature to pass out regarding their stand on nothing.

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  7. The "bishop of Rome" bit is in Article XXXVII: Of the Civil Magistrates, BrianF. It's one of the articles that Americans have a bit of problem with. Not that it should bother those in provinces where the Divine Right of Kings is still dogma.

    "The Queen's Majesty hath the chief power in this Realm of England, and other her Dominions, unto whom the chief Government of all Estates of this Realm, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Civil, in all causes doth appertain, and is not, nor ought to be, subject to any foreign Jurisdiction."

    "... we give .... to our Princes ... only that prerogative, which we see to have been given always to all godly Princes in holy Scriptures by God himself; that is, that they should rule all estates and degrees committed to their charge by God, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Temporal, and restrain with the civil sword the stubborn and evildoers."

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  8. Just a quick note. Chad Gandiya has been elected the new bishop of Harare. He formerly served at All Saints East Lansing, MI and is a class act. Expect good things.

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  9. Brian F,

    The answer to your quiz is, pretty obviously, (c) "only the things that suit" the Rev. Harris.

    It is a situation much to be preferred that everyone might be an adult about what is transpiring, i.e., accept the simple empirically obvious fact that actions have consequences and when there is serious disagreement about the rightness of actions that have been taken unilaterally, one might expect there to be undesired consequences.

    Such results are often attendant upon what I believe are referred to as examples of the law of unintenced consequences. Now we might expect that adults should recognize these situations. However, experience suggests that expectation will not always be fulfilled, even from those we expect to behave as adults.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

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  10. Perhaps you'll get a chance to ask some of those questions of His Nibs Himself when he graces us with is presence in Anaheim.

    Regarding his visit, an AP reporter asked me what I thought about that a couple of days ago.

    "It's kind of a good news/bad news thing," I said.

    "The bad news is he's coming."

    "The good news is he's coming early enough in the legislative cycle that we'll have time to undo whatever damage he tries to do."

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  11. Absolutely, Martial Artist - so unlike the wide-ranging, free and open exchange of opinion you've come to expect from your Stand Firm experience.

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  12. "The Archbishop of Canterbury is muddling and meddling..."

    Meddling with what? The Visitor is not visiting anyone in the TEC. The gathering has nothing to do with TEC -- it just happens to be in the US. Hopefully you're not suggesting that the Archbishop or his staff cannot set foot on US soil without permission from TEC. We're not talking about a military invasion here.

    I personally don't see what the big deal is.

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  13. Frankly, I cannot see anything remotely monarchial in the Archbishop sending a representative to the ACNA assembly, or in his coming to our own Convention. Perhaps you could be more explicit. What are you afraid he's going to do?

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  14. The gathering has nothing to do with TEC....

    Nonsense. The gathering has everything to do with TEC. Many of these bishops are former TEC bishops or priests, and their expressed goal is to "realign" Anglicanism on North America and displace TEC and the ACoC as the North American provinces of the Anglican Communion. There would be no ACNA had there not been a schism from TEC.

    As for the Archbishop of Canterbury and other bishops of the Anglican Communion being in the United States against TEC's wishes.... If they are in the United States on official Anglican Communion business, then it is at least bad form (if not a violation of canon law...though I'll leave it to canon lawyers to say so for sure) to be in TEC's eccesiastical territory against the wishes of TEC's leadership.

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  15. I really don't think it is wise or healthy to continue to consider ourselves "in communion" with Canterbury - at least as long as Williams is in office. It is clear there is no bond of affection with this man bent on creating his own world church!

    Canterbury has chosen - unwisely, I believe - his friends. We have a duty to remove ourselves, our money and our property from helping him in this destructive spiral. It's time we were very clear that we are not the CofE, we are TEC. We do not require the approval of any foreign church, and we cannot place a sort of political "unity" above justice and righteousness; especially, a unity which seems designed to elevate one man. We were primary in creating the AC, it's time we reigned it in or leave it to die on its own.

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