" The Anglican Bishop of Recife, the Rt. Rev. Robinson Cavalcanti, has called for the election of a bishop-coadjutor." So reports George Conger, who is an amazing source of information via his blog. Of course the problem is Mr. Conger sometimes misidentifies people. Cavalcanti was, as Conger later states, " Deposed along with his clergy of Recife by the IEAB for contumacy."
So on one level of thinking, Cavalcanti is not the "Anglican Bishop of Recife," or for that matter of anything. He is the layperson claiming to be the bishop of an Anglican Diocese. But of course there is the problem. Whose determination prevails here?
The Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil says he is deposed. So they believe him to be a layperson now, with no eccleastical authority whatsoever. The Province of origin, the Province of license, has deposed him. That should be enough, yes? No.
Conger reports, "the 2005 legal action has not been recognized by a majority of the wider Anglican Communion, and the Archbishop of Canterbury has long attempted to mediate the dispute. Dr. Williams told a press conference at the close of the 2009 Primates Meeting he had sent emissaries to the two sides and hoped “this would lead to an eventual reconciliation.”
So a majority of the wider Anglican Communion ...what? Primates? Synods? What?
Well, Primates I suppose. I can't believe that church synod after church synod went through the paces of formally recognizing Cavalcanti as a bishop in spite of the deposition in Brazil.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has met with Cavalcanti in the past, and no doubt the work for reconciliation has been ongoing. Good. But we hear nothing of the fact that Cavalcanti continues as a bishop with "provincial" connection with the Province of the Southern Cone. And we certainly hear nothing about him proposing to be an Anglican bishop of anything. But he is received by the Archbishop of Canterbury as a bishop, one supposes. This confuses the matter.
A great deal has been said of the deposition of the former Bishop of Harare, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga. Here there is no question that the Province had every right to depose Kunonga. All the reports from Harare are of his continuing to be despicable in his actions. So good. I am glad everyone recognizes his deposition.
But in Cavalcanti's case, he is touted as the Anglican Bishop of Recife. More, according to Conger, he has spread the work well beyond whatever limits there were to the diocese of Recife in the Church of Brazil. Now he has churches affiliated with his diocese in nine Brazilian states. The Diocese will elect two suffragan bishops later this year. Who will the other ordaining bishops be? From the Southern Cone, from ACNA, from where?
Now with three bishops and a diocese that is growing and spreading, the next step, dear friends is a new Province of Brazil. One so-called orthodox, bible based, Jerusalem declared, etc., ready to join ACNA as a so called "Province in formation."
Cavalcanti is the bishop of nothing Anglican, as it stands. He is deposed by one of the regular paid up members of the Anglican Communion. If the Anglican Communion can not even agree on the mutual recognition of removal of licence and deposition, then what of any positive value is to be done?
It is time for deposed bishops to be recognized as deposed by the whole of the family of churches that comprise the Anglican Communion. Of course we can work for and pray for reconciliation, for the bringing back into the churches of those for whom confidence was lost. But while they are without license, without standing, in their own churches, at least that ought to be held as the case by other churches.
Otherwise, dear friends, there are new Provinces in the making all over the place. Why even in Harare. Don't go there. The mud is deep and the slop is high.