12/14/2012

Uruguay and South Carolina: The Dream of Drifting away.

The Diocese of Uruguay, part of the Province of the Southern Cone has been at odds with the rest of the Province over the matter of ordaining women as priests. It wants to. The PSC says no. So Uruguay asked the Anglican Consultative Council if it could join the Province of Brazil, its neighbor. It would be a move to a contiguous Province more compatible to its own views.  

The ACC said no. 

I don't know the details of the debate on the matter, but my sense is, I go with the ACC decision realizing that it puts Uruguay in a hard place - having a minority position on a matter of some clear importance to church life. Still, that's part of the point of having Provinces that included a variety of dioceses with presumably diverse opinions on a variety of issues.  It's hard to make nice with people you believe are acting contrary to what justice requires,  and making nice is not in any way the same as doing justice, but occasionally the minority folk end up practicing a kind of loving kindness that begins to reflect God's mercy.  The ACC seems to be suggesting that Uruguay need not like being in the Province of the Southern Cone, but there they are, they will have to love a harder love instead.

The Bishop Lawrence' "Diocese of South Carolina" has left the Episcopal Church (in the really really common sense of the word has abandoned the Episcopal Church. It has not asked permission of the ACC or any other agency of the Anglican Communion to be linked to the Anglican Communion as extra-provincial.  It has not asked any Province to accept it as a member diocese. It is just "out there."


I suppose Bishop Lawrence will hold his flock together for a while with the tempting song that his "Diocese of South Carolina" really is a extra-provincial diocese in the Anglican Communion, but at some point someone besides him will have to say it is.  The ACC seems not to be of a mind to grant diocesan wishes to change provinces at all. And of course ACC has room for extra-provincial dioceses only in remarkable cases anyway, usually by way of the Archbishop of Canterbury / Church of England's recognition of a peculiar situation and the need to provide some  "connecting" link.  There is nothing to suggest that Lawrence's "Diocese of South Carolina" is an extra-provincial diocese of the Anglican Communion.

I suspect the Lawrence brain trust had that one figured out: don't ask, because the answer would be no. Just say it often enough ---"extra-provincial diocese -- and some how that will be enough. 

Life in The Episcopal Church is apparently hard for some holding minority theological positions.  They see the matters at stake as matters of truth, and truth, like justice, is not a mansion with many rooms.  If you don't have justice or truth, then you have injustice and lies. Who wants that?  So at some point those loving justice or loving the truth begin to dream of moving on to better lands.  The dream arises that somewhere out there there is a place for us. (Rousing chorus of "there's a place for us," from West Side Story.)

Of course its a dream. The land of the pure bright glory, the land of justice and truth, these are lands of hope and faith.

And St. Paul gives honor to faith and hope. But in the end, it is Love that wins the day.  

Even here, even the ACC seems to understand. Provinces ought not expect to be "like minded" on every question of faith, practice or doctrine any more that any other manifistation of the Church. And we will have to learn to live with others in love, even when we think them dunderheads, fools or faithless. That learning is called practice, and the changing of their minds (if that be God's will) requires what is called patience.  

Meanwhile, let's pack in the idea that a diocese can simply declare itself extraprovincial in the Anglican Communion.                                                                                                           

8 comments:

Leonard Clark said...

The Anglican Province folks of the Southern Cone are quite the operators in the name of a God they think needs to be defended and fashioned into contemporary understanding by them...first they impose/enclose their jurisdiction on a Diocese in Brazil (still damaged greatly by their unspiritualike attack on provincial unity) and NOW, the very same folks forbid one of their very OWN diocese, Uruguay from joining up with Brazilian Anglican ¨regulars¨! It boggles the mind what these assorted Southern Cone honchos really have in mind for themselves and others at Church and beyond in the Greater Anglican Communion...meanwhile, the Governments of Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and soon to be Chile have signed up for legalizing SAME SEX marriage. Soon there will be no place left for the Southern Coners to hide from reality (society that doesn´t include their shifting sands of puritan double-talking plans for women and LGBT at various levels of Church).

SCM said...

Let's pack in the idea that the PB is free to do whatever she wishes without any canonical authority. Or is this too much to ask for?

And let's pack in the idea that it is good to spend millions of dollars on litigation and call it mission.

Geoff said...

Wait, since when does the Southern Cone not ordain women? They certainly do it in this "contiguous" province all the time. Sauce for the goose?

Lapinbizarre said...

".... let's pack in the idea that it is good to spend millions of dollars on litigation and call it mission." Go tell that one to Mark Lawrence, SCM

SCM said...

I see the GS in toto has called the recourse to renunciation canons what it is: a nullity.

This is the largest bloc in the AC. Will the new ABC try to set this aside? I doubt it. It looks like a new AC is emerging.

SCM

SCM said...

I didn't realise +ML was accessing the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society funds too. Did he take a page out of 815's books?

Answer: No.

SCM

Leonard Clark said...

This is the largest bloc in the AC¨ SCM

Yes, a very large land mass with NOBODY HOME (at the Anglican Church that is)! It's probably the smallest number of Anglicans in a Province anywhere.. only a few parishes in Bolivia and Peru.

Remember, Columbia, Venezuela, Equador, Puerto Rico, Honduras, Haiti, The Dominican Republic, American Virgin Islands are all part of the Episcopal Church/TEC/U.S.A. (not bad in terms of land mass, but WITH attendees -- Haiti being amongst the largest dioceses of the Episcopal Church, Puerto Rico is a well-managed spiritually developed power house! Honduras, huge!). Central America has it's own Province which includes Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala!

SCM said...

L Clark, 'GS' = churches of the Global South.

SCM