1/19/2016

The GAFCON Guy says Episcopal Church is not Sanctions, not Consequences, its Punishment.

The Most Rev Dr Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya and Chair of GAFCON has written to his Church about the Primates Meeting and said this:

"Flagrant violation of biblical teaching has been punished and this meeting has shown that the rebuilding of the Communion is not just a matter for the Archbishop of Canterbury, but a concern for every member Church."

So the Archbishop of Canterbury may say it is not sanctions, but consequences, but the Archbishop of Kenya, who is also the Chairman of the GAFCON Primates is clear - it is punishment. The so-called requirement that TEC be excluded on various levels from engagement with Anglican Communion bodies is a punishment, and the punishing body is GAFCON led, not Canterbury led.

The Archbishop of Kenya has no qualms in telling like it is, or appears, in his eyes. And, he has not doubt that this is only the beginning.  He writes,

"An overwhelming majority of the Primates present voted that TEC should be excluded from all meetings which represent the Anglican Communion and that it should be suspended from internal decision-making bodies, initially for three years."

"The GAFCON Primates, of whom I am chairman, worked hard with other orthodox Primates to achieve this result despite predictions by many that the meeting would be carefully managed to prevent any firm conclusions emerging."

"Initially for three years," is an indication that the ABK clearly believes that this is an initial punishment, to be followed one supposes, by other possibilities in the future.

In the rarefied realms of Archbishops and the like it seems there is a dizzying effect, in which they confuse their standing as servants of the servants of God for some sort of office where they rule with the rod. The problem is, at least according to a Canon Law expert, Norman Doe, not the Primates, not the Archbishop of Canterbury and not even the Archbishop Chairman of GAFCON can require TEC to withdraw its engagement with Anglican Communion bodies.  And, just to be clear, there is NO provision for any Archbishop of any Province, collection of Provinces or the ABC as first among equals for the whole blessed Anglican Communion, to punish  member churches. 

There certainly will be consequences for all churches in the Communion as a result of this whole mess. But when GAFCON calls for punishment we need to put the skunk on the table. 

Archbishops have been known in the history of the Church to have been bullies. And, unless I can be convince otherwise, the ABK is in this instance, as Chair of GAFCON Primates, speaking as a bully.  He has no authority. He speaks with what is in some quarters considered to be a powerful voice, that of the "overwhelming majority of Primates."  But does he? Did the other non GAFCON Primates vote to punish?  I think not.  Sanction, perhaps; reveal consequences, perhaps; but punish, no.  And without authority, the punishing voice can sound loud, but only for a time. After a few moments, the voice is that of a bully.

4 comments:

  1. William Coats20/1/16 10:38 AM

    Hey Mark,
    Get a grip here. To be sure there are no legal grounds for any of this, but the politics, as usual, prevail and they are interesting. The GAFCON crowd goes away happy announcing we have been punished. We and others dodge that. But note Curry did not walk away, which it would be his right to do. Thus the fiction of punishment is maintained. But in fact nothing has changed. We know we won't change and even the GAFCON crowd know this and know as well they cannot prevail on this, even as they feed the firebrands. In fact they know they lost, though they cannot say it. Politics always involves layers of fictions as well as layers of reality. They did not get what they want (namely our expulsion) so they trumpet another kind of victory "punishment." But it is a punishment with no teeth, no really satisfactory outcome. And three years down the road, our side will be stronger, which they also know. In fact it was they who suffered a defeat.
    Bill Coats

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  2. It's interesting to compare the statements of Archbishop Hiltz, who understands what his authority is and is not, with the statements of Archbishop Wabukala, who obviously does not.

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  3. Coats, you ol rascal, great to hear from you! I do have a grip, enhanced by your incisive comments. The punishment is indeed a fiction, which is why I made a snide remark (you do remember those, don't you?) "Ooooh, scared yet?" on the Facebook link to this piece. But I am glad you put it plainly: This "punishment" is without teeth. I was mostly interested in why the use of that language. Directly calling what they did punishment gives us an idea of the sort of thing GAFCON thinks the Anglican Communion should be... an organization that can punish... not encourage, or admonish, or even control, but punish.

    As always you have a mind like a steel trap, and you catch me every time. Love it.

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  4. Of course it's punishment!

    They hate us. Call it what it is. Stop playing so damn nice, guys! They never were our "brothers," they never intended to prayerfully move into understanding with us.

    And they cheerfully kill and harm gays and lesbians without the slightest hesitation. Again, Carrell and his lot are out there playing at martyrs while shaking fists and brandishing every weapon they think they have. Communion? Since when? Family? Only in the most obscenely dysfunctional sense!

    They want gays dead or gone, TEC silent and gone, preferably dead, and a new-and-improved-see-it's-even-better Roman-style church which values quantity over quality.

    The simple fact is, maybe the straights in TEC can continue to "be in communion" with them, but we who are in the glbti spectrum not only can't, but aren't. It isn't communion when people tell you that you're so twisted you don't even have a connection to God (which is what they're telling us with the whole "you are just following your desires" trope), when people insist that they are the spiritual adults and we mere children devoid of comprehension, when they advocate torture (which is what "reparative therapy" is, in fact), when they advocate murder ("cultural differences" but only if it involves bashing gays, not if it means accepting them), when they exclude us, refuse to listen to us - we glbti's cannot be in communion with them. What they do to us is hate, not "misguided love" but hate, and no one has the right to tell us otherwise.

    TEC has to consider that, too. You made a commitment to the gays and lesbians in your midst, and you have to decide whether it is better to passively allow them to continue being hurt in this association or stand up and deliver on the commitment. If this were about a race being excluded and vilified, TEC would be in a state of high righteous anger, defending - as those in the position of ordained clergy and elected deputies should! - members of their community. So, is we is, or is we ain't? You made us a promise.

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