22 February 2007

Meaningful Discipline? Credibly Catholic?

Jordan Hylden has written a very fine summary not only of the recent Primates Meeting and its results, but also of how we got to this place and of the ad hoc, developing nature of the Anglican Communion and its "polity" (the irony quotes are too very apt in our case). Hylden also puts the best possible spin on the Communion's ecclesiological substance - a good balance to cynics like, say, me.

“We came very close to separation,” said Archbishop Gregory Venables of this weekend’s meeting of global Anglican leaders, “but Biblical doctrine and behavior have been affirmed as the norms in the Anglican Church.”

It could have gone the other way, and for a time it looked as if it would. But, in the end, Anglican conservatives everywhere breathed a collective sigh of relief on reading the strongly worded statement issued unanimously by the Church’s thirty-eight primates, which bluntly called on the Episcopal Church—the province of the Anglican Communion in the United States—to reverse its course or face expulsion. Of course, it remains to be seen whether or not the liberal American church will decide to comply. But by avoiding schism and enacting meaningful discipline upon one of its errant members, the Anglican Communion proved itself to be a reality with substance rather than the failed experiment many feared it had become. Today, concluded the theologian Philip Turner, “Anglicanism remains a credible expression of Catholic Christianity.”



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