20 March 2007


Every attempt of mine to characterize the House of Bishops' response to the Primates' Tanzania communique yields something too colorful for a family blog like this one. Anyway, here's the ENS article:
The request came as the second of three "mind of the house" resolutions adopted by the bishops on March 20. The resolutions [full texts here] were debated during the business session scheduled during the House of Bishops' annual spring retreat meeting.
In the afternoon's first resolution, addressed to the Episcopal Church's Executive Council, the House of Bishops "affirms its desire that The Episcopal Church remain a part of the councils of the Anglican Communion" and "pledges itself to continue to work to find ways of meeting the pastoral concerns of the Primates that are compatible with our own polity and canons."
Stating that "the meaning of the Preamble to the Constitution of The Episcopal Church is determined solely by the General Convention," the resolution also declares that "the House of Bishops believes the Pastoral Scheme of the Dar es Salaam Communiqué of February 19, 2007 would be injurious to the polity of the Episcopal Church and urges that the Executive Council decline to participate in it."
The Primates' "pastoral scheme" seeks to establish a pastoral council and a primatial vicar whom the Episcopal Church's Presiding Bishop would name to provide alternative oversight of dioceses -- seven of the Episcopal Church's 111 -- that have requested such a provision.
A third resolution -- a longer text -- enumerates four reasons why the bishops, hoping "we will continue to be welcome in the councils" of the Anglican Communion "nevertheless decline to participate in the Primates' Pastoral scheme for many reasons."
Here's the whole thing.


Blogger Alan said...

One hopes that there will be a minority report out of this.

20 March, 2007 20:32  
Anonymous Scott K said...

They must mean that the pastoral scheme would be more injurious than continued depositions, lawsuits and voided elections.

21 March, 2007 07:25  
Blogger PSA+ said...

They must mean that the pastoral acheme would be more injurious than, say, stubbornly refusing to listen to the godly counsel of their brother bishops, or by working on a theory which states that the Holy Spirit is confined to the General Convention,or by . . . never mind.

The thing that amazes me about the HOB "Mind" is that it refuses to acknowledge in even the most tenuous way that the Episcopal Church might be part of the problem. No - it's the Network, the AAC, Nigeria, the ignorant, "unaccountable" Primates, &c.

21 March, 2007 07:43  
Blogger Thunder Jones said...

I thought that issue of "[replacing] the local governance of the Church by its own people with the decisions of a distant and unaccountable group of prelates" is the most important part of this response. There has been increasing movement to empower bishops to the detriment of the laity in the ACC and now we see the Primates being treated with curial deference. I think that there really is something to say about upholding the English Reformation tradition of local governance.

I also think that boundry violations by CANA, AiMA, et al. are serious and violate any reasonable ecclesiology based on episcopal authority. That crap needs to end and I am glad to see the HoB take a hardline on it.

There is, however, the perpetual failure to recognize that the open acceptance of homosexuals in places of ecclesial authority violates the mind of the majority of the church. There is no place a deference for this in the minds on many of the US bishops and this is a problem. TEC created a huge problem by asking forgiveness rather than permission when it came to the ordination of +Robinson.

TEC ought to apologize for its action based on the manner in which it was done. The most important thing is to maintain the bonds of affection and the conversation that occurs within them. TEC ought to accept a moritorium for the sake of the AC.

In my mind, it is perfectly acceptable for leaders and theologians within TEC to view homosexuality as perfectly acceptable within the Christian faith and it is beneficial to the AC when they articulate this, but to act on it and disregard the rest of the Communion is the failure.

I don't see why you're so down on the document, but I do share your frustration with TEC's unwillingness to repent of its brashness and its ability to hold itself accountable to the full mind of the Communion.

21 March, 2007 10:21  
Anonymous Scott K said...

I find the argument that there is no mechanism for the PB to delegate any of her authority to a Vicar somewhat spurious -- wasn't the original Primatial Vicar idea hers in the first place? It was modified and expanded by the Primates, but it was first proposed by her.

Thunder, I agree with you about border crossings -- which is why I had high hopes for the PV plan, which would have in theory made them unnecessary.

21 March, 2007 11:07  

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