Is the Anglican Communion imploding of itself?

Events are occurring with great rapidity.

  • The Diocese of Uruguay has petitioned to leave the Province of the Southern Cone. This is in response to a failed proposal to allow the ordination of women in that province on a diocese-to-diocese basis. Mark Harris points out how very different that diocese is proceeding in leaving its province than those dioceses of the Episcopal Church have tried to depart. If their petition is refused, they will appeal to the Anglican Consultative Council. Whatever happens, it’s a reminder that “realignment” works both ways. Fr. Jake points out the irony of a diocese petitioning the Province of the Southern Cone to leave, after the Southern Cone has attempted to poach dioceses from the Episcopal Church
  • Those “flying bishops” who are flying to Rome continue to generate comment. The great historian of English Christianity Diarmaid MacCulloch has written incisively about the absurdity of the original scheme to provide episcopal oversight to those who rejected women’s ordination in the Church of England. Here’s MacCulloch on the perspective this group represents:

They represent one faction, which those of us who enjoy grubbing in historical byways term ‘Papalist Catholics’. For about 150 years this group among High Church Anglicans have performed athletic intellectual gymnastics about what the Church of England actually is. They ignored the fact that it had a Reformation in the sixteenth century, and turned their churches into meticulous replicas of whatever ecclesiastical fashions the Roman Church decided to adopt, while equally ignoring the fact that successive popes considered their clerical status ‘absolutely null and utterly void’. Now they are thrilled to find that the Pope was wrong all along, so they can after all be received on special terms into the ample bosom of the Western Church of the Latin Rite (which is in the habit of arrogating to itself the more general title of the Catholic Church).

  • Another report mentions “50 clergy who are joining the Ordinariate.”
  • And the Anglican Covenant debate is heating up in the run-up to Church of England’s General Synod. Thinking Anglicans has links to the latest entries in the debate. On this side of the pond, the Episcopal Cafe links to presentations past and more recent, by Cheryl H. White, canon theologian for the Diocese of Western Louisiana. From what I can tell, it seems to be arguing that the Covenant is rooted in the Elizabethan Settlement, an attempt to use the Elizabethan Church in support of the Covenant, just as the no-covenant folk use Hooker to oppose it. As I argued with regard to that, let’s debate the covenant on its merits, not on its imputed historical or theological precedents.

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