Comment

The Anglican Communion owes a vote of thanks to the Church of England Newspaper and to its reporter Jonathan Wynne-Jones. Just before Christmas Wynne-Jones interviewed Archbishop Robin Eames, author of the Windsor Report. Wynne-Jones is an experienced journalist with national credits, a committed Christian and a man dedicated to getting to the bottom of a story and publishing the truth. He is extremely courteous but doesn’t pull any punches and is not afraid to go on asking difficult questions. The interview is far removed from journalistic sensationalism but it is revelatory.

Eames’ tone is, as ever, avuncular and reassuring. To the direct question he is a master of circumlocution and evasion. But even with all these skills on display several things become readily apparent.

1) Those hoping for any discipline of heretical, scripturally disobedient and immoral provinces will wait in vain. The Windsor report simply wasn’t set up to check the liberals.

2) Eames is personally deeply hostile to expressions of the conservative position on the homosexual agenda.

3) Eames primary task was to keep the show on the road. Theological principles play a very poor second fiddle to the maintenance of the Anglican club in the Windsor Report .

It is a framework to deal with all the further divisions inevitably looming.

4) There is much talk of people ‘moving on’ in their thinking, new ‘patterns’, ‘roadmaps’ emerging. Those of us who have been around for the whole sorry failed liberal experiment understand the code perfectly. Traditional Christians should keep trusting and talking and paying up while the liberals continue to ‘push the envelope’ and further cement their deadly grip on power.

5) Eames claims that, ‘We didn’t fudge any of the issues.’ Comment is superfluous.In one area, at least, Eames has got it right.

‘I don’t think’, he says, ‘the Anglican Communion can ever be quite the same again.’

Correct.

And, while refusing to predict the outcome of the Primates’ meeting in February, he lets slip the possibility of a ‘realignment’

Correct again.

If there is to be any survival of Anglicanism as a serious Christian witness in the world then realignment is essential. In England this can only mean a new province – free to preach the Gospel, free to relate to other orthodox provinces and free to engage with the greater Church.

The gulf between Nigeria and New Hampshire, between Southern Cone and New Westminster is unbridgeable. In truth it is the same gulf between the disenfranchised orthodox of England and, for example, Lincoln, Newcastle, Worcester, Southwark, Salisbury, Oxford, St. Albans, Sheffield etc. etc. etc. etc. There is now a real danger that efforts to obscure this sobering truth moved, some time ago, from the disingenuous to the frankly dishonest.

he Mental Capacity Bill has completed the next stage of its troubled journey through Parliament. It has been identified as a device whereby a secularist and materialist Government can introduce ‘euthanasia by the back door’. It is vigorously opposed by Catholic Christians and those concerned with the fundamental human right – to life. Unamended it would, among other abuses, have legalised the murder of a patient by starvation or dehydration.

In the Common’s debate concerned Labour M.P.s were preparing to defy the Government Whip (the other parties left the issue as a matter of individual conscience).when a remarkable thing happened. Government flunkies suddenly leafleted their own benches with a note claiming a deal between the Lord Chancellor and the Catholic Archbishop of Wales to amend the Bill to prevent euthanasia. The rebellion duly collapsed, to the puzzlement of the opposition benches, and the Bill cleared the immediate hurdle.

Several things need to be said.

1) This is a shoddy and dangerous Bill with profound implications for all of us and terminal consequences for the sanctity of life.

2) A Government that ‘whips’ its members in matters of religious conscience and primary principle is abusing its power.

3) A bill of such desperate seriousness should not pass Parliament by sleight of hand.

The R.C. Archbishop of Wales is to be congratulated on his campaign to force the Government to amend (in stark contrast to the quiescence of the Anglican hierarchy) but Parliamentary debate must not be subverted by immoral use of the Whips’ office and the partial distribution of promissory notes up and down the Government benches. Democracy is not enhanced by such evident contempt for Parliament.

he announcement of the election of Fr David Moyer as a bishop in the Anglican Church of America (part of the traditional Anglican Communion), though a possibility for some time, has come as a surprise to many both within and beyond Continuing Church circles.

Fr Moyer is a doughty fighter for the faith once delivered, and a faithful parish priest. Few would deny that the condition of traditionalists in ECUSA is parlous and that the lack of provision for them is scandalous. Moyer and his parish have suffered more than most. But is this the answer? There are legitimate questions which remain to be answered.

How can Fr Moyer continue as the dean of the non-geographical Forward in Faith Convocation in the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes when he is a bishop in another Communion? How can he continue as President of Forward in Faith North America when he has gone ahead with arrangements for such a consecration without the explicit approval of the FiFNA Council? To what parishes, if any, in FiFNA, will he be able to offer Episcopal ministry?

In our view the position taken by the Bishops of FiFNA is one which commends itself to all reasonable people. They have sought Fr Moyer’s resignation both as Dean of the Convocation and as chairman of FiFNA, Such resignations are imperative if the future of those organisations is to be secured.

We wish David Moyer and Rita, his wife, well in their new venture. He will be an asset to the Church which has called him to the episcopate. Our hope is that he will be able to make some significant contribution to untangling the mess which is American Anglicanism. Only time will tell.

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