Primates in no mood for US compromise

From the Church of England Newspaper

Number: 5683 Date: Sep 11,

The Episcopal Church could face expulsion from the Anglican Communion, according to highly placed sources who have confirmed to The Church of England Newspaper that about half of the Anglican Primates are prepared to reject compromise solutions to the crisis.

Primates in a Nairobi summit this month, in advance of the Archbishop of Canterbury's October crisis meeting, will be presented with a paper written by conservative American theologians, which calls on the Primates to discipline the American Church after their controversial decision to approve the election of a practising homosexual bishop.

The Archbishop of Canterbury indicated in an article last week that he is prepared to accept realignments and parallel jurisdictions but whether he will contemplate the unprecedented discipline and eventual expulsion of an entire province is another matter.

Nevertheless, the paper commissioned by the Primates sets out the case starkly, that it is public discipline for ECUSA allowing the rest of the Communion to distance themselves from the recent controversial decisions, or the break-up of the Communion itself.

The new paper draws heavily on a corpus of theological material gathered already by conservative Primates in Africa, Asia and South America, including True union in the body authored by theologians in Oxford, and To Mend The Net whose main author was Professor Christopher Seitz of St Andrew's University.

To Mend the Net sets out the model on which the Primates envisage disciplining ECUSA. First, they will issue a call for the American Church to reverse its decisions on same-sex blessings and the appointment of Gene Robinson within a short time frame.

If ECUSA ignores that instruction they plan to reduce the American Church to observer status, while directly interfering in the Province to ensure alternative Episcopal oversight for congregations and dioceses opposed to the Province's policy.

They will then expel the erring Province and form a new Anglican Province in its place.

A summary of the document states: "Without the immediate and forceful disciplinary action of the Primates in response to ECUSA, the Anglican Communion will disintegrate and member Churches will be severely weakened in their Christian witness and ministry.

"Disciplinary action should demand an immediate reversal of general Convention's illegitimate decisions or have ECUSA's bishops face a reduction to 'observer status' in the Communion, to be followed by more severe responses."

In a meeting in the diocese of New Westminster last weekend conservative American and overseas bishops and Primates said that the decisions on homosexuality in both Canada and America could lead to the persecution of Christians in other parts of the world.

"We are becoming a laughing stock," said the Archbishop of Central Africa, the Most Rev Bernard Malango. He argued that Muslims see the issue of same-sex unions as a weakness in the Church.

The Bishop of Pittsburgh said that this very perception of weakness is heating up a competition between the faiths and could lead to mob violence against Christians in some Muslim-majority areas of the world.

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