Skip to comments.Responding to Episcopalians, Archbishop of Canterbury proposes ‘two-track’ church
Posted on 07/29/2009 7:51:46 AM PDT by NYer
.- Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, head cleric in the Church of England, has responded to the Episcopal Churchs decision to allow the ordination of homosexual bishops. Saying that a change in Anglican teaching, if necessary, would require broader agreement, he proposed a two-track church structure which recognizes two ways of being Anglican.
On July 14, the Episcopal Churchs General Convention voted to approve homosexual bishops. It was seen as a rejection of the Archbishop of Canterburys and the Anglican Communions call for a moratorium on the practice.
Writing in a July 27 document titled Communion, Covenant and our Anglican Future, Archbishop Williams said the wording of the resolution showed that it did not want to cut its moorings from other parts of the Anglican family. The two most controversial resolutions, he said, do not have the automatic effect of overturning the moratoria on homosexual clergy.
However, he said the resolutions do not suggest the General Convention will repair the broken bridges into the life of other Anglican provinces and have led to the expression of very serious anxieties.
He said the issue is not simply about civil liberties, human dignity, or the freedom of individual Christians to form their consciences.
It is about whether the Church is free to recognize same-sex unions by means of public blessings that are seen as being, at the very least, analogous to Christian marriage, he said.
Based on the Christian Churchs consistent reading of the Bible for two millennia, the archbishop said, an innovation would require the most painstaking biblical exegesis and a wide acceptance of the results within the Communion.
This is not our situation in the Communion, he said, noting that persons living in homosexual unions cannot represent the Anglican Church without serious incongruity.
He also counseled Anglicans to recall how a local church decides on a sensitive and controversial matter so as not to be completely trapped in the particularly bitter and unpleasant atmosphere of the debate over sexuality, in which unexamined prejudice is still so much in evidence and accusations of bad faith and bigotry are so readily thrown around.
Noting past Christian errors, he also warned about the danger of a local church simply becoming isolated and imprisoned in its own cultural environment.
He suggested the possibility of a twofold ecclesial reality, with a covenanted Anglican global body fully sharing a vision of how the Church should be. To this would be joined in less formal ways associated local churches in various kinds of mutual partnership.
Rather than a two-tier system, he suggested, this is a two-track model with two ways of witnessing to the Anglican heritage.
The ideal is that both 'tracks' should be able to pursue what they believe God is calling them to be as Church, with greater integrity and consistency, he continued.
It helps to be clear about these possible futures, however much we think them less than ideal, and to speak about them not in apocalyptic terms of schism and excommunication, he said, stating that they are two styles of being Anglican.
All of this is to do with becoming the Church God wants us to be, for the better proclamation of the liberating gospel of Jesus Christ, the Archbishop of Canterburys document concluded. He said the present situation should be seen not as an unhappy sent of tensions but rather an opportunity for clarity, renewal and deeper relation with one another and with God.
The Archbishop of Canterburys conciliatory statement contrasts with the response of prominent biblical scholar and Anglican Bishop of Durham N.T. Wright, who said the Episcopal Churchs recent decision formalized a schism and marked a clear break with the Anglican Communion. Bishop Wright also criticized those Episcopalians who have long embraced a theology in which chastity, as universally understood by the wider Christian tradition, has been optional.
Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be "tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine", seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one's own ego and desires.
Homily of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger prior to the Conclave.
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Why don’t they just write a new “Bible”?
They can make it a “Living Document” (euphemism for “Dead Letter”), just like the DemonRATs have done to our U.S. Constitution.
We’ll keep the original Bible as the “Living Word of the Living God”, which cannot be changed, at least not without the dangers expressed in Revelation 22:18-19.
room for two tracks on the narrow path?
Yup. Two ways of being Anglican. I think that's all they want.
Soon it will become part of the popular culture. Two guys sitting in a men's room. One foot sidles over to the other side with a whispered, "Anglican?"
A chance meeting in a bar. A wink and nod with the mouthed response, "Anglican?"
Soon Anglican t-shirts, pro-Anglican marches, Anglican condoms, Anglican singers, and on and on and on.
Yes, I'm being sarcastic. Or am I?
The American church once again gave Canterbury the finger, just as they did in 2003.
And once again, the AB of C is going to jaw-jaw-jaw instead of war-war-war. And the result will be more of the same - he and his office will continue their slide into irrelevance.
While there isn't a LOT he can do to the Americans, since he doesn't have any actual authority, he can (and should) excommunicate (or "disfellowship", if you prefer) the American church and welcome the splinter Anglican groups into the communion instead. But he needs TEC's money, and he has always been afraid to take a stand. He's an academic first and foremost, after all, and in his own mind he's still in that academic bubble where you can say anything but don't, for heaven's sake, ever DO anything.
Now I get it, a "outcome based" Anglican Church of England.
""How many winds of doctrine we have known in these last decades, how many ideological currents, how many fashions of thought? The small boat of thought of many Christians has often remained agitated by the waves, tossed from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism, etc.
Every day new sects are born and we see realized what St. Paul says on the deception of men, on the cunning that tends to lead into error (cf. Ephesians 4:14). To have a clear faith, according to the creed of the Church, is often labeled as fundamentalism. While relativism, that is, allowing oneself to be carried about with every wind of doctrine, seems to be the only attitude that is fashionable. A dictatorship of relativism is being constituted that recognizes nothing as absolute and which only leaves the I and its whims as the ultimate measure.""
“”VATICAN CITY, APRIL 19, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the homily delivered Monday by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger during the Mass “for the election of the Roman Pontiff” in St. Peter's Basilica, before the conclave.
Cardinal Ratzinger was elected today as Pope, and chose the name Benedict XVI.
* * *
Isaiah 61:1-3a. 6a. 8b-9
At this hour of great responsibility, let us listen with particular attention to what the Lord says to us in his own words. I would like to choose only a passage of the three readings, which affects us directly in a moment such as this.
The first reading offers a prophetic portrait of the figure of the Messiah, a portrait that attains all its meaning at the moment when Jesus reads this text in the synagogue of Nazareth, when he says: “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). At the heart of this prophetic text, we find a phrase that, at least at first glance, seems contradictory. In speaking of himself, the Messiah says that he has been sent “to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, on the day of vengeance of our God” (Isaiah 61:2).
We listen with joy to the proclamation of the year of mercy: Divine mercy puts a limit to evil, the Holy Father said to us. Jesus Christ is divine mercy in person: To find Christ means to find the mercy of God. Christ's mandate has become our mandate through priestly unction; we are called to promulgate not only with words but also with our life and with the effective signs of the sacraments “the year of the Lord's favor.”
But what does Isaiah mean when he proclaims “the day of vengeance of our God”? When reading the prophetic text in Nazareth, Jesus did not pronounce these words; he concluded by proclaiming the year of favor. Was this, perhaps, the reason for the scandal that took place after his preaching? We do not know. In any case, the Lord gave his authentic commentary to these words with his death on the cross. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree,” says St. Peter (1 Peter 2:24). And St. Paul writes to the Galatians: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us — for it is written, ‘Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree’ — that in Christ Jesus the blessings of Abraham might come upon the gentiles, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Galatians 3:13).
The mercy of Christ is not a cheap grace; it does not imply the trivialization of evil. Christ bore in his body and soul all the weight of evil, all its destructive force. The day of vengeance and the year of favor coincide in the paschal mystery, in Christ, dead and risen. This is the vengeance of God: He himself, in the person of the Son, suffered for us. The more we are touched by the mercy of the Lord, the more we are in solidarity with his suffering, the more disposed we are to complete in our flesh “what is lacking in Christ's afflictions” (Colossians 1:24).
Let us go on to the second reading, the letter of Paul to the Ephesians. It addresses essentially three arguments: in the first place, the ministries and charisms of the Church, as gifts of the risen Lord ascended to heaven; then maturity in faith and in knowledge of the Son of God, as condition and content of unity in the body of Christ; and, finally, the common participation in the growth of the Body of Christ, that is, the transformation of the world in communion with the Lord.
Let us reflect on two points. The first is the path to the “maturity of Christ,” as it states, simplifying the text in Italian. More concretely, we would have to speak, according to the Greek text, of the “measure of the fullness of Christ,” which we are called to attain to truly be adults in the faith. We should not remain as children in the faith, in the state of minors. And what does it mean to be children in the faith? St. Paul answers: It means to be “tossed to and from and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14). A very timely description!
How many winds of doctrine we have known in these last decades, how many ideological currents, how many fashions of thought? The small boat of thought of many Christians has often remained agitated by the waves, tossed from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism, etc.
Every day new sects are born and we see realized what St. Paul says on the deception of men, on the cunning that tends to lead into error (cf. Ephesians 4:14). To have a clear faith, according to the creed of the Church, is often labeled as fundamentalism. While relativism, that is, allowing oneself to be carried about with every wind of “doctrine,” seems to be the only attitude that is fashionable. A dictatorship of relativism is being constituted that recognizes nothing as absolute and which only leaves the “I” and its whims as the ultimate measure.
We have another measure: the Son of God, true man. He is the measure of true humanism. “Adult” is not a faith that follows the waves in fashion and the latest novelty. Adult and mature is a faith profoundly rooted in friendship with Christ. This friendship opens us to all that is good and gives us the measure to discern between what is true and what is false, between deceit and truth.
We must mature in this adult faith; we must lead the flock of Christ to this faith. And this faith, the only faith, creates unity and takes place in charity. St. Paul offers us a beautiful phrase, in opposition to the continual ups and downs of those who are like children tossed by the waves, to bring about truth in charity, as fundamental formula of Christian existence. Truth and charity coincide in Christ. In the measure that we come close to Christ, also in our life, truth and charity are fused. Charity without truth would be blind; truth without charity would be like “a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1).
Let us now turn to the Gospel, from whose richness I would like to draw only two small observations. The Lord addresses these wonderful words to us: “No longer do I call you servants ... but I have called you friends” (John 15:15). Many times we simply feel like useless servants, and it is true (cf. Luke 17:10). And, despite this, the Lord calls us friends; he makes us his friends; he gives us his friendship. The Lord defines friendship in two ways. There are no secrets between friends: Christ tells us everything he hears from the Father; he gives us his full confidence and, with confidence, also knowledge. He reveals his face to us, his heart. He shows us his tenderness for us, his passionate love that goes to the folly of the cross.
He gives us his confidence; he gives us the power to speak with his I: “This is my body,” and “I absolve you.” He entrusts his body to us, the Church. He entrusts his truth to our weak minds, our weak hands, the mystery of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; the mystery of the God who “so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (John 3:16). He has made us his friends and, we, how do we respond?
The second element with which Jesus defines friendship is the communion of wills. “Idem velle — idem nolle,” was also for Romans the definition of friendship. “You are my friends if you do what I command you” (John 15:14). Friendship with Christ coincides with what the third petition of the Our Father expresses: “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
In the hour of Gethsemane, Jesus transformed our rebellious human will in a will conformed and united with the divine will. He suffered all the drama of our autonomy and, in carrying our will in God's hands, he gave us true freedom: “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39). In this communion of wills our redemption takes place: to be friends of Jesus, to become friends of God. The more we love Jesus, the more we know him, and the more our genuine freedom grows, as well as the joy of being redeemed. Thank you, Jesus, for your friendship!
The other element of the Gospel that I would like to mention is Jesus’ discourse on bearing fruit: “I [ ] chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain” (John 15:16). Here the dynamism of the Christian's existence appears, of the apostle: “I appointed you to go.” We must be animated by a “holy anxiety,” the anxiety of taking the gift of faith, of friendship with Christ, to all. In truth, love, friendship with God, has been given to us so that it will also reach others.
We have received the faith to give it to others; we are priests to serve others. And we must bear fruit that abides. But, what abides? Money does not last. Buildings do not last, or books. After a certain time, more or less long, all this disappears. The only thing that abides eternally is the human soul — man created by God for eternity.
The fruit that abides, therefore, is the one we have sown in human souls, love, knowledge; the gesture capable of touching the heart; the word that opens the soul to the joy of the Lord. So, let us go and ask the Lord to help us to bear fruit, a fruit that abides. Only thus is the earth transformed from a vale of tears into a garden of God.
Finally, let us return once more to Ephesians. The letter says, with the words of Psalm 68, that Christ, when “he ascended on high ... gave gifts to men” (Ephesians 4:8). The victorious distribute gifts. And these gifts are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Our ministry is a gift of Christ to men to build his body, the new world. Let us live our ministry in this way, as a gift of Christ to men! But, in this moment, let us ask our Lord insistently that, after the great gift of Pope John Paul II, he will again give us a pastor according to his heart, a pastor who will lead us to knowledge of Christ, to his love, to true joy.
Ironic. The Church of England piously claimed that there was more than one way of legitimately being “Catholic” when they rejected the “papal Church” in the Elizabethan Settlement. They wanted to be “catholic,” just not “Roman.”
So now, the Piskies spit in the face of the rest of the Anglicans and the arch bishop in Canterbury not so very archly says that the Piskies can be “anglican” in their own way while the other Anglicans will be Anglican in their own way.
Translated: we need the Americans’ money and prestige so we let them do as they please.
Serves the Anglicans right for inventing the fiction that one gets to be “catholic” on one’s own terms, splitting the “catholic” world but denying that it’s been split. So the American Episcopalians get to split the Anglican world on their own terms while denying they are splitting it.
And the archly bishop in Canterbury supinely takes the abuse.
Maybe there was a reason for insisting on obedience to the Bishop of Rome as a sine qua non of being Catholic way back in the 1500s?
I understand WHY they would try this. The Anglican church has tried to take two-track approaches on every bit of controversy in the past. “We can be Catholic without being Roman.” - “We can have High church and Low” - “We can have communion of Real Presence in some church and as Memorial Symbol in others” - I’m not sure I understand why they would think it would work in this case...
That started with Queen Elizabeth, who told her bishops to shut up about some of the Calvinist ideas that were popular at that time, because she wanted the Church of England to be as broad and to include as many people as possible. The so-called Elizabethan Settlement.
On the whole, it worked fairly well. Through much of the twentieth century (and earlier) you had three basic groups of Anglicans: High Church, Evangelical, and Broad Church. And this diversity was accommodated by not defining things too carefully.
But this approach broke down when the crazies took over the Church in England and America. It’s all very well to have a Red Dean of Canterbury, but it’s another matter to have a heretical Archbishop of Canterbury, which is what Rowan Williams is, although at least he tries to hide it. And when Tony Blair recommended that the Queen should appoint him to the job, he knew exactly what he was doing.
In America, the last two leading bishops have been open heretics. The appointment of an actively homosexual bishop of New Hampshire, who had earlier divorced his wife and dumped his kids, crossed a new boundary. It’s one thing to have a bishop come out of the closet and admit to being a homosexual. Oops! But it’s quite another thing to deliberately appoint a flaming homosexual as bishop for no other reason than that he IS a homosexual. That crosses the boundary.
Rembert Weakland was a homosexual Catholic bishop who caused a lot of grief. But he wasn’t openly appointed for that reason. And when the truth became impossible to ignore, he was removed. The Catholic leadership has not acted as decisively as it should, and some bishops (like Weakland) were outright bad, but it has not deliberately promoted heresy and sin in the same way that the leaders of ECUSA have.
Right, how would that work?
Track #1 Apostate Hell Church promoting homosexual bishops, practicing Sodomites, condoning, promoting and blessing homosexual "marriages" etc..., destination: The Lake of Fire.
Track #2 Non Apostate Hell Church, destination: Heaven, maybe IF we are not too apostate.
IMO, you have nailed it right on the head.
Wonder when the Bible and the BCP are going to be subversive.
If you attend one track in one week, and the other track the next, does that make you bi-Anglican?
And saying that ol' Vicki Gene was appointed strictly BECAUSE he was homosexual is quite accurate. I remember somebody saying at the time that if he had left his wife and two little girls to run off with the (female) church secretary, he not only would never have been made a bishop, he probably would have been inhibited and removed from his parish.
Vatican II for liberal Anglicans and Episcopalians?
They are going to need a third tier track eventually.
Those who only make it to the Spring clothing sale and golf outings
can sign on to that.
The Archbishop of Canterburys conciliatory statement contrasts with the response of prominent biblical scholar and Anglican Bishop of Durham N.T. Wright, who said the Episcopal Churchs recent decision formalized a schism and marked a clear break with the Anglican Communion. Bishop Wright also criticized those Episcopalians who have long embraced a theology in which chastity, as universally understood by the wider Christian tradition, has been optional.Thanks to NYer for the ping.
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They should go with a Maglev church, instead.