Skip to comments.Archbishop Venables Predicts End Of Anglican Communion
Posted on 04/30/2008 9:15:38 AM PDT by Huber
Delta, B.C. The South American primate who has welcomed dissenting Canadian Anglican parishes into his province says he sees the beginning of the end of the world-wide Anglican Communion.
I believe were in the early stages of divorce, Archbishop Gregory Venables, presiding (national) bishop of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, told a news conference during a meeting of the Anglican Network in Canada from April 25 to 26.
I think there comes a point when a marriage is no longer a marriage and you have to recognize it, he said. But Archbishop Venables suggested that Anglican churches could still stay together in some form. Maybe we can have an Anglican federation, he said.
In an interview with the Anglican Journal, Archbishop Venables noted that air travel and the Internet have radically re-structured international networks.
Were no longer living in a world where everything is done locally, Archbishop Venables said. The church is a little late in coming to that. Instead of insisting on geographical church provinces, hopefully, this will be resolved so we can realign or restructure so everyone can follow their concerns.
Meanwhile, a former Canadian Anglican bishop who is now licensed by the Southern Cone said that the network contacted other foreign primates as possible leaders but aligned itself with the British-born Archbishop Venables because of his background.
We did talk to a couple of primates of different colours, said Bishop Donald Harvey, formerly of the diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, in an interview. But Archbishop Venables was willing to take on the job, is well respected by other primates, and brings few cultural barriers and no language limitations, he said. (Some Episcopal church parishes in the U.S. have aligned themselves with churches in Africa.)
Bishop Harvey, who is moderator of the network, told the conference that Archbishop Venables offer of primatial oversight meant the network would be part of the world-wide Anglican Communion, and, without being under his wing, we would simply be a breakaway group, he said.
Thank you, God, Bishop Harvey added, to loud applause. You have freed us from the bondage that has been holding us back We are free at last.
The conference was attended by about 340 delegates. Network membership includes 15 churches, 10 of which have left the Anglican Church of Canada over theological issues, including the blessing of same-sex unions.
The delegates also heard from theologian Rev. James Packer, who focused on the need for deeper Bible understanding; Bishop Albert Vun of Malaysia; youth minister Ken Moser of St. Johns Shaughnessy church in Vancouver and Bishop Bill Atwood of Kenya.
Mr. Packer called Archbishop Venables presence a watershed, telling delegates the principle of geographical exclusiveness has been breached and I think it has been breached in such a way that it cannot be restored.
Addressing the question of whether the network should encourage more breakaway parishes, Bishop Harvey said, that is categorically wrong. He added that the network has always gone in response to an invitation.
At a two-hour service on April 26, Archbishop Venables commissioned Bishop Harvey and another former Canadian prelate, Malcolm Harding. The three bishops gave Anglican Network in Canada licenses to 29 clergy and four deacons, according to the network Web site.
Archbishop Venables told the Journal he felt an April 21 letter from Archbishop Fred Hiltz, the Canadian primate, asking him not to come to Canada was little more than a gesture.
I didnt get the letter until one of the (Canadian) reporters read it over the phone, he said. It came through on my fax the next morning and that shocked me.
Archbishop Hiltz could simply have picked up the telephone, Archbishop Venables said. I would have talked about it.
However, he added, the matter has nothing to do with the Anglican Church of Canada. These people (the members of the network) didnt approach me until after they had left.
Archbishop Hiltz was out of the country and could not be reached for comment. Archdeacon Paul Feheley, the primates principal secretary, said efforts were made by fax and e-mail to deliver the letter to Archbishop Venables first.
As for picking up the telephone, it seems to me that if you are a foreign primate visiting another country, the onus is on you to pick up the phone and call the primate of that country, said Archdeacon Feheley, adding that no one from the network informed Archbishop Hiltz office that the South American primate was coming.
Archbishop Venables said he has talked to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, about his actions. Im not seeking endorsement but we have open dialogue. But he stopped short of divulging details. It was a private conversation.
Archbishop Venables, who is 58, was headmaster of an Anglican college in Paraguay before his ordination in 1984. As bishop of Argentina based in Buenos Aires and primate since 2001, he oversees seven bishops and about 30,000 parishioners in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.
The ANiC congregations constitute less than one per cent of the 2,800 parishes in the Canadian church. But Archbishop Venables is confident the network wont wither away.
Its got a future because this small group here is in common with the vast majority of the Anglican church, including Africa and the global South, who dont have a western cultural mindset, he said.
Anne Fletcher is a writer in the diocese of New Westminster.
Naturally there will be further splintering. The
make-it-up-as-you-go just is not working out.
Some might even swim the Tiber...
I believe were in the early stages of divorce,
Well, it did start with a divorce didn’t it?
The Continuing world today is marked more by reunification than splintering. Several Continuing jurisdictions have already merged and others are in the process. Straight-line predictions from older history just won't make it as new folks take charge. (My own archbishop hears frequently from me on the desire for reunification, and every step in that direction I roundly applaud.)
And never has. That's why you have Protestants.
Sad! The end of the greater Church of England is directly due to the lack of discipline of priests and bishops (i.e. Vickie Gene). Church of Rome had its trials and tribulations with pedophiles but seems to have weathered the storm, thanks in part to a strong pope who has stated that he will not tolerate homosexuals in the pulpit. The Anglican Communion could take a lesson here.
Some have, and a lot have swum the Bosphorus as well.