"The ECUSA and Canada have been given a long rope to hang themselves. They have been asked to consider withdrawing themselves from all representations. If your officer asks you to consider resigning from his position, what does that mean? For me it means go away, I don't want you." - Archbishop Bernard Malango, Province of Central Africa.
"Someone is going to have to say, yes, we were wrong." - Archbishop Rowan Williams.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The Anglican Communion took its first tentative steps this past week to isolate, and in time, separate itself from the moral apostasy and theological heresies of both the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church in Canada.
The presenting issue was not just homosexuality and the consecration of a divorced, non-celibate homosexual to the episcopacy, but the deeper issue of the authority of Holy Scripture itself.
It was an historic moment. The final corner has been turned. The long-suffering Global South Primates who, for years, have tolerated insults to their own theological perspective, finally, but firmly, put their foot down, and with the support of the Archbishop of Canterbury drew a line in the sand and said we will go no further.
The Communiqué (which I have examined at length) http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=2143 looks in detail at all the whys and wherefores. The term "voluntary withdrawal" was the polite language for what went on. Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi (Kenya) told students and faculty at Oak Hill College in London a few days later that he was very clear that the vague and ambiguous wording in the communiqué was not from those for whom English is a second language. The request [for ECUSA and the ACoC] not to attend future Anglican Consultative Council meetings was "the polite way to suspend them from the Communion."
Archbishop Greg Venables of the Southern Cone told VirtueOnline right after the press conference at Dromantine, "read it carefully, read it twice, it is not a fudge." Archbishop Drexel Gomez of the West Indies echoed those words to me saying "there are time lines in this document that will not be ignored by the Primates."
("The Primate of the Southern Cone, made a special trip directly from the Primates' meeting in Newry, Northern Ireland, to Vancouver on Sunday, February 27th to meet with the Essentials leadership and later with a large gathering of representatives of many parishes that have remained faithful to the traditional doctrine of the Anglican Communion.")
And Archbishop Bernard Malango, of Central Africa wrote me saying, "The ECUSA and Canada have been given a long rope to hang themselves. They have been asked to consider withdrawing themselves from all representations. If your officer asks you to consider resigning from his position, what does that mean? For me it means go away, I don't want you."
In short, Frank Griswold and the Anglican Church in Canada have been served notice that "space" and "listening" to gays has limitations and parameters that will not be violated. And the truth is this, the Episcopal Church has till the conclusion of its General Convention in 2006 to offer a full repentance for its actions or face expulsion soon after. The Primates will not wait till Lambeth 2008. If they do it will be a blood bath, and the fighting you saw in 1998 will pale by comparison. And Dr. Rowan Williams told us all at a press conference that he does not want to see that happen.
BUT JUST ABOUT EVERYBODY SPUN the Communiqué to make it mean what they wanted it to mean. ECUSA Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold says it was a win and told the Episcopal News Service, ECUSA's house organ that it gave the communion more "space" to "listen" to the plaintive cries of activist gays and lesbians - favorite words of his.
But Griswold told The Guardian newspaper in London, a pro-gay, leftist broadsheet, "I can't imagine a conversation saying we got it wrong. I can see a conversation saying we should have been more aware of the effect that the decisions we took would have in other places."
Then Griswold added this: "It does not mean that our point of view has fundamentally changed." He also said that he could not guarantee that his church would honor a moratorium - "how ultimately these questions will be answered remains with the community itself" - and he made clear that gay blessings might quietly continue too.
On National Public Radio Griswold made himself perfectly clear again by "contextualizing" the debate. He said that homosexuality was not unique to the US and Canada! The Global South will be all over him on that one. Then Griswold said the issue was really a cultural one, avoiding any mention of what the Bibles says, and deflecting a statement by Rowan Williams who said that ECUSA's "actions have fractured the Communion." Williams said that someone is going to have to say "Yes, we were wrong."
But it won't be Frank Griswold. He said the Global South had to deal with its anger towards the north. Really. If the Global South are so angry, it is precisely because of what the North has done!
Click here for a four minute recording of his comments: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4516378 Or http://www.npr.org/lightningcast/banners.html?rpcontextheight=290&rpcontextwidth=500
So there you have it - no change of course for the Episcopal Church and no repentance will be forthcoming from Griswold or his revisionist House of Bishops. The die is cast.
BISHOP ROBERT DUNCAN (Pittsburgh) leader of the Network saw the Communiqué in quite different terms. He wrote, “The clarity with which the Primates have spoken is breath-taking. Individual provinces do have the freedom to act as they see fit under their various constitutions, but the exercise of that freedom beyond agreed teaching and practice will imperil their standing and participation in the Communion. The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada have been asked to withdraw their representatives from the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) effectively immediately." (See full NETWORK statement here) http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=2122
Duncan himself was visible at a local hotel in Newry just days before the Communiqué came out and with him was Canadian Bishop Don Harvey of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, Episcopal Moderator for the Canadian Network. David Anderson and Cynthia Brust of the American Anglican Council were also visible as was Chris Sugden of the British Anglican Mainstream movement. The Network and AAC have emerged as the major players for the orthodox in The Episcopal Church, making just about everybody else irrelevant. Together these two organizations will challenge ECUSA's liberals and revisionists as never before and they have been emboldened by the actions of the Primates' Communiqué in Ireland. Anderson will roll over to no one, and he is prepared to take on any revisionist bishop that goes after an orthodox priest. Watch for future sparks to fly.
But there is another side of the 'no crossing' of lines by the Primates and it is this. Orthodox bishops like Duncan et al can use this as an excuse not to cross boundary lines, and what happens then to orthodox ECUSA priests and parish property in the next year or so? The whole history of ECUSA's orthodox has been to wait for some event in the future - meanwhile the revisionists roll on.
Only one bishop to date, Tom Shaw of Massachusetts has a different take on the Communique. He told the Boston Globe that the gap is closing over gays in the Anglican Church. He also said he would not abide by any moratorium and disliked what he saw was "scapegoating gays." He's living in fantasy land. The Primates have fired their opening salvo.
The ECUSA "Integrity" organization for gays and lesbians got their oar in by invoking the canons and constitutions of the ECUSA and ACoC and then tried to blame the Global South Provinces for failing "for 30 years to listen adequately to the voices of lesbian and gay Christians." Really. The ECUSA orthodox have been listening for over 30 years to gays and lesbians whine about their behavior, and they have used every General Convention since God knows when, to push for one more stage of acceptance of their lifestyle. The Global South Primates have been steadily "listening" to their whine since 1998. Do ECUSA's sodomites think for a single moment that a vote of 526 to 70 is suddenly going to be overturned or evaporate up in smoke by more "listening?" Nonsense. Words like "space" and "listening" are just Griswoldian buzz words for 'we'll drag this out for as long as we can and beat down the other side till we get our way.'
That day is done. The word now is ECUSA must repent or they are gone. Any way you slice it that is the message. The orthodox Primates of the communion have been endlessly patient, but their patience has run out. They see what is going on. They know that Western Anglicanism is dying; the evidence for which is abundant and well documented. THEY are in the driver's seat not us, and they can call the shots. The face of the Anglican Communion is black, male/female and under 30. They don't look like Frank Griswold. His day and ECUSA's is over. It is only a matter of time.
The last minute exchange of words between Griswold and Williams - just before Griswold left Dromantine - in which Griswold accused Williams of lacking leadership might well be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel's back. It could seal Griswold's fate. You don't tick off the big enchilada unless you have a winning hand and Griswold doesn't.
With what happened at Dromantine this week, the US Network bishops should rise up and bring presentment charges against Griswold, there's plenty of grounds. Will they? It might be counter productive and politically unwise, but what have they got to lose? It will be interesting now to see if the Network bishops, emboldened by the Communiqué, will cross diocesan boundaries to rescue orthodox priests in revisionist dioceses. The pendulum has clearly swung in their favor.
Now an early version of a photo from the Primates' conference has come into the hands of VirtueOnline. The first photograph does not show Frank Griswold, the second one does. See if you can spot Frank's head. The photos are on the front page of the website: http://www.virtueonline.org/
A photo purporting to show the Primates having Holy Communion together at the very end of the meeting was not true. They never did. The chaplain to Irish Archbishop Robin Eames agreed to offer communion to whoever showed up on a daily basis at the Dromantine Center. No Global South bishops ever showed. They had said they would never taken communion from the hands of Frank Griswold or from anyone, including Dr. Williams who had took Eucharist with Griswold. It was koinonia without communion.
VirtueOnline has learned that Archbishop Robin Eames refusal to allow Presiding Bishop Greg Venables of the Southern Cone to preach in his diocese might have been in violation of his own canons and constitutions. Section 10 of the Constitutions on "Visiting ministers of Churches not in communion with the Church of Ireland" reads thus:
"A minister or accredited preacher of such Christian denominations not in full communion with the Church as may from time to time be specified by the House of Bishops may, in such circumstances as may from time to time be prescribed by the House, and with the permission of the ordinary, which permission shall be without prejudice to the normal maintenance of the recognised rules of church order. The ordinary shall be satisfied, before giving such permission, that the participation of such visiting minister is acceptable to the incumbent and the churchwardens (if any) of any church concerned, and that it is not contrary to any provision of the civil law."
Funny thing is the Southern Cone IS in communion with the Church of Ireland and still Venables was denied the pulpit while Frank Griswold of ECUSA was granted one.
I will be writing a full story on the CHURCH OF IRELAND at a later time. In order to get the truth about the state of that church I met clandestinely with an Irish priest. He was so frightened [rightfully] of being seen with me in public, we had to meet at a second floor bar of a nearby watering hole in Newry. You see that is what fear of revisionists and liberals create. What was once the standard (orthodoxy) is now being proscribed by revisionists, and sooner or later they will brook no opposition to their apostasies and heresies.
Among the stories in today's digest is a full analysis of the Primates' Communiqué. If you want to read some dozen or so stories on what happened in Ireland then go to www.virtueonline.org.
IN OTHER WORLD NEWS, the consecration of two TAC bishops in Rosemont, near Philadelphia recently has brought down the wrath of their diocesan bishops.
In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Bishop Charles Bennison got the nod by his Standing Committee to go after the property of the Church of the Good Shepherd, the parish home of Fr. David L. Moyer. Not waiting for the end of the Primates' Meeting--which called on the Episcopal Church (ECUSA) to withdraw from a key consultative body--Pennsylvania's liberal bishop--incensed by the recent consecration of the orthodox rector of Good Shepherd, Rosemont--moved forward with plans to try to seize Good Shepherd's property. See full story http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=2138
Bennison has been on the warpath for some time now and has eyes set on taking out the three parishes - All Saints', Wynnewood, under the leadership of Fr. Eddie Rix; Good Shepherd under Fr. Moyer and St. James the Less lead by Fr. David Ousley. The latter case is currently before the State Supreme Court. The Ultra-liberal ECUSA Bishop immediately jumped into the fray and said he would consult with his Standing Committee to consider whether he would move to seize the property.
That is easier said than done, said John H. Lewis Jr. Moyer's attorney. There is no basis to "seize the property" Lewis told VirtueOnline. "David Moyer was illegally and fraudulently deprived of his status as an Episcopal priest of the Diocese of Pennsylvania that issue is now before the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County. Secondly, the Parish has taken no action in violation of the Canons. Thirdly, according to Bennison, Fr. Moyer has been a lay person since September of 2002. No action was taken. It makes no sense to claim that it is worse for a Bishop to preside at Mass than for a "lay person" to preside at Mass and any attempt to "seize the property" would be in violation of the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania."
"Furthermore," says Lewis, "there are other reasons why such action would be improper and illegal-all of which would be asserted (including possible counterclaims) in the event of any attempt to 'seize the property.'"
And in BRISBANE Australia, Bishop David Chislett was suspended from his parish - All Saints' Church in Wickham Terrace -- by the Brisbane Archbishop Phillip Aspinall because, said Aspinall, he was ordained a member of the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia, which is not a body in communion with the Anglican Church of Australia. See full story at: http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=2132
CORRECTION: In a previous digest I said the religion writer for the Guardian Newspaper was actively pushing the "chicken dinner story" - that is, that African bishops were being 'bought' by orthodox bishops of West, at Lambeth 1998. That was inaccurate. Mr. Bates was not there, it was another reporter. VirtueOnline offers an unqualified apology to Mr. Bates.
ONE OF THE MOST TROUBLING things that came out of the Dromantine talks where VirtueOnline got the scoop and broke the story first about what was in the Communiqué, -- a story that was totally accurate except for the 3-month verses 3-year or less time frame -- was the hits this writer took from a conservative Canadian blogger, CaNN and floated by South Carolina diocesan shill Kendall Harmon, who when they saw the story wrote: "There is a story by David Virtue circulating that should NOT HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED and could jeopardize the agreement that is being worked out by the Primates. If you have already seen the story, PLEASE DO NOT FORWARD IT. More importantly, PLEASE PRAY NOW and fervently that this leaked story would not damage the possibility of an agreement that will honor and glorify God and begin the process of restoration and healing in ECUSA and Canada, etc. Pray that the Lord will work all things for good for His glory in spite of this leak."
This was absolute and total rubbish. Most of the communiqué was already written. My story jump-started the final press/media conference by a few hours. Not to have run the story would have been a failure in my fiduciary obligations to tell my readers what was going on. Let me make it clear that I will never allow anyone from the right or the left to tell me what to write or when to release a story. For these people to make these claims, to pre-empt a story being published is totally unprofessional, unethical, and they were dead wrong. If they had been working for broadsheet publications they would have been instantly fired.
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