A Statement by the Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion on the Windsor Report
by John Hepworth
I react with anger and deep hurt.
My representations at every level of the Anglican Communion from the Archbishop of Canterbury to local Deaneries have attempted to convince the Communion that there are already hundreds of thousands of Anglicans feeling deep alienation from their Church. That alienation has now been immeasurably deepened.
The Report achieves a number of notable results:
* It ends the "Period of Reception" of women as deacons, priests and bishops by claiming that this innovation has been achieved "without division." * It suggests that this process is a model for the discernment of a church policy on homosexuality.
* It trivialises the destruction of Unity with the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches, while upholding Unity as the most significant attribute of the Anglican Communion.
* It upholds a form of alternative episcopal oversight already condemned by every group that has sought oversight as a matter of conscience.
* In doing so, it trivialises individual conscience for the sake of crude conformity masquerading as unity.
* It creates a new Anglican understanding of the Church, in which there is no longer any point of reference to the existence of a Church beyond Anglicanism.
This Report is a triumph for the agenda of Affirming Catholicism (one of whose founders was the present Archbishop of Canterbury) which sought to remove the issues of womens ordination, homosexuality and unity with Rome from the Anglican agenda.
In creating an Anglican gulag, an invisible and nameless group who cannot in conscience accept Anglicanism's abandonment of Catholic order and sacramental practise over the past thirty years, the Report owes more to Stalin than to Christ. Those who are already under persecution-- the priests being expelled from their parishes (or already expelled) and the people driven from their parishes--find absolutely nothing in this Report - not even an awareness that they exist. It is an invitation to further marginalisation for those still within the Anglican Communion, and a fierce rejection for the Continuing Churches who exist beyond its borders.
We in the Traditional Anglican Communion have drawn closer to those borders in recent years. We have always claimed to be in communion with those Anglicans whose faith is traditional and orthodox. We have offered ourselves as servants to those who hurt, so that a healing, sacramental life could be sustained during the process of "doctrinal discernment."
Instead, as we became visible we have been shelled and bombed. Offers of pastoral service have been rejected, leaving the wounded to their own devises.
Earlier in the year, I assured the Archbishop of Canterbury that this Communion would not consecrate any new bishops to exercise alternative oversight until the contents of this Report were known. I have kept that promise. So complete is the rejection of our pastoral ministry, so complete is the denial of our existence, that that offer is now terminated. Next Sunday, bishops from Japan, Africa and Australia will join in consecrating bishops for indigenous people who have been ridiculed for their adherence to the faith they received with joy only decades ago. Other consecrations, for churches in the United States and Australia, will follow.
Twelve years ago, when the last great Anglican crisis of conscience occurred, Anglican Catholics looked to Rome for the unity and authenticity that had been snatched from them. Many made that journey, often alone. The twin goals of achieving Christian unity and continuing the Anglican tradition are now more clearly understood on both sides. Once again, retreat from Canterbury turns one towards the Alps. Next week, we will submit to the Holy See our Communion's response to "The Gift of Authority".
Any healing must begin with a diagnosis of the disease. Sin can only be forgiven by confessing it and seeking forgiveness. This Report is produced by a Communion in denial, seeking neither diagnosis nor forgiveness. The language of apology is not the language of contrition. The language of diplomacy is not the language of God.
I cry for an Anglicanism once again driven to the wilderness.
Archbishop John Hepworth is Primate of the Tradtional Anglican Communion, the largest Continuing Anglican body.
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