Thursday, May 18, 2006

An odd kind of schism

I don't normally comment on the current political crisis within the Anglican Communion, but I have argued in the past that the threat of schism prevents conservative Anglicans from criticizing their favorite Nigerian Archbishop. So, any news about the form that such a schism might take or about when it might take place is of great interest to me.

The Telegraph (UK) reports today on Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan William's recommendation that the Anglican Communion be realigned along a two-track system:

The proposals, which have parallels with the idea of a two-speed European Union, could permit liberals from North America to push ahead with divisive reforms such as homosexual bishops without destroying the Church.

But they could also allow conservatives from Africa and Asia to form an influential inner core that would edge out the liberals from positions of power and reduce them to a second-class status.

... The idea will, however, be greeted with huge suspicion by liberals who will fear that it could be used to marginalise them and hand control to the conservative majority.

Conservatives, meanwhile, may see the plans as an attempt to buy their compliance at a time when they are demanding the expulsion of the liberal American Church for consecrating Anglicanism's first openly homosexual bishop.

To be honest, I don't understand this at all. Readers of TitusOneNine (hat tip) are equally perplexed.

My question is whether this will relieve enough of the pressure on conservatives to stay in lock step with Archbishop Akinola to allow them to criticize him for his endorsement of legislation that would put gay and lesbian Nigerians over a theological disagreement. I doubt it. But we'll see.

1 comment:

Daniel said...

If something is worked out for a "two-speed" Anglican Communion, where would that leave conservatives in ECUSA churches?

If they're talking about the US Episcopal Church going forward with openness towards gays and consecrating/ordaining women and gay clergy, while other parts of the Communion proceed on their own paths at their own pace, where does that leave conservatives in more liberal (gay friendly) churches?