Friday, June 16, 2006

Jim Naughton's thoughts on the General Convention

Naughton, the communications director for the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, has some interesting thoughts (6/16) on what's happening at a very high level at the Episcopal General Convention [emphasis mine]:

John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, who seems like a smart and subtle fellow, is pressing our bishops to enact full moratoria on the consecration of non-celibate gay bishops and on the blessing of same-sex relationships. He is meeting with various bishops, in smallish groups, I think, to press his case.

Those of us who were in the second floor bar of the Hyatt last night along about midnight (that was ginger ale in my glass) saw him walk through in the company of Bishop Jon Bruno of Los Angeles, an interesting site because Bruno is built like a tight end, and Sentamu like a marathoner.

His argument, as I understand it, goes something like this:

(A caution here: I haven’t heard this directly from the Archbishop, and some of what people are portraying as his argument may be their own developments on his thinking).

If you don’t enact full moratoria, several things might happen, none of them good: either you will be marginalized within the Communion, or the Communion will have to cope with intra-provincial splinters as the Akinolians attempt to assemble an orthodox international fellowship.

On the other hand, if you vote for moratoria, you will be on the right side of Windsor [pdf] whereas Akinola of Nigeria, Orombi of Uganda and Venables of the Southern Cone, among others who have crossed your provincial boundaries to lay claim to parishes or start churches, will be on the wrong side, and then they will be the ones subject to whatever discipline it is that the Communion can muster.

In addition, if we accept the moratoria, we buy ourselves time, the argument goes. Akinola won’t be a primate forever, and Orombi’s has a weak hold on his bishops’ loyalty (north-south tensions in Uganda). If the Communion outlives their tenures, perhaps the storm will pass.

Looking at this argument strictly in tactical rather than moral terms, I don’t find it persuasive.

Read the whole thing to find out why.

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