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Making the conclave look good

That sacred body known as the Crown Nominations Commission, a 16-member committee that meets in secret to choose the next Archbishop of Canterbury to head the Anglican Communion, is deadlocked. Via media Reuters:

After three days of talks behind closed doors in an undisclosed location, officials narrowed the field to three candidates, but will need to meet again to finish the job, the Sunday Times said, citing an unnamed senior cleric.The choice of a replacement for Rowan Williams, who steps down in December, is critical for a church in danger of splitting over divisive issues such as gay marriage and senior women clergy, and facing a rising threat from secularism.The Crown Nominations Commission (CNC), a church panel with 16 members whose chairman is appointed by the prime minister, had been expected to pick a preferred candidate and a second choice on Friday, a church source said last week.The names were then due to be passed to Prime Minister David Cameron and Queen Elizabeth, supreme governor of the Church of England, before an official announcement within days, possibly on Wednesday.In a brief statement, the church said a decision would be reached during the autumn. Officials had previously signaled that it could come as early as next week.

I have read that there are some calls for a synod to elect the next ABC. That sounds like a step in the right direction.

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Veni, Sancta Spirita! (Inspire them to choose a woman.) (In Christ there is no male or female.)Since the Supreme Governer of the Church of England is a woman, a woman Cantuar would be nice, too.

What an ugly word, cantaur. Better left in Latin.

(Agree that "cantaur" (sic) is an ugly word. Cantuar, however, the abbreviation of Cantuaria, the Latin term for Canterbury, is a lovely word. How nice it would be to see the title given to a woman.)----------"Bookmakers have Bishop Welby, 56, as a 6/4 favourite for the post ahead of Bishop James, 61, at 9/4. Dr Sentamu is 4/1." "Sources said Ugandan-born Dr Sentamu, who had been tipped as the Churchs first black Archbishop of Canterbury, was a popular and charismatic leader, but may lack the diplomatic skills for Lambeth Palace." (Good picture of Rowan Cantuar with John Eboracum.) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2210677/Hunt-Archbishop-reaches-...

Would that Abp. Rowan would cross the Tiber. We could use him as pope.

Some critics seem to suggest Dr. Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, is at times too subtle for the situation he is in. His reference to the need of his successor to have the skin of a rhinoceros may be an example. Archbishop of York John Sentamu is the one favored candidate who was born in Uganda, which has a complex history of endemic rhinoceros populations, extinction, and attempted revival. Analogies to the state of the Anglican Communion might be found. (Wikipedia - Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary)

Awkward. Maybe that's why John Ebor looks so angry in the picture.

Did anyone make book on candidates at the last papal conclave? (Would "papabilia" be the term for candidates?)

Of course.http://www.paddypower.com/bet/current-affairs/the-next-popePaddy Power.Who will be the next pope?Where will s/he come from?What will be her/his name?(Burke and Dolan are tied at 25/1.)

Jim P. -- It's one more popular centuries-old Church tradition. Going on in 1503 but subjected to threat of excommunication by the Pope in 1591 (bull still in effect). See Wikipedia - Gambling on papal elections. See Gerelyn (10/1 3:44pm) for where to start today. Chargecards are accepted.

I've been reading about this. Thinking Anglicans has the latest news on it .... http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/I don't think John Sentamu will be chosen, though he's the most recognizable candidate to us in the US - he's just too conservative. I'd like the Bishop of Liverpool. There's a rather wickid but funny video of the crown nomination process and the candidates here .... http://plumsteadletters.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/elect-to-leave.html

"I don't think John Sentamu will be chosen...."Still, he might be the best candidate. Most Anglicans are African (55%) with only 33% British. Sentamu could be a bridge between these two major blocks (indeed, the majority) of Anglicanism. I don't think he would confine himself within African or British limits. As Anglican archbishop of York, he is part of both African and British majorities.

The problem is that there's a huge gulf between the beliefs held by the Aglican Churches in the west and in the Global South on homosexuality. I think it's unrealistic to believe British (much less the American/Canadian) Anglicans will go retro on this issue, especially not to the almost lethal level of repression that exists in some parts of Africa/Asia. It's natural to want to compromise on issues, but I think that's what tainted Rowan Williams' tenure as ABofC - he tried to make everyone happy and actually made no one happy. Andrew Brown has a post that kind of touches on this ... The church's wars over sexuality are coming to an end

The Anglicans will leave the homophobic african bishops out in the cold, which is what they should have done from the start.

"...leave...out in the cold...."Then they will wind up with a confederation of churches, not a communnion. And with the majority of Anglicans African, do you really think that is a good idea for any church? Certainly there is room for some kind of compromise.

I like to think that Bishop Sentamu would be led by the Holy Spirit to rise to the occasion of being the ABC of ALL Anglicans ... and he or whomever becomes ABC will need it.The problem is that you have African bishops who want to criminalize homosexuality ... which England rejected in in 1967.You also have liberal American bishops who are essentially sanctioning a double-standard: allowing sex outside of marriage for homosexuals, but requiring heterosexuals to remain celibate unless they receive permission from their bishops to marry.The Anglican Communion has always touted the Media Via, but what that is is hard to see.

"Would that Abp. Rowan would cross the Tiber."The man may be naive but he is far from stupid."Certainly there is room for some kind of compromise."Do you apply that wish to the Church of Rome as well? I didn't think so."Then they will wind up with a confederation of churches, not a communnion."Reality versus wishful thinking.

As far as I know, the Lambeth resolution of 1998, which says that homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture, is still in force, even though Archbiship Williams (who was not ABC at that time) signed the Cambridge Accord, that upheld the dignity of all homosexual people.Some of the friction comes from the fact that Anglican teaching is based on Scripture, tradition, and reason, and many liberal Anglicans believe that reason has been ignored in the communion's views on women and homosexual clergy.Instead of working within the system through Lambeth conferences, liberals simply went rogue. I feel conflicted about the liberal position, which I personally sympathize with, but which I also understand drove wedges between national churches (perhaps making them even less open to reason at future Lambeth conferences), and created theological chaos for the communion as a whole (e.g., sex outside of marriage is sanctioned for homosexual clergy, but not for heterosexuals). Extending marriage--and marital rules--to homosexuals would solve this problem, but that's going to be an even harder sell at Lambeth.

An advantage to Anglicanism is that they actually feel free to debate and discuss these issues. There is no Grand Poobah who can tell them what is verboten to talk about.Yes, it's messy but at least people feel that they have a place at the table at discussion time."The church isn't a democracy" meme has proven to be far from acceptable to a large portion of the remaining but diminishing rank and file.

The Anglican system seems really good to me - freedom for the different churches to disagree but still be a part of the whole. The failure of the recent Covenant seems to show that most Anglicans don't want a system like ours where everyone has to toe the same line.About the Episcopal Church allowing sex outside marriage for gays/lesbians but not straights, I wonder if the reality is that responsible sex outside marriage is considerd ok for everyone? ... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-astrid-storm/students-of-christianity_...

Crystal --Yes, there are advantages to the Protestant welcoming of all sorts of opinions. Unfortunately, historically their tolerance of error hasn't resulted in the resolution of disputes, but, rather it has resulted in the proliferation of Protestant sects. Sadly, it looks like the Anglicans/Episcopalians are heading for another split.. For all the problems with the pope/hierarchy structure, it does seem to at least keep us concentrated on essentials, and it does allow for slow -- even glacial:( -- improvement of what it teaches. But would that the RCC would learn to value honest dispute and realize that even in honest mistakes there is usually something of value. Yes, it is the function of the popes and bishops to maintain the old formulas and the truths embedded in them and to tell the rest of us, "This is how we understand the best of Scripture and tradition so far, and don't you forget it, and don't you faithful disparage our best efforts". But the hierarchy also need to learn that regardless of the unity and truth of the message of the Lord which they are called on to protect, they sometimes are less than perfect interpreters. That does not deny the continuing help of the Holy Spirit. It only recognizes the slowness of humans to get to the truth.

Hi Ann,There *are* lots of Protestant denominations. I'm not sure that's a bad thing - maybe each has a different way of looking at the truth that allows more people to find God? The magesterium can define and enforce a version of the truth within the Catholic Church, but their decisions don't really necessarily say anything about what is actually true. That rigidity turns away a lot of people who sincerely want to find God, and it makes those who stay but who disagree with Church policies "dissenters". Maybe the Anglican Communion is messy, but maybe they're more honest and less frightened than us.

Crystal -- Speaking of an Anglican "system" suggests some measure of commonality which does not seem to exist. The costs and consequences of the apparent virtues of the "system" are severe. A short commentary from a site which calls itself "The Voice for Global Orthodox Anglicanism" mentions some of the fission in progress while reporting on the Nigerian church inserting a diocese last month in Indianapolis amidst the US competition. http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=1648... One noteworthy contribution the Anglicans didn't need at this point in their history is the Roman intrusion by Benedict XVI via Anglicanorum Coetibus (2009), which seems to cause consternation on both (or all) sides of the fence(s). "Mandated by the Lord Jesus to guarantee the unity of the episcopate and to preside over and safeguard the universal communion of all the Churches", the Pope offers warm welcome to Anglicans. He indicates that, if they are interested, the distinctive Roman Catholic concept of clerical celibacy, which he routinely praises fulsomely and authoritatively, may be less simple than some have believed. One more challenge for an ABC if a willing servant can be found. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/apost_constitutions/docum...

Hi Jack,I'm not an Anglican, so my understanding of all this is at a remove, but I have been visiting their sites for a while and I think I sort of get them, so ...Yes, there are a lot of factions in the Communion: liberals (see Thinking Anglicans and the Episcopal Cafe), and conservatives, like those at the site you mention. I visit the liberal sites, and I see things through their eyes. I agree about the pope's idea of Anglican Ordinariates not helping the Anglican Communion. I think it's a very inecumenical move, a kind of hostile takeover, that is reminiscent of .... Uniatism.

"Do you apply that wish to the Church of Rome as well?"The Church of Rome/Catholic Church is not Protestant. (Catholics work things out through ecumenical councils.) However, there is always room for compromise in Protestant churches (who don't believe in resolving things thought universal councils;too slow, I guess). And if a compromise doesn't work, adherents split to form another church. Those who split never seem to fathom that fragility on both sides of a church dispute (or divide) is the peculiarity of all feuds.

Thanks, Crystal -- The year 2000 Taft lecture to which you link looks like the precise recipe the Vatican imprudently followed for Anglicanorum Coetibus (2009). They apparently did not realize it would be recognized widely in the Christian West for what appears to be its obvious intent to harvest the low-hanging fruit, to put it politely, from an honorable, fairly friendly organization not prepared or organized to resist at present. Among its other hostile effects is an internal one in my view. Media show pictures of proud wives standing by ex-Anglican, Roman Catholic ordinands who are becoming Roman Catholic priests with faculties. Meanwhile, numerous Latin Rite Roman Catholic priests (forever) look on, forbidden to serve as clerics because they married. Persuasively explaining that to a man must be difficult.

"...it would be recognized widely in the Christian West for what appears to be...."What "Christian West," Jack? The invincible giant of the "Christian West" is indifference. INDIFFERENCE! The Lutherans certainly didn't care; nor the Evangelicals, nor the Pentecostals. They make up the non-Catholic sector of the "Christian West" apart from the Catholic Church (and the Anglican Church in the UK). It's like you're trying to preserve the "body" of the "Christian West" (in your argument) without giving it a heart, life. No one cared about Anglicanorum Coetibus outside of the Anglican and Catholic churches the UK. (The Anglicans Use parishes in the States assumed Rome was simply replicating what they had already establilshed in American dioceses since the 1990's.Nothing new!) All told, it was a pseudo-event owing to the Christian West's indifference. A hundred years from now, however, it might turn out to be something signficant, especially when the Chuch of England is disestablished. Time will tell.

james chichetto - The Christian West is described in the Instrumentum Laboris issued in May 2012 in preparation for the imminent Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (esp. para. 85-86). The document identifies papal texts which "indicate the geographic area for the new evangelization, though not exclusively, as primarily the Christian West and identify the persons to whom it is directed, namely, the baptized in our communities.". The document struck me as notable for its references to "Christian" when "Catholic" might have sufficed and its emphasis on the West, though not exclusively, for evangelization. http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/synod/documents/rc_synod_doc_20120619_... Re Lutheran interest, the UK Ordinariate Portal magazine (pp. 4-5) interviewed the head of the CDF Doctrinal Office in March 2011. He said that the CDF was then receiving inquiries from Lutherans. http://content.yudu.com/Library/A1r8v9/96March2011ThePortal/resources/in... The differences between earlier pastoral provision (Anglican Use) and ordinariate are briefly explained by the US ordinariate: http://www.usordinariate.org/faq.html

Jack Barry,Thank you for highlighting the Synod of Bishops. No harm idealzing the "real" Christian West for clarification, among other things. Regarding Lutheran interest -- maybe the Ordinariate among some Lutherans -- a small minority -- will make some "amends" for the Holy Father. I know 23 prominent Catholics and Protestants in Germany recently published an appeal calling for church unity to be established soon, immediately. Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, noted that in only considering the Catholic and Protestant Churches they had too narrow and too nationalistic a view and had underestimated the theological factors that led to the schism.Regarding the Anglican Use parishes vs. the Ordinariate: I consider not so much wherein the two differ as wherein the two agree in the States, UK and elsewhere. Certainly, however, there are differences.

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About the Author

David Gibson is a national reporter for Religion News Service and author of The Coming Catholic Church (HarperOne) and The Rule of Benedict (HarperOne). He blogs at dotCommonweal.