The Anglican Church of Canada towards schism

Or Genuine Traditional Anglicans’ Reclaiming Orthodox Christiandome

By Rev. J. C. Martin, Rector, St. Jose de Gracia Cathedral, Mexico.

 

“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”.

 

Bishop Michael Ingham of New Westminster has made the point in favour of theological orthodoxy in his “Reclaiming Christian Orthodoxy”delivery to the Halfway Lambeth meeting last year, and he has intellectually defeated Neoanglicanism. Now after the Windsor Report our task as traditional Anglicans is to make the point for ecclesiological orthodoxy, now that Neoanglicanism claims the existence of a disciplinary (and unanglican) uniformity and demands an unorthodox conformity to it.

 

I Foedus as covenant.

There exists a confusion of meaning of confederation and of federation. A confederation is a loose grouping of autonomous states, organisations, tribes, (or churches), etc., which do not share anything resembling a central government with reserved permanent powers to it. Examples of confederations are The United States in Congress Assembled 1871-1878, the Confederation of Independent States -after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the British Commonwealth (Canada should not be defined as a confederation). In a confederation all decisions taken by a weak central government without legislative powers are subjected to revision and approval by each of the confederated members which retained their sovereignty (specially the legislative one) and in which real power resides. Meanwhile, a federation is a grouping of states, organizations, tribes, (or churches), etc., which have rendered permanently some relevant powers (or a great deal of them) to a central administration that has legislative powers to create laws paramount to those of the federated members. Clearly the Anglican Communion is a confederation.

 

A confederation may have a formal arrangement in which some powers (never a legislative one) and jurisdictions are allocated to the central administration and reserved to it; in a federation there is always a formal arrangement in which some jurisdictions and powers are assigned to the central government and others to governments of the federated members. Members of a federation do have legislative powers but subject to the laws created by the central government whose legislation is paramount to all levels of the federation. What happens whenever an unforeseen aspect of social communal life appears onto the scene and there is no provision as to under whose jurisdiction (the central government’s or the federated states’) that aspect is to be placed?  

 

Residual Clause

The residual clause is a formula by which all new aspects, never contemplated at the time of the drafting of a constitution, pact, or covenant (foedus), are automatically allocated to either level of government. Residual clauses may strongly favour one level of government over the other. Traditionally the residual clause in North America has been understood as a decentralizing factor while in Europe it has been understood as a centralizing element. A residual clause does not always have a clear formula to overcome differences amongst branches of government (the ongoing struggle in Canada on this matter), but even with a clear-cut residual clause governments may find themselves in a bitter battle over the implementation of new laws and administrative powers and agencies (as the current case in Spain). However, traditionally in a federal model the residual powers are to be allocated to the central government while in a confederal model these powers are to be allocated to the members of the confederation. It is relevant for the Anglican Communion and each of its members to understand this because at provincial level it can have legal implications as to property and financial assets.

 

Our History.

The history of the North American churches is illustrative. Archbishop David Crawley has rightly pointed out that when General Synod was created its powers and those of provincial synods were defined, and all residual powers stayed in the dioceses [the underline is mine].That means that if an issue arises which is not clearly designated either to the General Synod or to the provincial synods, it falls to the individual dioceses to make a decision [the underline is mine] unless “the mind of the church” deems otherwise. He notices that General Synod is clearly responsible for matters of doctrine, and worship[1].

 

It is clear that there are some residual powers given to the General Synod in matters of doctrine and worship. So even if New Westminster had the canonical right to authorise the use of an occasional service, it would not mean that canonically it has the right to change doctrine. Of course New Westminster is not attempting to change doctrine, but where is the Anglican Church of Canada heading? Is it moving to place committed same-sex couples within the frame of Christian marriage either by extension or by a more profound understanding? Or is it moving to redefine marriage and if so, does the Canadian Church have the canonical right to do so?

 

II Anglican Confederated Communion

The Anglican Communion is a confederation and therefore its residual powers reside in the ecclesiastical provinces of which it is composed. The general synods of each province are the legislative bodies that produce the corpus of Anglican canon law (in some cases alongside the ecclesiastical –secular- laws of the land, i.e., England, Australia, etc., that regulate the regional or national church in its relation to the civil State). It is clear that the subsidiarity principle favours the provinces. A question arises here: Which agency is empowered to declare a province out of communion either by disassociating it from the rest of the provinces or by withdrawing recognition as an Anglican province?

 

It is clear that the ACC carries functions of coordination and advice. However, in recent times there have been situations in which, by practice, the powers or prerogatives of the international agencies of our Communion have grown in the face of demands for intervention, in situations for which there were no provisions anywhere at a provincial level: Rwanda was torn apart by a civil war in 1996 and four bishops including the Primate went into exile and refused to go back to their sees. The provincial general synod attempted to declare those sees vacant and to call for the election of new bishops, but it faced the opposition of the delegates from the vacant dioceses, and the self-exiled bishops warned they would not give recognition to the new bishops. In an unprecedented action the synod decided to appeal to an external authority. The ACC finally “recognised” the sees as being vacant, and were “urged to initiate legal proceedings to elect bishops for those vacant sees”.[2]

 

Neoanglican Curialisation?

The tendency for a central authority saw Lambeth 1998 asking for a more active role for the ACC,[3] and for the Primates Meeting, so it could “intervene in cases of extreme emergency” for which cases “there is not some internal solution within the provinces.”[4] The same resolution directed that one of the new powers of the Primates Meeting would be to “provide directions over the limits to Anglican diversity in submission to the sovereign authority of the Holy Scripture, [or to an unanglican literal interpretation of the Bible we must say] and in loyalty to Anglican formularies and tradition”. The exercising of these responsibilities by the Primates Meeting would have to imply moral authority calling for a quick acceptance throughout the entire Communion. But what if there is not such acceptance? Would the Primates refuse to recognise the liturgical rites, ordinations, and elections of the “rebel” provinces? Would the Primates excommunicate them?

 

We may foresee that in the years to come the residual powers of the Anglican Communion will be adjudicated to the instruments of unity[5]. There already exist the jurisprudence for this (in the case of Rwanda) and there are already the written conditions for this: the Province of Central Africa turns any question as to its adherence to Anglican principles to the ACC and the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Province of West Africa imposes to itself the principle of not altering the fundamentals in processes that could be deemed by the Primates Meeting as contrary to the terms of the Communion [6] (In 1953 with the consent of the Archbishop of Canterbury diocesan bishops of five West African dioceses decreed and declared their dioceses united in the Province of West Africa. Their constituent Provincial General Synod passed a Constitution again with the approval of the Archbishop of Canterbury in order for it to come into effect)[7].

 

 

The Primates Meeting, a modern Hydra?

At the meeting of the Council of the General Synod to decide about withdrawing the Canadian delegates’ participation from the next meeting of the ACC, archdeacon Dennis Drainville of Quebec warned of the "need to represent the interests of our church", adding that the "breathing space" being called for by the Primates was unnecessary: "Breathing space for what? The reality is there are those people who have already decided the issue."[8] For his part Bishop Ingham expressed that acceding to the primates' request could open “the floodgates to future demands”. "It won't be the last request that will be made of us".[9] Reason is with Bishop Ingham because within the Neoanglican understanding of communion and ecclesia there is no place but for repentance and penitence….or else, and traditional Anglican polity is with Ingham as well because, as the faith, worship and ministry committee of the Canadian Church has said: “existing ecclesiological and synodical structures, in dioceses and provinces and within the Communion, are being pre-empted” by the primates’ recommendation, and furthermore: “Authority is being extended to bodies that goes beyond that constitutionally allocated to them”.[10]

 

A lucid reflection by Bishop Sergio Carranza, auxiliary of L.A., might enlighten the issue: “We must be on guard against idolising the Primates Meeting, all idols end up asking for sacrificial victims.” [11] Are we to sacrifice some to a new international Anglican agency such as the Primates Meeting? The decision as North American Christians rests in our own hands and not on any ecclesistical leadership alien to our reality.

 

III Mutual Accountability

Mutual Accountability has been a mark of Anglican ecclesiology. Unfortunately this has not always been practiced. 

 

In June 2001 the Virginia Theological Seminary organised a Conference on “Church government and episcopacy in different cultural contexts”. Acknowledging widespread corruption, abuse of power, and lack of democratic values and excessive centralisation in African and Latin American dioceses, the conference recommended “a revision of provincial constitutions and canons to ensure solidity in the performance of synodical governments”... Participation in the elaboration of the synodical topics, available information on those topics, rules to limit episcopal veto, mechanisms to allow the standing committees to examine the placement and deposition of clergy, etc. [12]

 

In some articles for the national and diocesan magazines of the Mexican province I defended the mutual accountability concept, warning of the need for its implementation lest some bishops would rob the church from its assets. A year later two bishops including the primate were deposed by the General Synod on account of rampant corruption (legal prosecution and attempts to recover the stolen assets were suspended); last year the bishop of Ecuador Central (a diocese of the USA Church) was suspended by the American house of bishops for refusing to allow officers of the Primate’s office in N.Y. to conduct an audit on the diocesan finances.[13] Needless to say that all this is possible for want of a synodical culture in Latin-American dioceses; and this while Neoanglicanism wants to implement structures so to “enhance and monitor sinodality throughout the Communion”.[14] Would Neoanglicanism be willing to make sure that many Latin-American bishops cease attempts to impose their successors to their dioceses through manipulation and violation of canon law? Would Neoanglicanism see that elections for diocesan bishops be held after the retiring diocesan bishops leave their offices? Would Neoanglicanism be willing to see that members to standing committees are elected by secret ballots? Would Neoanglicanism see to it that bishops are really accountable to synods for the diocesan finances?

 

The concept of a Church that is “episcopally led and synodically governed” dates from the sixth ACC meeting[15] - as a reaction to a previous definition of authority based on Roman Catholic ecclesiology by the previous ACC meeting[16], yet this concept has been present in Anglican polity through the mutual accountability principle. We shall see what Neoanglicanism wants to do with the mutual accountability principle.

 

Polity and Doctrine, Discipline and ecclesiology

In the same way that Anglican liturgy reflects Anglican doctrine and theology, the Anglican polity reflects, or should reflect, Anglican discipline and ecclesiology.

 

In aspects of doctrine our polity serves primarily for the purpose of deterring heresy and error by means of mutual accountability. First comes the error in doctrine and as a consequence comes the corrective disciplinary aspects of Anglican polity, and this even recognised in its historical dimension[17].The question here is whether or not the undertaking of same-sex blessings (a matter of discipline) changes doctrine and is heretical, rather than whether or not several doctrines are integral to theological (doctrinal, not disciplinary) consideration (which is again doctrinal) of the blessing of committed same-sex unions (which is primarily disciplinary and liturgical but not doctrinal –I agree in principle with the Cadman Report).

 

There is however a relevant factor to be taken into account (in spite of section 24 of the Windsor Report[18]): If same-sex blessings and ordination of women affect the faith of the whole Communion, how then can it be explained that there is no clear division on these matters in the USA to a degree that would menace the unity of the Church in that country? Taking a vote is not the best way to resolve faith controversies, but we can not overlook the fact that women’s ordination and blessings of same-sex couples have been a topic of disagreement more between provinces than between dioceses. It is evident that there has been a degree of consensus of the faithful of the provinces that have approved the practices we have mentioned. This is not theologically an irrelevant factor. Perhaps the Holy Spirit was with bishop Ingham when he withheld the go ahead to same-sex blessings because there was not enough consensus amongst the faithful of his diocese (perhaps even recognising that at provincial level the Canadian Church “is still in a process of discernment and is not at present of one mind” about matters of sexuality, as the Committee on Faith, Worship and Ministry of the Church recognises.[19]).

At this point we should remember that Primates, Metropolitans and Archbishops, serve the bishops and dioceses of their provinces without imposing their particular points of view on doctrine and on ecclesiastical practices, having auctoritas on these last aspects, and jus only on administrative and disciplinary matters in case of conflict or breach of canon law. In this regard the New Westminster diocese and the national organisms of the Canadian Church have acted accordingly to classical orthodox Anglican principles. This has not always been the case to the south of the border as we shall see now.

Liberal imposition

Around 1916 there was a secular tendency fostering the corporativization of national churches in North America. As a result the National Executive Council and the National Office of ECUSA were created. At first this office was not involved in the trials for heresy against some liberals,[20] but not many decades elapsed before this central organ became an instrument in the hands of liberal groups pushing for their views once they managed to be in key posts within it.

 

Since the sixties, liberalism in ECUSA has used the National Office to impose its agenda on its General Convention and to put pressure on conservative bishops and dioceses to follow its policies. This tendency to centralisation has not been exempt from shameful events: the central office in N.Y. arrogates a good deal of the national budget, and there have been abuses of authority, without mentioning the case of corruption by a former national treasurer.

 

As a reaction, a movement amongst a significant number of American dioceses known as The Tennessee Initiative emerged in the nineties. It has been evident since then that centralization is more a divisive factor than a unifying one at national and regional level. To impose points of view to ecclesiastical regions from above is contrary to classical Anglican ethos.

 

Now our conservative brothers and sisters, together with our neoanglican brothers and sisters, are paying us back with the same coin: centralisation and imposition. This is why we should not forget that in aspects of doctrine our polity serves primarily for the purpose of deterring heresy and error by means of mutual accountability. The question here is not whether several doctrines are integral to the theological (doctrinal, not disciplinary) consideration (again doctrinal) of the blessing of committed same-sex unions (which is primarily disciplinary and liturgical not doctrinal). The real question here is whether or not same-sex blessings (as a matter of discipline) are changing doctrine and are, therefore, heretical.

 

Doctrinal or Disciplinary? Theological or poly-tical?

The Council of Theology of the Primate has decided to place the matter of same-sex blessings on the doctrinal field rather than on the disciplinary one.[21]  In doing so the council has placed the whole issue under doctrinal parameters and taken it out of the disciplinary ones, which action has consequences at provincial and international level.

 

In the first case the decision may leave the door open for taking the eventual implementation of enforcement measures in the disciplinary field regarding same sex blessings to ensure that all dioceses, all parishes and all priests could not decline to bless a same sex couple. An example is the ECUSA policy, where it is almost compulsory for all bishops to ordain a woman if all the requisites for ordination are met. We could end up being inadvertently more dictatorial than our American brothers and sisters.

 

ECUSA chose some years ago not to treat this matter (blessing of same sex couples) as doctrinal, leaving the door open for more flexible ecclesiastical polity praxis. The liberal establishment of ECUSA realised that, unlike women’s ordination, the same-sex blessings would not pass the vote of its General Convention, and decided to implement the subsidiarity principle within its own borders so that each diocese could decide on that matter.[22] It was the abandonment of any notion of cohesion at the provincial level. All this in contrast with the position taken when the ordination of women was approved by General Convention, with an ensuing implementation of a notion of canonical uniformity, calling on all dioceses of the American Church to accept the request by women to be ordained if all the requisites for ordination were met, arguing that refusing to ordain a woman on grounds of conscience is equivalent to canonical contempt. (Of course it may be argued that the basic unit of the church is not the congregation or parish but the diocese, at least in Anglican classical polity, yet three years later in 2003 each diocese was permitted to authorised each parish to conduct rites for blessing of same-sex couples).

 

In the case (women’s ordination) ECUSA’s establishment was no longer claiming the subsidiarity principle but advocating for uniformity and conformity. What Americans defend today so vigorously at international level for the rights of their Anglican Province, they denied in the past to their dioceses at provincial level when it came to women’s ordination. Is this not an inconsequence of principles however canonically spotless? Our American liberal counterparts are not serving classical Anglicanism when they look for uniformity within their own borders. What’s next, an enforcement of same-sex blessings in every diocese and parish upon request of a gay or a lesbian couple? Let’s not forget that if dioceses are indeed the basic units of an ecclesiastical Anglican province, then each Anglican Church (not only the Canadian one) is in itself a confederation of dioceses. This is precisely the nature of ECUSA, clearly reflected in its funding documents. These documents show that since the time of its foundation ECUSA was considered a confederation of states (now called dioceses). Coincidentally at that time the U.S.A. was in the dilemma of becoming either a federation or a confederation of states –this last term (as seen above) is the very same one used by Episcopalians to refer to a diocese at that time.

 

 By admitting same-sex committed relationships as a doctrinal issue (incidentally the door is open for the admission that women’s ordination is a doctrinal issue as well) then a principle subsidiarity at international level can not be applied in this case (in the same token that “local option” at provincial level would not be canonically an option in case General Synod accepts in 2007 the Commission's findings, i.e., that same- sex blessing is a matter of doctrinal nature and therefore once approved is not an option for dioceses to perform but an obligation).

 

Subsidiarity does not apply to doctrinal matters (whether creedal or not), therefore our neoanglican brothers and sisters worldwide would have the right to bring it to the confederational arena as a matter of doctrine. Then discipline and polity could be used in jus to rightly demand suspension of same-sex blessings and ordination of gay and lesbian people. In this scenario the only option for traditional Anglicans might be to go ahead and to prophetically witness to the world, or, as Bishop Michael puts it, to assume the "prophetic role" God is setting out for our Church to play in the world.[23]

 

At the same time, however, the commission stated that the blessing of same-sex unions "is not a matter of core doctrine in the sense of being creedal" and that for this reason "the determination of this question will not hinder or impair our common affirmation of the historic creeds." The commission went on saying that it “does not believe that this should be a communion-breaking issue."[24]

 

Despite this declaration, I believe that from a canonical point of view the Anglican Church of Canada (as a province) on its own does not have the right to change, reinterpret or even extend doctrine, whether creedal or not.The fact that there is no canonical liability to Lambeth resolutions is irrelevant because there is ecclesial accountability towards the rest of the Communion. However, schism is at a faith level and the immense majority of people in the Canadian Church do not want (nor have any intention, as I personally perceive) to break communion with other provinces, do not want nor intend to depart from doctrine necessary to salvation, do not want nor intend to change doctrines or depart from Christian central teachings. Schism requires firstly the willingness of one group of Christianity to depart from the fundamentals of faith and secondly it requires the willingness of another group within Christianity to implement rejection and excommunication against the “heretical” group. Schism is a two ways action. Excommunication is a unilateral action declared (in non-Anglican ecclesiologies) by one party against the will of another party. Calls for excommunication and claims of impaired communion are coming from elsewhere, not from Canada.

 

Right or wrong?

It is a traditional classical Anglican tenet that not even a council is infallible. It does not have the maximum auctoritas in the Church, nor has the last word in permanent and universal establishment of doctrines (article XXI), let alone an ecclesiastical province on its own. Yet article XX clearly establishes that the Church (universal) has authority (auctoritas) in matters of faith. Are the Canadian Church and ECUSA the universal Church each one in their respective societies? I think so (in fact the solemn declaration of the Constituent General Synod of 1893 affirming that the Canadian Church is part of the one Body of Christ, side by side with other churches, does not imply that the Canadian church is not the universal Church in the Dominion). Notwithstanding, we should not forget that even classical Anglicanism does recognise that not only councils but entire churches could be in error (cf. article XXV, third paragraph, and article XIX, second clause).This is why the process of reception is recognised (in the case of women’s ordination), and the current provisionality of these measures (same sex blessings included) is acknowledged (as for example in the Eames commission).

 

Furthermore, articles XXXIV, XIX, and (I think) XX, enable the Canadian Church to go ahead with an extended interpretation of the doctrine of Christian marriage….but one wonders if the Canadian church has the competency of extending the doctrine of marriage at the expense of risking “excommunication” from other Anglican provinces. I believe (not without regret for the consequences) it may be so.

 

The Christians were expelled from the synagogue and this does not mean they are wrong. Luther was expelled from the Roman Catholic polity and now the Roman Catholic Church has signed an agreement with the Lutheran Federation on the very same theological topics on which the two Communions disagreed hundreds of years ago. Jesus himself was judged to be wrong, and surely a “hearing” was held to explain his actions. Finally he was crucified, but not forced to take the cross, because he did it willingly for the sake of others. Would the Canadian Church have the courage to follow Jesus’ steps? We may be wrong of course, but should not we err by including rather than excluding people?  Besides just as Luther and the first Christians we may be judged to be wrong at first but at the end… it may happen just as the Primate’s Theological Commission says: “It is commonly assumed that doctrinal certainty is required before pastoral actions can be taken, but history also demonstrates that clarity emerges when thought and action occur simultaneously”.[25] Maybe our mission is to bring clarity through our actions.

 

But to which other Church is the Anglican Province of Canada accountable? Is it to the classical traditional Anglican Church or to a neoanglican bibliolatrous Anglican Church? As has been said elsewhere there are two Churches sharing the same name and the same international structure. Are we to be faithful to international structures that do not honour as Jesus the Living Word of God, and instead honour the Primates Meeting and other documents (Windsor Report) that attempt to create a collegial papacy? Would we be willing to cease to be Christians in order to (arguably) remained Anglicans? I do not think so. The fact that we may face a possible unhappy circumstance should not force us into remaining in acceptable and palatable terms for the rest of the communion or to fail to witness to Jesus’ revelation of the new redeemed humanity. This unhappy yet possible circumstance would be (borrowing some words from the very same Windsor Report) itself catastrophic in terms of our mission which includes the call to model before the watching world the new mode of being human (despite gender, race, ideology, sexual orientation, and sinful condition) which has been unveiled in Christ.[26]

 

No change of Doctrine

The Commission also determined that the church treat any proposed blessing of same-sex unions as "analogous to a marriage to such a degree as to require the church to understand it coherently in relation to the doctrine of marriage."[27] The Commission never suggested requiring the church to change the doctrine of marriage.

 

The Head of the Commission, Bishop Matthews, said that the question she thinks is important is whether we “want to do a quick fix and have a blessing of same-sex unions but not marriage and saying that it is entirely different from marriage." She reminded us that New Westminster "has been very careful to say that 'this is not marriage and it has nothing to do with marriage.'"[28]

 

The Commission has said that it "recognizes that there is a range of interpretations given to the term 'doctrine', and that doctrines develop and change over time." It is worth noticing that Neoanglicanism is proving this point by its attempts to redefine the doctrine of the nature of the church.


Bishop Matthews said that "Christian doctrine is capable of developing, bearing fruit if you will, and changing."[29] We shall say that Christian doctrine can develop as to extend the understanding of marriage to same-sex committed couples without changing anything in the content of the marriage definition itself, except the external form it may take. This is in the same venue that ordination of women has not changed our understanding of ordained ministry, that it has just extended our understanding of holy orders to include the other half of human kind (very much as the Roman Catholic understanding of ordained ministry is unchanged by married and unmarried priests within the same communion; the oriental uniate churches policies on marriage of ordained persons does not affect the theology of marriage in the rest of that ecclesial community). In the same spirit Lay Presidency, according to conservative Australians themselves, does not purport any change in our understanding either of ordained ministry or of Eucharist. Let’s not forget that conservative Australians don’t see any problem in adjusting the Eucharist and ministerial discipline to the needs and demands of the Gospel in their country claiming that Lay Eucharistic Presidency is in adaptation of discipline rules, not doctrinal, and that no change is being made to doctrine, that it is about a deeper understanding of ministry and Eucharist and the ensuing extension of these doctrines to include the participation of lay people.[30] In this matter Australian Anglicans will surely be confronted with Neoanglicanism’s lack of intellectual soundness.

 

Bishop Matthews added that there is a mistaken notion that doctrine is set in stone. "There's an opinion that's not correct, that once a set of beliefs has been held by all Christians everywhere, it is there and always (will be)."[31] The commissions report elaborates on this: “The history of Christian theology demonstrates that over time doctrines have developed and changed. Some such developments are viewed as true and some as false. Christians know that doctrine can and does change, but the Church also affirms that such development may never contradict the heart of the gospel. When true development occurs, it ultimately has healthy consequences for the life of the Church”[32]. We should not forget that this was the core idea of Archbishop Carey’s argument before the General Synod of the Church of England when he declared that women’s ordination was a legitimate development in the Western Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

 

If the last decision is made for the proclamation of a deeper understanding of marriage, then we should better be prepared to prophetically witness to the world when acting upon a legitimate development in the Western Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

 

The unorthodox ecclesiology and theology of Neoanglicanism.

While the classical Anglican theological method, the traditional one, is based on

a)       Faith in the revelation of God Creator in Christ Jesus, Hope in the Gospel of Salvation, and Charity in the Holy Spirit.

b)      And in the use of 1.- Reason guided by the Holy Spirit, 2.- Apostolic Tradition handed over to us in this XXI century through the uninterrupted witness of the Church through its Councils (as set forth in the Nicean, Athanasian and Apostolic Creeds) and through its faithful in the Consensus Fidelium. 3. - revelation in the person of Jesus Christ, through the uninterrupted daily encounter of His Church’s faithful with Him through Prayer, worship, reading of the Bible and through general experience as Christians living in Grace in this world awaiting fulfilment of His Kingdom.

c)       That of all good things God itself is Author and consequently approver of them. That the rule for discerning when the actions of men are good, when they are as they should be, is wider and global that the law that God has set for specific in His Holy Word, the Scripture is just only a part of that rule[33]

 

Neoanglicanism new doctrines practically sustain that:

 

 a) Revelation is through the Bible not through Jesus Christ, b) The ultimate rule of Faith is the Bible, not special revelation in Christ or natural revelation through reason, and c) The Logos or Word of God is the Bible, not Christ.

 

These differences could be identified on regional lines mainly between the North and the Global South with some exceptions, yet they do occur within provinces and dioceses although to a lesser degree numerically speaking. As archbishop David Crawley noticed there has been for many years in New Westminster a “profound difference between perceptions of what the Christian faith is, how it should be lived and how the Bible is to be understood”. “The same sex blessing issue just brought that difference to the forefront”.[34] The Primate of South Africa, Winston Njongonkulu Ndungane, Archbishop of Cape Town has said: “The Bible is a guide for life, not a book of laws… “¿Who determines whether Scripture is authoritative or not in relation to contemporary terms on gender and sexual orientation?” [35] And later affirmed that “More than any other issue of our time this has served to illustrate the wide differences amongst us in theology, theological method, in the use of Scriptures, in our answer to authority and how that authority is defined.”[36]

 

 It is evident now that Neoanglicanism is in need and search of a polity of its own that would reflect its own discipline characterised by uniformity, conformity and centrality of various aspects of church life, and with this new polity to enforce its new theology centered in the written version of revelation in Jesus Christ, but not centered in Jesus Christ Himself. This neoanglican polity would serve primarily for the purpose of combating and punishment of “heresy and error” or, for that matter and all practical purposes, to combat and punish inconformity, diversity and subsidiarity, most likely by means of inquisitorial bodies. In its attempt for achieving that goal, there is what I have termed as a curialisation process.[37] Neoanglicanism wants to implement its centralised polity by de-forming the traditional Anglican polity and introducing a new ecclesiology.

 

The Neoanglican ecclesiology.

The neoanglican ecclesiology has first entered the Anglican international arena via the Virginia Report. In some of its sections this document showed an influence from Roman Catholicism in that a Trinitarian ecclesiology is used to define the Church instead of the Christological theology that has been the basis for Anglican traditional ecclesiology.[38] In some paragraphs it confuses the terms Community and Church while in other paragraphs equates them: 2.11, 2.15, 2.24, 3.16, 3.17, 3.18, 3.19, 3.20, 4.2, and 5.8. We may ask of this new ecclesiology: Is the community being sent to the community itself? Is the Community or are the sacraments the channel of grace?

 

Then the Virginia Report presented the Church as symbol (sacrament or mysterium as in new Roman Catholic ecclesiology) which would have implied the necessity of visible unity and agreement (2.14, 2.15 and 3.1). It was clear that ecumenical dialogue with Rome had negatively influenced the theology in some parts of the Virginia Report: If the Church is defined as a universal community then it (the church) must be universal. From here is logical to add to the original mission of the church (4,1) a new one -following the paths of the Second Vatican and the mysterium salutis theology, re-making the church the symbol of unity and harmony (or shall we say of uniformity and conformity?) in spite of its revealed mission (4.4).Of course, the Report adds -to the new element of collegiality (of bishops) borrowed from roman ecclesiology (“collegiality exercised by bishops” 3.21, specifically by primates, 3.50)- the idea of universality, therefore deriving into a universal primacy (3.54).

 

When referring to Anglican polity the report notes: “In Anglicanism today canonically binding decisions can only be made at the level of a Province or in some Provinces at the level of a diocese” (4.11). Is anything wrong with this? For the report it could have been so, because then it said about a tension with the need of honouring the now so called instruments of unity (4.16). 

 

Then the report attacked the ancient patristic concept of the local church as the complete expression of the universal church in a given locality, forgetting that the local church is universal not because heeds all Christians in every single part of the world, but because it heeds and serves to all Christians and non Christians where it is placed -be that locality a town, a city, or a region. To some degree the report recognises this (4.22) but fails to defend it from the abstract idea of the Universal Church. Actually the report favours the Roman approach of uniformity everywhere - admitting to the influence of roman theology and its mysterium salutis ecclesiology on account of the ecumenical dialogue; adding that upon these ecclesiologies “is the expression of a catholic doctrine of the Church, which attempts to express what is, or should be, true of the Church in all places (4.24). The next logical question would be: where is this universal church to be found? This in fact is one of the key questions Ratzinger’s Dominus Iesus pretends to respond to.

 

The report suggested giving powers to this “Universal Church” which would speak firmly for good reasons -against the theology of racism, for example (4.25), but the question remains as to who represents the universal church and who will decide what must be consistent with what that Universal Church says. However, what could be more dangerous are the changes to the purpose of the Church to a mission to serve the community: “The purpose of all structures and processes of the Church is to serve the koinonia, the Trinitarian life of God in the Church, and to help all the baptised embrace and live out Christ's mission and ministry in the world” (5.1). So it happens now that it is the church is the channel of grace through which the baptised are to be helped to be Christians. Is not the sacrament of baptism that channel of grace? Is not that grace derived from Jesus and not from the community or Church? What about the direction of the Holy Spirit to all Christians with the use of reason to access revelation? The report tried to convince us of the obligation of recognising the collegial authority (jus) of (only) bishops in the Primates Meeting and in Lambeth Conferences: “As we have seen in the Anglican Communion today the structures of unity and communion at a world level are still developing. This development needs now to be inspired by a renewed understanding of the Church as koinonia” (5.2).

 

So we had that the entire church must be devoted to itself, to the community or koinonia (5.3). “The structures of the Church, at every level, are to serve this vocation of the Church…” of the Universal Church we shall say, and the new “Anglican” collegiality is to serve to this new superstructure (5.9).

 

Yes, the Virginia Report did acknowledge the fact (when dealing with subsidiarity, accountability and interdependence) that “the Holy Catholic Church is fully present in each of its local embodiments” (5.17). But then it returned to the Roman Catholic theological idea of universal authority (potestas and jus): “Is not universal authority a necessary corollary of universal communion?”(5.20) and justifying it again with the discussions on the ecumenical arena: “This is a matter currently under discussion with our ecumenical partners. It relates not only to our understanding of the exercise of authority in the Anglican Communion, but also to the kind of unity and communion we look for in a visibly united Church” (5.20).

 

Not only is the mission of the Church now proclaiming the Gospel of Christ; but a  new aspect of the mission of the Church, (that seems to be paramount to the Virginia Report) is “to embody and proclaim Christ's gospel of love and reconciliation, healing and freedom. This must be transparent not only in the words it speaks and in its advocacy of justice and peace, but also in its visible structures and processes. 5.27. Elsewhere the report spoke of the need of unity. This new ecclesiology has (most surely unaware) only one logical end: organic unity of the whole of Christiandome under one single authority (with jus and potestas): the bishop of Rome…or a “collegial” papacy.

 

I never thought this ecclesiology would be accepted. Apparently I was wrong because now it comes back with full force fostered by the most intolerant quarters of the Communion: unity-uniformity, harmony-conformity, security-authority, all unabashedly (though with good intention) expressed in the Windsor Report.

 

Gavin White, collaborator in the 1986 book Authority in the Anglican Communion, pointed out to Roman Catholic ecclesiology: “it is also true that [Eucharist] is based on the Church and not just on the local church”. White himself mentions that this new understanding of the Eucharistic sacrament and of the Church shows a clear influence by the new ecclesiology within the Roman Catholic Church implemented since the Second Vatican Council. [39]

 

White lends ear to Karl Rahner, one of the main proponents of the new unorthodox ecclesiology defining the church (not Jesus) as “the supreme sacrament from which all other sacraments derive their power”,[40] and to Joseph Ratzinger, who more and less derived a similar ecclesiology for the church since the Second Vatican Council and who elaborated on the need of one visible church in the 2000 document Dominus Iesus. Are we in the presence of these new ecclesiology and theology of sacraments in the Anglican Communion via the Virginia Report?

 

If we compare the Virginia Report’s concept of Church with that of Rahener’s and with that of the Second Vatican (refined and clarified in the 1985 Instruction to Bishops on the Concept of Communion and in the Dominus Iesus, both issued by the old inquisition), we shall discover coincidences which compared to traditional Anglican understanding of the nature of the Church and of the sacraments[41] leads us to the conclusion that we should resist these innovations for the very sake of the whole Church Catholic, because they would take us to the argument that it is God’s Will that Christians have a centralised, vertical administration, with authority (jus and potestas) or judicial powers and jurisdiction, over the whole world to monitor and to qualify, or to disqualify, the way Christians experience their faith.

 

The Virginia Report (following current Roman Catholic fashions) implied that membership to the Church is to belong to the brotherhood/sisterhood, the koinonia of the Church (not to Jesus through Faith). Now years later the Windsor Report suggests ‘being under the authority of the Instruments of Unity’ be the definition for Anglican identity. Both reports set the condition of our being Anglican Christians to the membership of human visible institutions (not to Jesus Christ); one of those institutions embodied in a bishop with special status and universal jurisdiction -sounds familiar? Where has been left the doctrine that affirms that “the highest point of union between human beings and the one who is God and man in one” is Christ?[42]

 

Let’s review what an old book on systematic theology (before Vatican Second) has to say to this regard: “Christian theology is the science of God revealed in Jesus of Nazareth.”…  “as revealed by and in Jesus of Nazareth”… And that theology interests itself in everything that exists “for the nature of man and the nature of the universe in which he finds himself, depend on the nature of God.”[43] Therefore classical Anglican theology defines theology as the science of God revealed in Jesus of Nazareth, not in the Church.

 

As to the Windsor report, it departs from the Traditional Anglican tradition (thought) of Faith, Hope and Love and opts dangerously for security, uniformity and conformity. As the bishop of Mpwapwa, Tanzania, Simon Chiwanga, has pointed out: “In times of profound change, many who are fearful look for safety and solace in what they perceive as safe and sound, for some such safety is found in a clear articulation and in an acritical appeal to doctrinal positions and/or theological trues...Others search for safety in the ecclesiastical structures or offices that have been developed through time,.. Be it a confession or a curia, a catechism or conference, constitution or council, the fearful are in search of easy answers.” [44] These easy answers offered by the Windsor report are a false security on human’s institutions, an illegitimate uniformity and an unmistakably neoanglican unorthodox submission/conformity. Yes, our neoanglican brothers and sisters are putting their faith not only on a book but on an ecclesiastical structure characterised by security, uniformity and conformity. Putting the cart in front of the horse or as the ecojustice committee of the Canadian Church puts it “… theological consensus is the fruit of communion, and not its pre-condition,”[45]

 

Neoanglicanism wants to trash the Mutual Accountability concept and substitute it with a sort of a collegial papacy with powers to oversee liturgical practices, ecclesiastical discipline, and eventually exegesis, hermeneutics, and -if they could- conscience. This new form of papacy (following Roman Catholic polity) would exclude lay people and priests, so inaugurating an innovation in Anglican ecclesiology: episcopal collegiality, instead of conciliarity of the faithful, ordained and lay. The Windsor Report suggests[46] (as in roman ecclesiology) to give the magisterium of bishops the place and function that legitimately belong to corporate reason under the Holy Spirit (and yet not even Old Catholic theology recognizes that the Church's teaching magisterium has no less than two objects: the formation of conscience, in which case authority has an instructive quality; and the nurturing of a formed conscience to full maturity, in which case authority is guiding but not directive)[47]. Coincidentally “of all the bodies to be asked not to go to, (the ACC) is the only one that serves the whole Communion and that is composed of all orders of ministry. It represents a much wider level of consultation” as Bishop Michael Bedford-Jones, suffragan bishop of Toronto pointed out.[48]

 

It could be argued that the Virginia Report, as a way of balancing its own text, does affirm that the Churches of the Anglican Communion are “governed synodically and led episcopally”,[49] yet we should strongly be reminded that this definition appeared for the first time in the written statements of the sixth ACC meeting in 1984, precisely as a counter reaction to a previous definition by the fifth ACC meeting on authority which had cited words from the Second Vatican Council on collegiality (authority exercised only by ordained persons as opposed to conciliarity where lay persons are included –according to the ACC’s own words) which the ACC in that same meeting saw as exercised in the Primates’ Meeting (just bishops) and the Lambeth Conference (just bishops): “in which the authority of the bishop of Rome was seen as being exercised within the context of the whole College of Bishops”[50]. The conclusion reached by the following ACC meeting on this matter deems inappropriate the use of the term collegiality for understanding how the Anglican Communion operates. Gavin White himself gave an account of these ACC’s statements[51].

 

Another tenet of neoanglican ecclesiology is the claim that a sort of ecclesiastical uniformity has been a historical continuum in the life of the Church, a claim unsustainable in light of history, which bears witness to exactly the opposite: a variety of ecclesiastical arrangements in the early Church. Traditional Anglicans have always been very much aware of this fact. Richard Hooker himself does implicitly recognise the variety of ecclesiastical polities in the primitive church[52]. According to patristic witnessing the Church in the face of continuous, permanent contingency in a local Church, a diocese, has reclaimed disciplinary rules through the provinces embodied in the office of a provincial Primacy. The primate or archbishop of a province in Cyprian’s ecclesiology has specific disciplinary functions and the bishops of the dioceses within provinces are to be obedient to their respective metropolitical bishops.[53] Lambeth 1968 reaffirmed this principle as well.[54]

 

Yet not always all discourses of those opposed to women’s ordination and same-sex blessings go the way of historical amnesia. We should remember that in the late 80’s and early 90’s the theological degree of the debate was sound and high in North America and England. At that time true conservative Anglicans reminded us of some of the original criteria for episcopal jurisdiction: language, ethnicity, culture, and mindset, and then they pointed out to Navajoland in the USA, to the order of Ethiopia in South Africa, and to the Areatoa Diocese in New Zealand. The idea was to ensure conservative minorities’ protection within the borders of one province but with the aide of flying bishops and not Alternative Episcopal Oversight (as it could objectively result if there were bishops with an overlapped jurisdiction on already existing dioceses). The conservatives were in fact asking to have in the USA Church the same arrangement that our fellow conservatives were granted in England. Unfortunately the USA Church rejected this sensible proposal (however un-canonical and un-traditional). This fact is very important to keep in mind because, in sharp contrast, Bishop Ingham did present a proposal to his synod to provide a visiting bishop, acceptable to those parishes opposed to same-sex blessings, who would provide pastoral and episcopal care for them (not alternative episcopal oversight). However, in this occasion our Neoanglicans brothers and sisters rejected the offer and looked for alternative episcopal oversight without the synod and bishop’s consent, ending up breaking communion with New Westminster, and confirming what bishop Sergio Carranza, of L.A., timely pointed out: that our neoanglicans brothers have a strong “schismatic tendency.”[55]

 

Next, there will be a neoanglican declaration of faith that would resemble of the encapsulated unorthodox tradition of “confessions” which within the orthodox oriental churches have never had a significant long life and have no value other than historical documents.

 

VIAnglican Tradition”

I propose to organise an international classical orthodox Anglican fellowship named Anglican Tradition whose members (dioceses, churches, parishes or individuals) would accept the following principles (this is just an outlined draft):

 

We uphold the Chicago- Lambeth Quadrilateral as the classical traditional Anglican standard for Church normativity.

 

We uphold and maintain classical Anglicanism standards and principles as set forth by Anglican Divines:

a)       That Christian faith is not an uncritical repetition of a received text. It is a mindful commitment to the power of love as revealed in Jesus Christ.

 

We uphold that the classical Anglican theological method is based on

b)      Faith in the revelation of God Creator in Christ Jesus, Hope in the Gospel of Salvation, and Charity in the Holy Spirit.

c)       And in the use of 1.- Reason guided by the Holy Spirit, 2.- Apostolic Tradition handed over to us in this XXI century through the uninterrupted witness of the Church through its Councils (as set forth in the Nicene, Athanasian and Apostolic Creeds) and through its faithful in the Consensus Fidelium. 3. - revelation in the person of Jesus Christ, through the uninterrupted daily encounter of His Church’s faithful with Him through Prayer, worship, reading of the Bible and general experience as Christians living in Grace in this world awaiting fulfilment of His Kingdom.

We uphold:

d)      That traditional Anglicanism trusts not in the force of humans beings but in the guidance of the Holy Spirit, in reason as a divine gift, on divine revelation in Scriptures and on the vast experience of Christians of all times and places; hoping that all of us keep in mutual consultation, and accountable to one another for the content of the proclamation of the same one faith, one baptism, one lord and father/mother of all.

e)      That a reaffirmation of one single declaration of faith by all Christian Churches would do more to witness to the world a genuine Christian unity than a false security on human institutions, an illegitimate uniformity and an unorthodox submission.

f)         That “The heart of our tradition will not be found in the systematic and polarising theological discourse but in the life of faith: the effort to faithfully struggle with the world in which we really live.” [56]

g)      that the interpretation of the Bible is a complex matter, and that at any given point in the Church’s history, ‘faithful’ readings may lead us to mutually contradictory understandings.

h)       that a return to respect for the diversity of views present in the Anglican Communion would honour classical orthodox Anglicanism.

i)         that ‘the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the word of God, and to contain all things necessary to salvation’. We acknowledge that the interpretation of Scripture is a central and complex matter and that, at times in the Church’s history, ‘faithful’ readings have led to mutually contradictory understandings, requiring ongoing dialogue and prayer towards discernment of the one voice of the gospel.

j)         That Anglican liturgical patterns, particularly those in the Books of Common Prayer, suggest that the normative framework for interpreting the Scriptures is the classic Creeds, and more broadly the themes of doxology, calling, holiness and liberation, articulated in the repeated use of the canticles and the daily collects.

k)       That Doctrine is formed whenever the Church, as the Church, makes a statement about who God is and how God acts,

l)         That the challenge facing the Church is to see our cultural norms through the eyes of Christ and then, out of allegiance to him, to promote those norms that honour him and renounce those that do not.

 

Its purpose would be:

 

To foster and spread Classical Anglicanism in all quarters and fields of the Church: pastoral, academic, secular, etc.

To foster scholarly thinking and further sound theological discussions by publicising on internet the basic findings and thoughts of the Anglican Divines in relation to church polity, communion, etc.

To foster the collaboration and contribution of academics from all over the Communion to write, translate and publicise over the internet articles, essays and even books for public domain.

To ensure classical Anglicanism is represented in theological forums whenever and wherever they took place.

 

To implement, in collaboration with the Anglican Tradition branches of North America and their counterparts in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, England, and Europe, a mechanism of accreditation for theological institutions, colleges, faculties, seminaries and universities, in other parts of the Anglican Communion, all this in order to ensure the standards of sound learning and academic level that exist in public universities in the  same Global South are met by the educational Anglican ecclesiastical institutions of the same region.

 

To offer help of academic personnel from the north and to devote written resources for the betterment of educational standards in seminaries and colleges of the Global South.

 

To translate works on classical Anglicanism into Spanish, French and Portuguese and to deliver them over through the internet.

To take steps to acquire the permits from publishing houses to translate the mentioned works and then to deliver them free on the internet (for example for the book “Authority in the Anglican Communion” published by the Anglican Church Centre to be translated and posted over the internet.

 

A board of counsellors (names to be freely proposed would be charged with advising on discussions and on dialogues with all the ecumenical partners and neoanglican bodies.

 

All small documents, statements and reports produced by Anglican Tradition would be circulated through internet in Spanish, Portuguese and French, as well as in English. Its motto could be “Sound Learning, True Religion”.

 

The future ahead

Whether we take up the suggestion of organising ourselves at international level or not, we cannot escape our future. Bishop Ingham says we are living at a moment in history which probably none of us wants to choose “but here we are." Surely few of us would not be shaken at the enormous responsibility of being in a position of leadership as a committed Christian in this moment of history (be as bishop, teacher, spiritual counsellor, parish priest, warden, etc.) yet I guess none of us would be unhappy to discover that this moment in history may be parallel to that when the Christians were expelled from the old structures and then witnessed to the world (without the Sanhedrin’s blessing and allegedly not for the well-being of the synagogue or the Temple [57]). We will continue to read the scripture, receive the tradition, practice the sacramental worship, and retain the historic character of apostolic leadership,[58]and doing what Jesus would have done. No one will have to force us to do what we in loyalty to Jesus are wiling to do.[59] We will be willing in loyalty to Jesus’ revelation, and reason, to make sure Rites of Blessing for same sex unions constitute growth in harmony with the apostolic tradition as it has been received.[60]

 

I myself do not believe the docrine of marriage to be central for salvation, and at the same time I do not see that it is necessary to reformulate such doctrine. I believe blessing of same-sex couples to be a matter of pastoral nature more than of a theological one. I myself could have a positive or a negative stand towards the whole issue, however, I ask again: Would the Canadian Church have the courage to follow Jesus’ steps? Our neoanglican brothers and sisters are taking what they believe to be the right path of action regardless of the consequences. Are we going to follow their example and act according to our faith in Jesus? Yes, we may very well be all wrong but should not we err including rather than excluding people? Let’s be prepared to take Jesus’ hand leading us out of old structures to witness to the world: let’s keep in mind and heart that he was crucified because He took the cross willingly for the sake of others.

 


Mexico City, June 2005.

 

Note: This article does not reflect the opinion of any of the dioceses or bishops of the Anglican Church of Mexico, nor the mind of the Parish-Cathedral of San Jose de Gracia of which the author is rector by the call of its vestry (so the diocesan bishop is not responsible for the appointment of the Cathedral’s rector. The author takes full responsibility of all ideas and suggestions appearing in this article that are not directly by quotation attributed to another person. The author takes responsibility for statements that might lead to any unintended misconstruct on any statement attributed to any of the persons and authors mentioned in the article.



[1] Crawley, David., "The Anglican communion is not a single, monolithic structure" Anglican Journal Nov. 2002.

[2] Rosenthal James. ACC TAKES STAND ON RWANDA. ACNS #1002  September 1 1998.

[3] Resolution III.6.d.i, ii and iii. Lambeth 1998.

[4] Resolutions III.6. and IV.13.

[5] For more on this topic see Martín, J. C., “Una Curia Anglicana, Intolerancia Institucional”. Visión Anglicana, summer 1999, Diocesan News of Mexico.

[6] The Anglican Tradition. A Hand Book of Sources, Ed. G.R. Evans and J. Robert Wright, SPCK/Fortress Press, 1988, pages 468 and 469.

[7] Source: http://netministries.org/see/churches/ch00609.

[8] Sison. Marites., Canadians will not participate fully in international meeting. Anglican Journal May 7. 2005.

[9] Idem.

[10] MARITES N. SISON Council advised to decline primates' call.  Anglican Journal, May 2005

[11] Carranza, Sergio. “Cuidado con la Idolatría”. Visión Anglicana Pentecostés 2005. Quarterly Publication of the Diocese of Mexico.

[12] “El Crecimiento y el Gobierno de la Iglesia en Diferentes Culturas” en ANGLICANOS, Boletín Internacional Misionero 49, Septiembre-diciembre el 2001.”,  Quarterly Publication of the Anglican Communion in Latin America. 

[13] Rapidísimas –noticiero internacional ecuménico – abril 2004  RAPIDÍSIMAS N° 30 abril 2004  en: www. anglicanos.net/rapid_30.htm

[14] Windsor Report, Appendix One sect. 8.

[15] Anglican Consultative Council, Bonds of Afection, Proceedings of ACC-6, Badagry, Nigeria (London: ACC, 1984).

[16] ACC-5, Section 5. Resolution 24: Collegiality and conciliarity: “The Council requests the Standing Committee to consider, and to report to ACC-6 how, in a Communion which is gaining an increasing awareness of its universality , the practice of collegiality and conciliarity may be further clarified , and encouraged.”

[17] See Book VII.13.3. of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, where Hooker describes our polity as remedy and prevention against the schism derived of errors in doctrine.

[18] Windsor Report 24: “The strong reaction across the Communion to synodical decisions taken in the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Canadian Diocese of New Westminster has confirmed the Episcopal Church's fears, and undercuts any argument that such decisions are purely local.”

[19] Council advised to decline primates' call. Group calls request 'inappropriate'. MARITES N. SISON, STAFF WRITER. Anglican Journal May 2005

[20] Heresy Trials in the Pecusa 1890-1930. Doctoral thesis by H.M. Hansen Jr. 1965. University Microfilms Ltd. High Wylomb, England, 1968.

[21] St. Michael’s Report 1., 3. and 8.

[22] Solheim, James., Commission on Music and Liturgy Says Sexuality Decision Belong on Diocesan Level. Episcopal News Service 2000-032 February 18 2000.

[23] Sison, Marites., Canadians will not participate fully in international meeting. Anglican Journal May 7. 2005.

[24] St. Michael’s Report 10.

[25] St Michael Report, 12.

[26] Windsor Report 41: “This is the fifth unhappy circumstance (itself catastrophic in terms of our mission which, as we have seen, includes the call to model before the watching world the new mode of being human which has been unveiled in Christ”.

[27] Ibidim. 3.

[28] Sison, Marites., Commission finds that blessings are a matter of doctrine. Anglican Journal May 7, 2005

[29] Ibidim.

[30] Solheim, James., Australian Diocese Endorses Lay Administration of the Eucharist. Episcopal News Service 99-161. October 21 1999.

[31] Sison, Marites., Commission finds that blessings are a matter of doctrine. Anglican Journal May 7, 2005.

[32] St. Michael Report13.

[33] Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity. Book VII, Chap. XI. 10.

[34] Crawley, David., "The Anglican communion is not a single, monolithic structure" Anglican Journal Nov. 2002.

[35] Episcopal News Service 2000-045 (ENS) February 18 2000 <enslist@epicom.org> BIBLE INTERPRETATION MUST COME FROM LOCAL EXPERIENCE, SAY ANGLICAN THEOLOGIANS. By Dennis Delman February 18 2000.

[36] Anglican Church News Service  2008 (ACNS) February 7 2000. <acnslist@epicom.org> SCRIPTURAL AUTHORITY ON HOMOSEXUALITY QUESTIONED

[37] See Una Curia Anglicana. O la institucionalizacion de la Intolerancia, Visión Anglicana 1999. Quarterly publication of the Anglican Diocese of Mexico.

[38] Some of the delegates to the eleventh ACC meeting did point out to this trend: “ "… I felt that a critique was lacking," the Very Rev John Moses, Dean of St Paul's Cathedral, London, who is one of the members from England, said. "It contains two contrasting trends, one which is centralising and hierarchical, and another which is synodical and is characterised of life in all our provinces. But the Virginia Report could be used as an instrument to increase the curialisation drift of the Anglican Communion," he said.

Dean Moses also warned that the Virginia Report should not be regarded as a sacrosanct document, for its theological base is Trinitarian and it therefore reflects the theological starting-point of our age. "But," he said, "in previous decades the Church started from a Christological starting-point, and future decades may well see the Cosmic Christ as the base theological model [The emphasis is mine]."

The Most Revd Richard Holloway, Primus of Scotland said the Virginia Report gave far more cause for concern for the Church than his own recent book on a "godless morality." He said that the ACC was one of the few structured vehicles in Anglicanism that might resist the tendency in the Report to increase the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primates and the episcopate in general. He said he felt anxiety against some of its trends, for the bishops "are servants at best of a Church that is self-governing." Source: Anglican Church News Service 1888 (ACNS) September 18 1999. Dundee <acnslist@epicom.org> ACC CRITIQUES THE VIRGINIA REPORT.

 

[39] Gavin White, Collegiality and Conciliarity,  in Authority in the Anglican Communion., Stephen W. Sykes edi,  1987 Anglican Book Centre.

[40] This new ecclesiology was expressed clearly in the Vatican document Mysterium Salutis in 1973.

[41] Laws of ecclesiastical Polity, III.1.3,V. 56.5, V.56.8, V. 56.7, V.56.12, V.53.13, and Articles of Religion XIX.

[42] Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, V.56.8.

[43] The Christian Faith: An Introduction to dogmatic Theology, Claude Beaufort Moss, London, S.P.C.K. 1961. Page 1.

[44]Anglican Church News Service 1882 (ACNS) September 16 1999. <acnslist@epicom.org> THE CHAIRMAN´S ADDRESS TO THE ANGLICAN CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL

[45] Sison, Marites. Council advised to decline primates' call. Anglican Journal, May 2005

[46]Windsor Report Section 106; and Appendix One, sect. 3

[47] See the website of the Old Catholic Union of Utrecht, at www.utrechunion.org.nd

[48] Council advised to decline primates' call Group calls request 'inappropriate' MARITES N. SISON, STAFF WRITER May 2005.

[49] Virginia Report. Chapter 5.11.

[50] ACC-5, Section 5. Resolution 24: Collegiality and conciliarity: “The Council requests the Standing Committee to consider, and to report to ACC-6 how, in a Communion which is gaining an increasing awareness of its universality , the practice of collegiality and conciliarity may be further clarified , and encouraged.”

[51] Gavin White, Collegiality and Conciliarity,  in Authority in the Anglican Communion., Stephen W. Sykes ed, 1987 Anglican Book Centre. Page 202.

[52] Cf. Laws of ecclesiastical Polity. Book VII.13.3

[53] Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity. Book VII. 13.2.

[54] See Resolutions Lambeth 1867 www.anglicancomunion.org/acns/archives/

[55] Carranza, Sergio. Cuidado con la Idolatría. Visión Anglicana Pentecostés 2005.Quarterly Publication of the Diocese of Mexico.

[56] Dr. L. Williams Countryman, professor of New Testament of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, in Episcopal News Service 2000-045 (ENS) February 18 2000 <enslist@epicom.org> BIBLE INTERPRETATION MUST COME FROM LOCAL EXPERIENCE, SAY ANGLICAN THEOLOGIANS. By Dennis Delman February 18 2000.

[57] Windsor Report, 82: ... as determined by the Instruments of Unity… be able to depart, where appropriate and acceptable, on the basis of its own corporate conscience and with the blessing of the communion, from the standards of the community of which is an autonomous part, provided such departure is neither critical to the maintenance of communion nor likely to harm the common good of the Anglican Communion and of the Church universal (again, as determined by the Instruments of Unity) [the underline is mine].

[58] Windsor Report, 51: “Communion clearly makes demands on all within it. It involves obligations, and corresponding rights, which flow from the theological truths on which the life of the Christian community rests. The Lambeth Quadrilateral commits Anglicans to “a series of normative practices: scripture is read, tradition is received, sacramental worship is practised, and the historic character of apostolic leadership is retained””.

[59] Windsor Report 118: “This Commission recommends, therefore, and urges the primates to consider, the adoption by the churches of the Communion of a common Anglican Covenant which would make explicit and forceful the loyalty and bonds of affection”

[60] Windsor Report 141: “…the churches proposing to take action must be able, as a beginning, to demonstrate to the rest of the Communion why their proposal meets the criteria of scripture, tradition and reason. In order to be received as a legitimate development of the tradition, it must be possible to demonstrate how public Rites of Blessing for same sex unions would constitute growth in harmony with the apostolic tradition as it has been received.”