This page contains links to all the posts I have put up about the current sad state of the so-called Anglican Communion. “So-called”? Yes: it is certainly no longer a “Communion”, because it has very little in common, and most of its members are not talking to the rest. And it can no longer be called “Anglican”, because while that term may once have taken its meaning from the doctrines and worship of the Church of England, that body’s ever-dwindling membership, too, is no longer of one mind on just what its doctrines and worship should be.
The page of Anglican posts will soon contain a link to this one — and that may be its last.
After all, I feel a bit like the Cheshire Cat — as the meaning of “Anglican” fades away, so does any role for an “Anglican Curmudgeon.” Having left the Episcopal Church (USA) on account of its adoption of blasphemous marriage rites, I no longer even have a formal tie to the wider Communion — not that the tie was all that firm, anyway, once V. Gene Robinson received a miter and ring in 2003. Those of us who remained in ECUSA after that date, as well as any who are bravely trying to stick it out still, may fairly be described as clinging to the faintest wisps of the beauty that once was there.
There is talk of a reckoning that will be demanded at the forthcoming gathering of the Anglican Primates in Canterbury next January (n.b.: not a “Primates Meeting” as such, or one of the former, now-failed Instruments of Unity, but just a gathering that has no structure in advance). The Primates of GAFCON and the Global South will be there, along with — at the former’s insistence — the Primate of the Anglican Church in North America. This alone should serve to distinguish what will take place from what has gone before.
But what are the possible outcomes of such a gathering? Let’s be logical, and list all the possibilities (within reason):
1. In response to a passionate appeal from their orthodox brethren, the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada repent of their waywardness, resubscribe to the tenets of Resolution 1.10 from the 1998 Lambeth Conference, and humbly apologize to their peers. Can we all agree that this possibility will never happen? — and not just because ECUSA can act only through its General Convention, which will not be in session again until the summer of 2018. It will never happen while the current crowd of liberal revisionists are in charge of the great majority of Dioceses, and they are prepared to run through all of ECUSA’s trust funds before they will be forced to make any meaningful changes. (And before that happens, their proclivity for blasphemy will pollute the Book of Common Prayer.)
2. In response to a passionate appeal from their orthodox brethren, the Episcopal Church (USA) and the ACoC speak the truth to the assembled Primates: they are not about to change, and will continue on what they maintain is their “inclusive” course. This is almost certain to take place at the meeting. The question then becomes: what will the other Primates do in response?
a. Nothing, except take another sip of tea and keep talking. Knowing what we know of the Most Rev. Eliud Wabukala, this will never happen. He and the other GAFCON Primates will demand that the Archbishop of Canterbury discipline the renegades by “disinviting them” from all future Communion-wide functions and events. (He can do this with regard to the Lambeth Conference and the Primates Meeting, both of which convene at his invitation. But he has no ability to control who comes to the meetings of the Anglican Consultative Council, which controls its own list of who are its constituent members.)
b. In response to the GAFCON Primates demand (see 2.a above), Archbishop Welby agrees that he will no longer invite either ECUSA or the ACoC representatives to either the Primates Meetings or the Lambeth Conference. The gathering will then break up; the representatives of ECUSA and the ACoC will leave, along with their supporters from ten or so other provinces. (The Archbishop of Canterbury cannot legally operate the formal mechanisms of the British charitable corporation called “the Anglican Consultative Council” — with its corresponding role in the Anglican Communion — without them, however, and so he will most likely stay in a formal relation with them through that body.) The rest may remain to discuss future agendas — or they may go home, too, and postpone further action to another day.
c. In response to the GAFCON Primates demand (see 2.a above), Archbishop Welby refuses so to discipline the renegade provinces. The gathering will then definitely split up, and the majority of the provinces present will depart for home. Those remaining (the twelve or so provinces described in 2.b. above) will continue to meet, and may meet as often as they wish in the future, but without the majority of provinces ever again attending. The minority will claim control of the organs of the Anglican Communion, and so will keep that name. The majority will organize under a new structure, with a modified name. Whether they will maintain any kind of relationship with the see of Canterbury is extremely doubtful, in my opinion — what would be the point, once he made it clear that he would not do what they asked?
d. In response to the GAFCON Primates demand (see 2.a above), Archbishop Welby waffles, in a bid for more time and to keep all the parties talking. This is ++Welby’s most likely response to GAFCON’s demand, in my opinion. His goal will be to work out the terms for a “two-tiered” Communion, with the one tier consisting of those not in communion with ECUSA or the ACoC, and other tier consisting of the remaining provinces. Even if he were to succeed in this goal, and keep all the Primates around long enough to achieve it, notice how similar the outcome would be to that sketched out in Scenario 2.c above: the only difference would be that the first tier would stay in some kind of “communion” with the see of Canterbury. And if Canterbury decides to stay in communion with ECUSA and ACoC, then the outcome will be like that sketched in 2.b. above.
Indeed — notice how similar the final outcomes of all of the last three scenarios are. The UK charity that represents the “Anglican Communion” as such will remain in place, because it is a perpetual corporation, and it is under the more-or-less permanent control of the minority revisionist provinces. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the legal head of that charity, and so will remain in formal relation with it, no matter what the majority of Anglican provinces decide to do. And since that majority will decline to play any part in an organization in which the revisionist minority are also members, they will also have to organize as a new entity, regardless of what the revisionists do (short of repenting, which will never happen).
I conclude from this analysis that the Anglican Communion is almost certainly headed for a formally divided future — one that reflects in fact the pro forma division which has been in existence ever since the Windsor Report and Dar-es-Salaam. Whether or not it remains a single but two-tiered entity, or becomes two entirely separate organizations (the old one, controlled by the minority, and a new one formed by the majority), will be up to the GAFCON / Global South Primates and how much they value an ongoing relationship with Canterbury. And that outcome will probably be determined by how well Archbishop Welby manages the first few hours of the meeting next January.
Either way, it looks like it is curtains for your Curmudgeon. Just as I am done with ECUSA, I will not have anything to do with an ongoing Anglican entity which allows ECUSA — in all its blasphemous ugliness — to be a member. And as I mentioned, if the minority retains the legal right to the control of the British charitable corporation, the new organization will probably not even call itself “Anglican.” I may not even bother to cover the demise, if it follows the most likely path sketched above. But stay tuned for a while longer, because the whole scenario is in God’s good hands.