Saturday, March 24, 2007

Episcopal Strife

This article from EWTN news outlines the growing rift in the Anglican community.

Houston, Mar 23, 2007 (CNA).- The Anglican Communion seems one step closer to a schism this week, after bishops of the U.S. Episcopal Church rejected an ultimatum from the primates of the Anglican Communion to create a new pastoral initiative that would help address the ongoing disagreement in the Anglican Church.

At the end of their annual spring retreat, the bishops of the Episcopal Church issued a statement on Tuesday, stating that they decline to participate in the primates' demand for a new pastoral scheme that calls for the appointment of a primatial vicar and pastoral council. According to the London Times, this scheme would provide an enclave for those who cannot accept the leadership of a liberal bishop who had abandoned the Church’s traditional stand on such things as homosexual “marriage,” or actively homosexual clerics.

It sounds like our separated Anglican brethren are having somewhat of a power struggle. To summarize, the Anglican leaders have questioned the fidelity of some things the American church has been doing of late. The Americans have essentially snubbed the greater Anglican Communion, even trying to flaunt their independence in the leadership's face. Although the Anglican Communion has been clear on their stance on ordination of openly gay bishops, etc. the American conference of Episcopal bishops chose a very liberal Woman as their leader. And now, they seem to not care about what the greater Church has to say.
The Episcopal bishops said they could not accept the plan because it violated their Church law. As well, they questioned the “unprecedented shift of power toward the Primates,” demonstrated by the plan.
I can't make this stuff up. The bishops said that (apparently) listening to the greater Church leadership would violate their Church law. Also, they indicate that this shift of power was unprecedented. I liken this "shift of power" to the one that happened when the Anglican Church formed. The local church in England (read: Henry XIII) disagreed with the leadership of Rome, and therefore decided to shift power to local control. I wouldn't be surprised if the Anglican Church goes into schism, that the American episcopate will spin it in relation to the first founding of the Anglican Church.

Although they rejected the proposed pastoral plan, the U.S. bishops expressed their commitment “to continue working to find a way of meeting the pastoral concerns raised by the primates that are compatible with our own Church's polity and canons.”

At their meeting in Dar es Salaam, the primates had set a Sept. 30 deadline for the pastoral scheme to be set up. They also demanded a commitment not to authorize same-sex blessings or consecrate any more homosexual bishops.

It really makes me glad that we have the teaching authority of the Church on our side. There is never really a question of fidelity, or who's right; if all else fails, the Pope is an infallible authority. In this way, the faithful cannot be lead astray by crazy bishops.

It is a simple question of authority, and the authentic christian authority is the Pope in Rome. On matters of faith and morals, the Pope cannot be wrong when teaching ex cathedra, so we always know what is Truth, and there really can be no question. This is the wisdom of Christ, in leaving us an authoritative teacher in the office of Pope and the Magesterium. For this I am grateful, and I'm glad I'm not an Anglican right now.

Peace to all.


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