Friday, October 28, 2005

More From Archbishop Eames

In a recent interview with PBS, Eames said:

[Q: How much of all of this comes down to the issue of what a communion is?] A[Eames]: I think you've put your finger on something very important. I think that there are those who believe that to be an Anglican has got to be seen in terms of relationships: communion, "koinonia," to use the technical word. Being beyond friendship but being involved in a communion relationship goes to the very root of what it means to be an Anglican. Now, again, the question is raised, can you be an Anglican if the Anglican Communion disintegrates? I think that would destroy, for me at least, much of what I believe is at the heart of Anglicanism, which is relationships. If we are in communion with God, and God is in communion with us, then we've got to be in communion with each other. And I think that is at the root of what I believe is classical Anglicanism. And I hope and pray that what we're seeing now and experiencing now will not in any way destroy that relationship.

I have highlighted that portion of Eames' comments above that I found especially interesting. I seem to have the same general notion of koinonia or communion that Eames does. That is, we apparently both agree that for any provincial Anglican churches X and Y, if X and God are in communion, and Y and God are in communion, then it follows that X and Y are in communion. That is, X and Y ceteris paribus would remain in communion on account of their respective relationships with God even if X, say, were to proclaim that it, X, is not in communion with Y; from the proclamation alone it would not follow that X is not in communion with Y.

But note what else follows. Eames said, in response to the Nigerian Church's rewriting its constitution:

But I would beg them to pause and think of the consequences of what they are doing because schism, schism could quickly become a reality if we all start doing that sort of thing.

I had not thought as far ahead as Eames apparently has. Note that X's saying it is no longer in communion with Y does not make it true that X and Y are no longer in communion; so much I noted above. But nevertheless, X's saying that it is no longer in communion with Y could result in schism between X and Y--their genuinely falling out of communion with each other. Is this a bald contradiction from Eames?

Well, no. Should X's saying that it is no longer in communion in Y be sinful, that sin might be sufficient to remove X from communion with God, until it repents, etc. And on account of X's sin removing it from communion with God, X would be out of communion with Y. What sin are we talking about? X usurping the place of God in determining communion.

In plainer English: Nigeria's toying with kicking ECUSA and the CoE out of the AC might result in reality merely in Nigeria being removed from the catholic Church, and not either ECUSA or the CoE. Hat tip to Eames; credit where credit is due. And a caveat to eager schismatics in ECUSA who are ready to run to follow Nigeria on these slippery rocks.

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