Friday, June 15, 2007

A Common Cause Coalescing?

Sure, it could well happen: we could see a union of sorts between various para-Anglican entities like CANA, AMiA, NAAC, and whatever else comes down the pike between now and then, as well as whatever parts of the Continuum, the AAC, or the Network that wish to jump on the wagon. That would be preferable to the alternative: a profusion of fragments, a benighted metastasis of chaos. What might a conservative College of North American "Anglicans" mean?

(1) The realignment movement holds on; the dream of kicking the Episcopal Church out of the Anglican Communion and replacing it with a new Province under one Archbishop/ Primate gets another wind.

Of course, a College is not yet a Province; a college head is not yet an Archbishop. There might not be an alternative province to be recognized as such for some time, as the various participants shall have to hammer out a polity and surrender their autonomy to what emerges. But it has happened before--think of how the Episcopal Church itself came to be in a roughly similar process--and it could be done again given time.

Meanwhile, the college members would likely seek recognition as genuinely Anglican, as full members of the Communion--the kind of recognition denied them form the time being by Archbishop Williams. Indeed, as I see it, Williams means to make their membership in the AC contingent upon their achieving peaceful relations with the Episcopal Church. In other words, Williams would rather not have the Episcopal Church kicked out of the AC, whether a new Anglican polity is globally recognized by the AC in the US or not.

Williams is unlikely to get his way--I cannot imagine the Common Cause partners ever reconciling with TEC to seek a peaceful coexistence, period. That might take a generation or more--at least 15, 25 years until the current leaders are gone and younger ones have come up wondering what the fuss was all about.

(2)So Williams will have to be moved off his current position--which may seem like not a very hard thing to do--or the Common Cause partners will have to wait their turn for a new, more conservative-friendly Archbishop.

But I think Williams has enough English evangelicals with him and the cause of unity in the CoE now. He will not be moved unless he wants to move. Why? The installation of Minns confirms--for enough in the CoE--that Akinola and others' immoderation exceeds that of TEC.

Many in the CoE may indeed think that TEC has been immoderate, and by that immoderation has damaged the church's essential ministry of reconciliation. But it may be that the installation crosses a red line--it too damages the cause of reconciliation, but in a special aggrevated way, as if damage were being sought, as if damage were a desired outcome. TEC thought at GC2003 it was doing God's will in bold, prophetic obedience to the call of the Holy Spirit. Well, not all were convinced. Akinola et al are doing damage when alternatives they proposed were available, when some form of unity could have been negotiated between the poles DEPO and a PV scheme.
To put it briefly: the damage Akinola etc seek is Realignment, and they have never suspended it as an end, whereas TEC and Canada have never sought Realignment as an end.

Either TEC shall have to be provoked to immoderation exceeding that of Akinola at al, or the Common Cause partners will just have to wait for a new, friendlier Canterbury.

(3) Here is the rub: the very formation of a Common Cause confirms the aim is and has always been Realignment, regardless of rhetoric to the contrary. It makes what might have been sincere chaos look more and more calculated and deliberate. That is, it makes it seem clearer and clearer that the partners have never sincerely joined Williams and the other Primates in seeking reconciliation--it was all a sham, and the others were being used with malice aforethought.

What then? The success of the Common Cause faction is the likeliest route to the de-Anglicanization of its members. Here's one way it could happen: They will become a huge entity nominally Anglican that goes unrecognized by the AC--at least for a time. As the rest of the AC goes its way, it will grow in seditious wrath to the point it will not be able to resist formally separating from the AC. Again, a confirmation of unstable immoderation.

Should anyone in TEC oppose the formation of a Common Cause faction?


At 2:16 PM, Blogger Marshall Montgomery said...

Trenchant analysis, as always, Scotist. I read it in the light of Nicholas M. Healy's article from the ATR, which I posted on my blog--it's an eye-opener.




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