Monday, October 18, 2004


After weeks of speculation, the Anglican Communion Report drafted at Windsor under the guidance of the evucular Archbishop Robin Eames was finally published today. It looks like a genuine attempt, in impossible circumstances, to keep the argument going - that is, to encourage Christians of widely different cultures and temperaments to engage in jaw-jaw rather than war-war.

Of course it won't please everybody. But by disavowing expulsions, compulsions, censures and suspensions, Eames seems broadly to have set its face against institutional attempts to curb painful but necessary debate.

Nevertheless there is an acknowledgement that the overall balance of understanding of Scripture and Tradition across the Communion is decidedly conservative, and an invitation to those affirming of lesbian and gay people not to go on rocking the boat until a 'fresh consensus' becomes possible.

However, by inviting ECUSA to 'explain' their actions in consecrating the openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson in New Hampshire 'with reference to Scripture', the report has also given those who think there are legitimate theological reasons for changing the Church's mind on sexuality to show precisely why this makes hermeneutical sense.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, amidst a sea of comment, has asked people not to leap to conclusions about Windsor too quickly. But spin-merchants are already having their way.

The BBC reported that "the Anglican Church has urged US church leaders to apologise for ordaining a gay priest as bishop". However, paragraph 134 of the report actually suggests that the Episcopal Church be invited to express only its regret "that the proper constraints of the bonds of affection were breached in the events surrounding the election and consecration" and "that such an expression of regret would represent the desire of the Episcopal Church (USA) to remain within the Communion."

A thoughtfully worded statement of "regret" has already been issued by the Primate of the Episcopal Church USA, Frank Griswold.

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