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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

+Tom Wright on what ECUSA is Facing

In his typical clear and precise fashion, Bishop Tom has laid out the issues that the ECUSA must face and answer with clarity if they are to be in compliance with the Windsor Report.

Biretta tip to Canon Harmon where you can find the entire piece, which I recommend for your reading.

Here is a portion of its conclusion:
Further Matters and Resolutions
18. The meaning, intention and spirit of the Commission’s report and the proposed Resolutions already discussed have to be seen in the light of other matters and resolutions. In particular, we note Resolution A167, whose second and third parts have been widely, and in my view rightly, seen as reaffirming previous ECUSA commitments to work in the opposite direction to the main thrust of Lambeth 1.10 (there is no controversy, I think, about the commitment of that resolution to the ‘listening process’). These resolutions, sadly, provide the context within which the puzzles of the earlier resolutions (why don’t they say what Windsor asked?) can be understood; in other words, they indicate that the reason why the Commission has not recommended actual compliance with Windsor’s recommendations is because some Commission members at least believe that to comply would prevent ECUSA developing further the policies of which the consecration of Gene Robinson and the authorizing of same-sex blessings were symptoms. In other words, it is bound to look to the rest of the Communion as though these agendas, which were not of course the explicit subject of the Windsor Report, are driving ECUSA’s attitude to questions of global ecclesiology.

Conclusion
19. It is very important not to let the plethora of material, in the official document and in all the various commentaries on it, detract attention from from the central and quite simple question: Will ECUSA comply with the specific and detailed recommendations of Windsor, or will it not? As the Resolutions stand, only one answer is possible: if these are passed without amendment, ECUSA will have specifically, deliberately and knowingly decided not to comply with Windsor. Only if the crucial Resolutions, especially A160 and A161, are amended in line with Windsor paragraph 134, can there be any claim of compliance. Of course, even then, there are questions already raised about whether a decision of General Convention would be able to bind those parts of ECUSA that have already stated their determination to press ahead in the direction already taken. But the Anglican principle of taking people to be in reality what they profess to be, until there is clear evidence to the contrary, must be observed. If these resolutions are amended in line with Windsor, and passed, then the rest of the Communion will be in a position to express its gratitude and relief that ECUSA has complied with what was asked of it. Should that happen, I will be the first to stand up and cheer at such a result, and to speak out against those who are hoping fervently for ECUSA to resist Windsor so that they can justify their anti-ECUSA stance. But if the resolutions are not amended, then, with great sadness and with complete uncertainty about what way ahead might then be found, the rest of the Communion will have to conclude that, despite every opportunity, ECUSA has declined to comply with Windsor; has decided, in other words, to ‘walk apart’ (Windsor 157). My hope and earnest prayer over the coming week will continue to be that that conclusion may be avoided. May God bless the Bishops and Delegates of ECUSA in their praying, thinking and deciding.

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    O God, most glorious, most bountiful, accept, we humbly beseech thee, our praises and thanksgivings for thy holy Catholic Church, the mother of us all who bear the name of Christ; for the faith which it hath conveyed in safety to our time, and the mercies by which it hath enlarged and comforted the souls of men; for the virtues which it hath established upon earth, and the holy lives by which it glorifieth both the world and thee; to whom, O blessed Trinity (+), be ascribed all honour, might, majesty and dominion, now and for ever. Amen.
    --Bishop Lancelot Andrewes

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