Sunday, July 02, 2006

Anglicans Set for 'Divorce' over Gay Issue

Specifically, six American Episcopal bishops have declared that they no longer wish to remain a part of the American Province of the Anglican Communion, and want the Archbishop of Canterbury to name them another Primate.

Some background: the Anglican Communion, formerly known as "The Church of England", has a number of large administrative units, called provinces, each headed by a primate. The Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America is, in essence, the American Province of the Anglican Communion, and the Presiding Bishop of the PC-USA is its Primate. Primates and provinces are the rough equivalent of Catholic archbishops and archdioceses.

The problem is that the Anglican Communion has always governed itself and its provinces as though it were a territorial franchisor, and the individual parish ministers its franchisees. As such, never before in the history of the Communion have two Primates attempted to govern geographically overlapping provinces.

Well, they're about to start right now--because the Archbishop of Canterbury has already suggested that any bishops not willing to go along with the EC-USA Presiding Bishop may "stand apart from" that worthy "as associate members." Granting those bishops their own primate would be the logical next step.

It is the sharpest rebuke that the Archbishop can possibly deliver--but one that the EC-USA richly deserves. Particularly after they elected a sworn liberal as their Presiding Bishop!

Of course, I doubt that this will solve the problem. Revelation 18 strongly hints of only one possible solution for aggrieved conservatives: Get out. Let the Episcopal Church be to them as though it were a social club (like Rotary International), or some kind of private tax collection agency. (Matthew 18:15-20).

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