Bishop Whalon responds to Ephraim Radner

Bishop Pierre Whalon of the Convocation of American Churches in Europe, keeps a lively blog. Recently he responded to some of Ephraim Radner’s recent writings.

“[Radner] wrote in part:

It is clear that the official structures of TEC have rejected the plea made to them, or have begun to do so in respect of what was, if we be honest, a critical effort at peace-making: the Pastoral Council and Primatial Vicar scheme. Will the Bishops by 30 September agree to other requests made of them or are we seeing the handwriting on the wall? I fear the answer to that seems virtually foregone.

To which I replied:

At Camp Allen (last week), I asked the Presiding Bishop during the business meeting whether she felt she could still name a primatial vicar. She responded on the record that this option is still open to her.

What your bishops said is clearly impossible is a council with a majority of foreign bishops overseeing (the operative word) the work of such a bishop. Had the scheme been consultative, it might well have been acceptable…

What concerns me very deeply is the notion that Dr Radner is putting forth here, and that the Primates Communiqué also implies: the Primates Meeting has now become the final arbiter of issues in the Anglican Communion. Who agreed to this? There is certainly no agreement between the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates Meeting on this, for example. (ed. note: emphasis mine.)

Furthermore, the Constitution is very clear that any bishop (or other cleric) exercising ministry in this church, never mind jurisdiction, has to declare conformity to the doctrine discipline and worship of TEC. Did the Pastoral Scheme envisage the foreign bishops taking the Oath of Conformity? And why would anyone think that the House of Bishops has the power to overrule the Constitution? Even Archbishop Akinola has to respect his.

What is also clear about the Communiqué is that it had several iterations before being finalized at the eleventh hour, and that no one was happy with it at that time. It certainly started out as a “critical effort at peace-making,” but ended up proposing a coercive structure that implicitly trumped the governance of our church by the highly questionable rule of the Primates. Moreover, by its silence on proposed legislation criminalizing sexual orientation, the Communiqué seems to endorse it. So TEC is condemned for ignoring the standard of Lambeth I.10, while those who would hold us to it are not reprimanded for violating the same standard? This isn’t peace-making, by anyone’s standards.”

While you are at the bishop’s blog, have a look at his: “Long Note on the Situation”

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