Dehyping the hype on Faith and Order

It’s hard to discern from media coverage who thinks what about Friday’s developments at Lambeth regarding the Faith and Order Commission–aside from it seeming to be a move toward centralization, which no one is thrilled with. The idea of the Archbishop’s office or a select cadre of bishops having more authority sounds eerily like a pope thing, with Ruth Gledhill of the Times going as far as saying it’s the first step on a slippery slope an toward Inquisition.

Andrew Goddard, however, doesn’t think this is a power-grab, pointing out that the commission has been in the works for at least several months. “Faith and Order” is actually a turn of phrase that has its own history in ecumenical circles, and the commission on such was being discussed at least as early as Dec. 2007. The proposal on canon law, moreover, has been running around since 2001, he writes.

This and more from a thread at Fulcrum.

Jim also notes in his more recent post something that we should underscore in this context, since it was parenthetical in that one:

The Windsor Continuation Group may well favor something called a Faith and Order Commission, and they may hope it resembles a holy office, but it is entirely possible that such a commission will never be formed. It’s equally possible that the commission, it will assume a form that even the most ardent opponents of centralization could live with.

The point? Some may hope that this is a new Holy Office, but we don’t know that’s what’s happening here. And, to put it more wryly, nobody should expect the English Inquisition.

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