The bishop of Arizona

Dean Nick Knisely has Bishop Kirk Smith’s statement in which, refreshingly, he admits that his initial appraisal of the Primates’ Communique was naive. Having bishops who admit it when they are wrong may take some getting used to, eh?

The bishop writes: Let me emphasize that the subject of the Communiqué (namely human sexuality) was not discussed in our gathering AT ALL. What was discussed with alarm was the process that we were being asked to follow; indeed which the Archbishop of Canterbury has already begun to put into place by the creation of a Primatial Vicar and Pastoral Council, which would exercise oversight over our own American church. This notion was soundly rejected by the majority of both liberal and conservative bishops. The issue was not our participation in the Anglican Communion, which we unanimously wish to continue, but the legality of the tactics used by a minority of Primates to enforce their views upon us. Our decision, not to accept their ultimatum, was not an issue of theology, but of sovereignty. Some will attempt to portray our resistance to their interference as “choosing to walk alone” from the Anglican Communion. This is certainly not the case. We remain as committed to the Communion as ever, but we must find a way of doing so that is true to our own Constitution. As much as we wish to work together with all Anglicans throughout the world, we are mindful that in 16th Century, the Church of England was created in opposition to a distant Roman Pope and Curia, and that in the 18th Century our country in turn fought a revolution to free ourselves from British rule. Why would we want to turn over our independence to a small group of foreign prelates, who we did not elect, and who have no legal authority over us?

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