Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Good News From AnglicanLand

First, the headline in the Telegraph:

Does anybody else think that the word "crisis" has completely lost meaning for the Anglican Communion? Ever since we started reporting on the Canterburyan Death March, I think every single article referencing Lambeth has cast the situation, no matter what it is at the time, as a crisis.

"Gay Bishops! Crisis!"
"African Bishops Threaten Schism! Crisis!"
"Women Bishops! Crisis!"
"Rowan Lacks Milk For Morning Bowl Of Raisin Bran! Crisis!"

The bottom line is that the Anglican Communion is now merely a shell of an institution, much less a religion. The crisis on this was initiated decades, if not centuries, ago. Everything else has just been window dressing.

Back to the topic of the article. Basically, you've got five Anglican bishops who have finally awakened to the realization that there's no way in heaven, hell, or anywhere else that the entity they've been serving could be the Church established by God Himself.

From the Catholic Herald:

The Rt Rev Andrew Burnham, Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Rt Rev Keith Newton, Bishop of Richborough and Rt Rev John Broadhurst Bishop of Fulham as well as the Rt Rev Edwin Barnes the emeritus Bishop of Richborough and the Rt Rev David Silk, an emeritus assistant bishop of Exeter released a statement announcing their resignations.

They said: “As bishops, we have even-handedly cared for those who have shared our understanding and those who have taken a different view. We have now reached the point, however, where we must formally declare our position and invite others who share it to join us on our journey. We shall be ceasing, therefore, from public episcopal ministry forthwith, resigning from our pastoral responsibilities in the Church of England with effect from 31st December 2010, and seeking to join an Ordinariate once one is created.”

That all sounds pretty cool, right? Here's the coolest part, though:

With the Ordinariates, canonical structures are being established through which we will bring our own experience of Christian discipleship into full communion with the Catholic Church throughout the world and throughout the ages. This is both a generous response to various approaches to the Holy See for help and a bold, new ecumenical instrument in the search for the unity of Christians, the unity for which Christ himself prayed before his Passion and Death. It is a unity, we believe, which is possible only in eucharistic communion with the successor of St. Peter.

Did you catch that last bit? Notice that these guys aren't ditching the Barque of Elizabeth I because it's convenient or because they see it as something utilitarian. They explicitly state that the unity prayed for by Jesus Christ is only possible in union with the Pope. This is not the Kasperian language of ecumenism. This is the same sentiment expressed by the Formula of Hormisdas. Since I haven't really seen it pulled as a quote from any of the sources I've seen reporting this story, I'm not sure folks realize how significant this is.

Not to mention the significance of this whole developing scenario. We are quite possibly witnessing the extinction of a world religion that has, in many ways, shaped the history of the world. Has this made CNN, FoxNews, etc.? Not that I've noticed.

And what of Rowan in all this?

Dr Williams said: “I have today with regret accepted the resignations of Bishops Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton who have decided that their future in Christian ministry lies in the new structures proposed by the Vatican. We wish them well in this next stage of their service to the Church and I am grateful to them for their faithful and devoted pastoral labours in the Church of England over many years.”

Not with a bang. But a whimper.

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