Perhaps the MadPriest isn’t mad after all?

The MadPriest speculates what the world of Anglicanism might be like if we went ahead and recognized parallel jurisdictions, starting with the US. What’s the harm, he wonders, in having both the Episcopal Church and ACNA (or whatever it’s called these days) as constituent members of the Anglican Communion in the same geographic place?

Before you move along in disgust, go read his piece. I’m not convinced yet, but it’s an intriguing idea.

By the way, he has usurped one of my photos (to my delight!) for a caption competition. Go make your contribution there too.

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9 Responses

  1. MadPriest says:

    Thanks Scott
    And I would point out that I’m not convinced either.
    It’s more of an exercise in lateral thinking and Machiavellian politics than a firm proposal. It may seem like I’m giving away a lot, but my question is would we (worldwide), in the long term, gain the most.

  2. Fr Alexander says:

    Well, despite Madpriest’s piece being full of derogatory and insulting stereotypes (“reactionaries…” “one more bigoted primate…” “forward-thinking, compassionate, enlightened, Christ-based TEC…”), nonetheless I agree with him.

    Ruth Gledhill wrote something similar in her blog following the Tom Wright piece in The Times. Yes, ACNA should be admitted to parallel jurisdiction status in the Anglican Communion, whether TEC likes it or not. And I say this as one who, in Bishop Wright’s words, remains “doggedly loyal” to TEC, and who has no intention of leaving (so long as TEC remains in full communion with Canterbury, anyway).

    However, my reasoning is a bit different. ACNA needs the Anglican Communion more than the Anglican Communion needs ACNA. What I mean is that the ABC and the Instruments of Unity can exercise a positive role in restraining the centrifugal forces that will otherwise likely cause ACNA to disintegrate or, worse, move into some sort of post-Anglican Evangelical / Pentecostal universe from which it will never be rescued.

    Then, in a couple of generations — I’m thinking 75 to 150 years in the future — when we’re all dead and the issues that presently divide us are no longer of concern, TEC and ACNA might even get back together. (“We were fighting about WHAT? How silly!”) But that will be a possibility only if both TEC and ACNA have remained constituent members of the wider global Anglican family while the disagreements played themselves out.

    Why should the Anglican Communion make such an accommodation to ACNA when it hasn’t to countless breakaway groups before now? The answer is simple, really. ACNA *is* different. This is the first time that ENTIRE DIOCESES have broken away from TEC. And the ABC and Instruments of Unity can surely afford to reach some sort of accommodation with them — not as “rewarding schism” but as preserving the Anglican unity at a wider, global, level.

    Madpriest is right: their departure gives TEC more freedom to pursue its liberal / progressive agenda as in conscience it believes it must. But surely the authentically generous Anglican way is to make room for those with more traditional and conservative commitments as well, if not within TEC then within a parallel Anglican jurisdiction. Doing so might even be the price of TEC’s being allowed to remain in the Anglican Communion.

    Well, one can always fantasize.

  3. John-Julian, OJN says:

    The Problem:

    My apartment buzzer rings. I push the talk button and say, “Who’s there?” The person replies: “I am here with a dagger and a pistol and my intention is to kill you.” Do I invite this person in? That’s the current situation between TEC and ACNA.

    If, on the other hand, ACNA were to make a formal declaration that they have no intention of excluding TEC from the AC, and that they would be happy to “share” North America with TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada, then there are possibilities….

  4. Fr Alexander says:

    John-Julian: Yes. I see something of a loose analogy between the “parallel jurisdictions” solution to the North American Anglican problem and the “two states solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian problem. *Both* jurisdictions must recognize each other’s “right to exist” and agree to coexist peacefully (and eventually maybe even cooperate where possible). That would have to be part of the deal brokered by the ABC and Instruments of Communion.

  5. W F Kammann says:

    TEC emphasized “mission” at convention. Perhaps there are diocese in Nigeria or elsewhere who would prefer to allign with TEC. Let EVERYONE vote with their feet.

  6. Mad priest’s suggestions seems somewhat analogous to the situation of the Eastern Orthodox in America. There are multiple overlapping jurisdictions. The difference, I think, the Orthodox would say is that they are at unity in spirit and faith. I am not sure TEC and ACNA would or can say that of each other.

  7. I think it might be a huge mistake to suggest Mad Priest is really not mad… it might hurt his feelings. He does so enjoy it.

  8. Lapinbizarre says:

    Without getting into the issue of Fr Hagger’s capacity for lateral thinking, I would direct you to the excellent, concisely, logically-written, strongly-worded reply that Dennis posted yesterday at OCICBW.

    “MP, read the Chapman memo. What you are proposing is exactly what they want.

    “step one was fight for all of the property they could grab on the way out

    “step two was create an alternative “province”

    “step three is get it into the Anglican communion and to Lambeth. And this would be so much easier if TEC leadership lost their minds and helped them join the club.

    “Step four is once they are in the tent fight like hell to get us thrown out.

    “They don’t want coexistence. They want to win. They think that Jesus demands that they give everything to win.

    “History teaches an important lesson that applies here: Mao Zedong offered coexistence to Chiang Kai-shek merely to build his chance of winning everything. Chang stupidly listened to the Americans and English who told him to make concessions with Mao and go for coexistence. Which was the main reason why Mao was able to regroup and take all of China.

    “Pay attention to the claims and statements that the ACNA make. They want to seize control of diocesan structures and see progressive Episcopalianism wiped off of the map. They don’t want our understanding of this faith to exist. It is all or nothing for them. They don’t want coexistence but they will accept it in route to their eventual goals.

    “If they want to march off and start their own denomination OUTSIDE of the Anglican communion that is fine. We aren’t giving them any money to do it and we aren’t giving them a chance to get in the door and have us thrown out.

    “They see this as a moral fight to the end. Let’s give them the respect of taking them at their word.

    “A great big NO to your proposal. Thanks anyway.”

    Fair play is not in the make-up of these people. Deviousness and ambition are.

    Incidentally, I far preferred your scan of the mitre of the assistant bishop of Connecticut to that of the PB. If more bishops, both sides of the Atlantic, were required to wear such mitres, there might be a touch less ambition in the church.

  9. Bob Chapman says:

    I took Fr. Mad Priest’s work to be a good–very good–essay question during a final exam. There really isn’t a right answer. You are graded on your logic and writing skills.

    I’ll take the exam question a bit further. Is the days of the Archbishop of Canterbury being the first among a select group of equals over and its time to realign?

    The Episcopal Church is in more unity with Swedish Lutherans and Old Catholics than some within Rowan’s Private Club.

    That does not mean we will add the Church of Nigeria to an anathema list to be read once a year. We should continue to accept ordinations done in Nigeria–and possibly faster–than the ordinations of pastors within the ELCA in the Episcopal Church.

    It is just that it could be time for a New Catholic Fellowship to be formed by Old Catholic, appropriate Lutheran, Anglican, Moravian, and whoever else has apostolic succession and holds that they have no private doctrine except what has been help by the catholic church through the ages. And will take communion with one another.

    There is a danger here, I admit. Forget ACNA. What happens if the Episcopal Church and REC join?

    But, creating such an organization for the Canadian Anglicans, Australian Anglicans, Japanese Anglicans, Korean Anglicans, South African Anglicans, the Episcopal Church, the Scottish Episcopal Church, and whoever else may within the current Anglican Communion would take the pressure off of Rowan Cantaur. He would stop being the determiner of orthodoxy. Instead, Rowan could start giving his full attention to mission in the Church of England, his province, and his diocese.

    A side note for the clerical types: An ELCA pastor probably was never ordained a deacon. This means this person has not promised to obey her or his bishop. And Episcopal bishops still accept Lutheran pastors as rectors?