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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Shazam! Schism!

The title of this article is "Archbishop fears Church schism" - as if this were a new thing. For goodness sake! We've been dealing with "the threat of schism" in the Anglican Communion since our inception. One might think, from reading this headline, that if the Archbishop of Canterbury says it is so, then it must be so. Well, he hasn't said it, and it still is so. Many people have worked very hard to make this happen. And, it has. We ARE in schism. Shazam! And, get used to it.

Archbishop fears Church schism.
By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent

London Daily Telegraph
Last Updated: 1:58am GMT 06/01/2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury has admitted that he fears losing control of the worldwide Anglican Church, which is on the brink of schism over homosexuality.

In a surprisingly frank assessment of the crisis, Dr Rowan Williams said that he feared anything that set Christians more deeply at odds with each other.

"And because I am an ordinary, sinful human being, I fear the situation slipping out of my control, such as it is," he said.

"I fear schism, not because I think it's the worst thing in the world but because, at this particular juncture, it's going to be bad for us. It's going to drive people into recrimination and bitterness."

In a documentary on Canterbury Cathedral to be broadcast on ITV tomorrow, the archbishop added: "We can't take it for granted that the Anglican Communion will go on as it always has been.

"Of course that's unsettling, of course that's painful for everybody, but there's no way of moving on without asking the hard questions."

His comments, which will be leapt on by critics who accuse him of weak leadership, come at a highly sensitive time for the worldwide Church, which is being pulled apart by warring factions.

Next month, Dr Williams will chair a make-or-break summit in Africa with his fellow primates, the archbishops who head the 38 self-governing Churches or provinces that make up the 70 million-strong Communion.

The archbishop is hoping that a compromise will emerge, allowing conservatives and liberals to co-exist relatively peacefully until a more formal split can be worked out over the next decade.

But if his strategy falls apart a large section of the Church could break away and form a rival body, creating bitter divisions across the world, including the Church of England.

The disintegration could accelerate at next month's meeting if conservative archbishops refuse to negotiate with the new female head of the liberal American branch of Anglicanism, which precipitated the crisis by consecrating a gay bishop in 2003.

Meanwhile, the archbishop is facing fresh turmoil in the Church of England following the disclosure that more than 50 gay or -lesbian priests have "married" in civil partnership ceremonies.

A number of them have openly breached official guidelines that allow them to enter into such partnerships only if they have first assured their bishops that they will remain celibate.

So far, however, no bishop has initiated disciplinary action and conservatives will force the issue on to the floor of the General Synod in February when it stages its first debate on homosexuality for a decade.

The Rev George Curry, the chairman of the conservative evangelical Church Society, said it could be a "crunch moment" for the Church.

But a leading liberal, the Rev Giles Fraser, the vicar of Putney in west London, urged "fight to keep alive the Anglican project of an inclusive and open Church".


Ann said...

And the news here is????

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Not a thing. Except, of course, that 'shazam' sounds interesting with 'schism' - and, will happen in about the same way.

The ABC will declare we are in schism and SCHAZAM! It will be so. Even though it HAS been so since July 29, 1974.

At least, that was the last time we were in schism.

Let's just get on with it, shall we, +++Rowan?

The work of the gospel, I mean.

Ann said...

re: SHAZAM -- love it --- I used to spend days trying to say that just right so I could become Captain Marvel (showing my age)