ARE ANGLICANS FALLING APART?

The schism in Canadian Anglicanism turned ugly last week with threatened fights over ownership of church buildings, hints of swift punishment for rebellious priests and the uncrating of an alternative church structure for some rebellious clergy and laity.

At the heart of the dispute are divergent attitudes toward homosexuals. The liberal wing of the church wants to embrace homosexuals as children of God. The conservative wing of the church say that homosexuality has been condemned in Scripture and practising homosexuals should be shunned.

So deep is the split that conservative Canadian Anglicans want the orthodox Anglican Church in South America to establish a parallel jurisdiction in Canada with the right to ordain priests etc. Two Canadian Anglican bishops are on the record as favouring this move.

Earlier the executive body of the Canadian Anglican church asked the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, head of the 77 million-member world Anglican Communion, to tell the South Americans to cease and desist. So far Archbishop Williams has remained silent.

A senior Anglican cleric said that if, as reported in one British newspaper, Archbishop Williams was exploring the idea of recognizing parallel jurisdictions, the world church would likely be irrevocably fractured.

Do you believe the Anglican church is on the verge of collapse?

Do you see any way the church’s divergent views on homosexuality could be reconciled?

Would the Anglican church be better off with a Pope?

11 Comments »

  1. 1
    Chimera Says:

    “Do you believe the Anglican church is on the verge of collapse?”

    I think that, like all institutions in the midst of catching up with reality, it’s going through some growing pains. But I don’t think the Anglican church is gonna collapse anytime soon. There are too many active members who are determined not to allow it to stagnate in the dark ages of fear and discrimination.

    From what I know of Rowan Wilson, he’s on the side of modernization and the accepting of homosexuality as an inborn human condition, rather than as a disease that must be eradicated. He would just prefer that the many members of the Communion learn to deal with their differences among themselves, rather than always wanting an arbitrator to step in and do all the decision-making.

    “Do you see any way the church’s divergent views on homosexuality could be reconciled?”

    It’s not the views of the church, it’s the views of some of the members that need to be reconciled. They are people, and people do tend to disagree. And disagreement on a personal level is fine. What needs to be stopped (not reconciled) is the attitude that one group of people are allowed to make official policy — on behalf of everyone else — that demonizes and dehumanizes a fairly large chunk of the population who are doing absolutely nothing to deserve such odious treatment.

    “Would the Anglican church be better off with a Pope?”

    What! And wipe out nearly five hundred years of running in the opposite direction? LOL! As much as the two sides in this “fight” might hate each other, the one thing that would guarantee their future unity would be the threat of being back under the dictates of an overseer with whom one is not allowed to argue.

  2. 2

    Chimera:

    Your remarks on Rowan Williams are right on the money. He is a deeply spiritual theologian. What is so sad is that he has to devote so much time and energy to sorting out in-fighting in his church over gays when his talents lie elsewhere.

  3. 3
    Joanne Nicholls Says:

    You can’t Pope the Anglicans! That’s what makes them Anglicans. They’ll work through all this somehow. Or there will be another break-off or Schism or whatever.

  4. 4
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    I thought protestantism was about freedom from dogmas and the Pope. I understood that their leader was a Primus Inter Pares, not an powerful dictater of beliefs. Since the Great Schism of the year 1000 or around that the movement in all those Churches has been away fron an international centralized almighty authority. Under those circumstances there can be disgreement between national orientations and alliances between similarly thinking Congregations…but how could there a schism? In order to secede do you not need a solid bloc to secede from? Only the Catholic Church can have Schisms.

  5. 5
    Cate McB Says:

    Paul,
    There are other solid blocs besides the Catholic Church from which schisms can secede. Eg. Let’s take the United Church of Canada and the schism that took place when “The Community of Concern” folks decided to break with the United Church of Canada over the issue of ordaining homosexual clergy. They literally took buildings, candles and congregations with them and the enormity of what happened is something that the Anglicans should study, the lessons being much more current than the sometimes forgotten Reformation and its aftermath.

    Maybe Poping the Anglicans would in fact be a good idea. Yes, not having a Pope is indeed what makes them Anglicans, but do they understand the ins and outs of that on a daily basis? Maybe putting them under a Pope would shake them up to such a degree that they could claim their Anglicanism helpfully enough to resolve this current problem with intelligence and integrity! LOL to them anyways, no matter what!

  6. 6
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Cate,
    Am I to understand that the ugly Protestants are just as quarellsome and materialistic as the ugly catholics? Well I guess real freedom is illusory.

  7. 7
    Cate McB Says:

    Paul,
    To put it another way, the problem of extreme decentralization within Protestanism is just as difficult (if not more difficult) than the problem of extreme centralism within Catholicism — especially when extreme controversies erupt. And is real freedom illusory? Maybe … I’ve lived at least 50% of my life as a Catholic but my father was an Orangeman. I think real freedom involves the willingness to deal with the reality of otherness and I don’t see that willingness too often among too many people.

  8. 8
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Cate,
    I wholeheartedly agree with you. Your Orangeman father reminded me of an anecdote. I am half French-Canadian and a good half of the French family hails from Ontario. They called themselves Yellowbacks for having rubbed their backs so often against Orangemen.

  9. 9

    I’m gay and old enough to remember when the most controversial marriages were between Protestants and Catholics!

    BTW, are you any relation to the Neil McKenty who had a call-in show on CJAD, way back when it was on Mountain Street?

  10. 10

    Ah, yes, I now see (About) that you are one and the same! Glad to see you’re still around.

  11. 11

    Kenn:

    Welcome aboard. If you go back with me to Mountain street, you’ve been around for a while. I grew up in Orange Ontario when a “mixed marriage”was almost grounds for excommunication.


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