Canadian Anglican Primates on Revisionism

[COMMENT:  This is a classic test case.  How would you force this kind of process below (dialogue to consensus) into a productive dialogue to truth?

For an extended discussion of "dialogue to consensus" vs. dialogue to truth, see Homosexuality: Good & Right in the Eyes of God, Chapter IV, Section C.  See also index on "dialogue".    E. Fox]

Canadian Primate Says Spiritual Questions on Homosexuality Throughout the Communion     07/02/2005

Along with the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada met with censure after presentations to the Anglican Consultative Council regarding the two provinces’ recent innovations with respect to homosexuality. Canada’s Primate, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, was ill and unable to deliver an informal series of speeches and discussions exploring the current crisis within the Anglican Communion which was scheduled the week after the ACC presentation. Instead, the Ven. Paul Feheley, principal secretary to Archbishop Hutchison, delivered the speeches by proxy, and reported that the majority of the Communion “wants us to admit that we’ve made a horrible mistake, say we’ve been bad children, got to the corner and promise never to do it again.”

In contrast to narrow consensus at ACC-13, in his speeches to divinity alumni from the University of Trinity College, Toronto, Archbishop Hutchison suggested the possibility that at least some of the ACC delegates had been motivated by a global perception of North American arrogance, concluding that the issue could be more about power than scripture and doctrine. “Listening to the debate, one would have thought that there were no homosexuals in Africa or Asia, that only the United States and Canada had been struggling with this,” Archdeacon Feheley said. “But we know that isn’t true.”

The lack of openness about sexuality, both in North America and the world, became one of the central themes of the conference which was titled “The Ties That Bind.” The three-day event was attended by 80 graduates, mostly from Canada but including individuals from the United States and Great Britain.

While much of the international discussion has focused on the actions of the American and Canadian churches as breaches of communion, the conference expressed a different opinion as it explored the issue from June 27-29. Referring to the refusal of some primates, meeting in Northern Ireland last February, to attend the closing Eucharist, one attendee asked, “Who’s out of communion with whom? They wouldn’t even sit in the same chapel with us.”

Retired Primate, Archbishop Michael Peers said he “would rather be part of a church that debates whether this is doctrine or not doctrine, whether this is church dividing or not church dividing than be part of a church that says, ‘We fear this may be church dividing, and therefore you shall not talk about it.’”

After two and a half days of speeches, worship, open discussions and small-group work, the conference recorded its conversation in a statement of consensus. The thrust of that statement, titled “A Responsible Place at the Table,” was a call to remain in Communion while respecting differing points of view and accepting that conflict is part of reality.

Aaron Orear


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