To go forwards, look back

Bishop Mouneer Anis
The widely respected Bishop of Egypt, Mouneer Anis, has pushed another nail into the Communion's coffin.

In a conference speech he calls for a return to true Anglican values that are both Scriptural and conciliar.  Yet in asking to go back he is in fact setting off in a new direction.

He shares the general conservative analysis that in many parts of the Communion there was a generation of clergy and laity who were not grounded in Scripture and who do not believe in the credal essentials of the Christin faith.

But he also sees more of value in the Anglican tradition than many conservatives appear to.  In particular he would like to see the Lambeth Conference and the Primates' Meeting playing a truly conciliar role, giving them authority in matters of faith and order, including the interpretation of Scripture.

Not in Communion as constituted at present, of course, too much trust has been lost and too many have strayed from the orthodox path. And Lambeth 2008 lost almost every shred of its conciliar character with the mistaken idea that 'indaba' meant talking to no conclusion.

He calls on the churches of the Global South, together with other orthodox dioceses, to recover their Anglican heritage and remake it: new conciliar structures would set out the Anglican faith scripturally, definitively and authoritatively.

Bishop Anis is a man of integrity and ability.  He is standing with those who no longer have time for the Communion as it stands and who will no longer be distracted from his task by its time consuming dysfunctionality.

So (if Bishop Anis' words are heeded) the irony will be that the Covenant, nominally designed to hold the Communion together, will come to bind those who never wanted it in the first place.  Those who wanted a Covenant to discipline TEC and other provinces will go off and establish their own, conciliar framework.


  1. Paul, what do you think of Abp. Anis' comment about the invitation to meet in 2 separate rooms? If he says so, it must be true, but if the purpose of the separate rooms was to appease those who did not want to be in the same room with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the attempt backfired, because Abp. Anis appears to be offended.

  2. Cher Grandmère, I think the account is entirely true though there is a question about the reason.

    The most obvious reason, as you point out, is that it was a clumsy attempt to have a meeting whilst taking literally the conservative Primates' determination that 'they wouldn't be seen in the same room' as the PB. But they're not clumsy at this level (normally).

    Separate rooms is more commonly part of a negotiation process between groups who won't talk to one another. I suspect this was what was being attempted, overtly or otherwise.

    Offence would arise by the ACO / ABC showing, yet again, that they simply cannot hear what the conservatives are saying: 'no more talk; decisive action only.'

    The ABC / ACO wants to push any action into the Covenant mechanisms (thus buying m ore time for talking). The Global South have rejected this.

    It is, therefore stalemate which the Global Southerners have broken by their boycott / departure: if the ABC / ACO won't take action then the Global Southerners will.

    We are, finally at the end game. Perhaps 1/3 Primates (see Ruth Gledhill in The Times), with more members than the remaining 2/3, but with fewer other resources, will establish themselves as 'true' Anglicans separated from those who remain in communion with the See of Canterbury.

  3. I read only the first part of the article in the Times from a scan. It seems that the end game may be near unless some of the Primates who said they would not attend change their minds.

    You're right. The people who don't want the covenant may end up being the only ones bound by it.

    Those who wanted a Covenant to discipline TEC and other provinces will go off and establish their own, conciliar framework.

    And how long will it be before disagreements arise in their councils?