The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, issued a statement in his Pentecost letter to the Communion requesting the resignations from certain inter-Anglican bodies, such as the ecumenical relations committees, of representatives of those Provinces who will not abide by the moratoria agreed upon within the bodies that currently govern the affairs of the Anglican Communion (the Instruments of Unity). The moratoria consisted of no sanctioning of official liturgies for same-sex unions, no consecration of partnered gay bishops, and no more crossing of diocesan or provincial boundaries by those who vehemently oppose homosexuality and feel they must extend their own ecclesiastical authority into provinces not their own.
Of course, no one is happy. The liberals in the Episcopal Church howl that Williams is making the Communion into another authoritarian Roman Catholic Church by a different name, with his aping the Pope’s authority. The conservatives howl that Williams is a weak-willed man who will not be a decisive leader in these crisis times and who cannot do what is necessary to save the Christian faith within Anglicanism from the liberal heretics. The man can’t win!
When an Empire and its exponents can no longer
exercise control by might, an option is to feint, double-talk, and manipulate. Such tactics have been in the fore with Archbishop Rowan since the confirmation of Gene Robinson as the Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. The deployment of the Windsor Report and the manipulation of the Lambeth Conference, as cited above, are prime examples. The archbishop’s Pentecost letter is the most recent example.
In the Pentecost letter, it looks like he is disciplining errant provinces of the Communion, while only a little concentration shows that the underlying goal is to assert his power to be the disciplinarian. Archbishop Rowan is intent on a covenant with punitive measures built in.
IMHO, the belief that Williams is trying to be an authoritarian figure because his presumed “goal is to assert his power to be the disciplinarian” is absurd – not just absurd, but ludicrous! If Williams has demonstrated anything over the past seven years, it is that he is not an authoritarian and will not come down with a hammer on those “others.” Now, this is the problem. The Bishop Marc, I will presume, would have been fine if Williams came down with a hammer on the those bishops and provinces that acted in ways that Bishop Marc hated – like boarder crossings.