Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Anglican Arguments...

The Sydney Archdiocese in Australia has always been out of step with the rest of the Anglican Communion and their latest Archbishop has turned their disagreement with the rest of the Church into something of a power struggle for the leadership of the entire Anglican world. The bulk of the Anglican Communion is a synodically governed church. It's bishops are consecrated in the 'Apostolic Succession' - the continuation of spiritual authority stretching back to the appointment of the first 'Episcopio' (Bishops) by the Apostles and recorded in the Acts of the Apostles and in some of the Letters that form the bulk of the New Testament. Anglicans have no 'Pope' and follow, instead, the practice of the Early Church in recognising a 'Senior See' and holding a Conference and Synods in order to examine doctrine and dogma issues that need to be addressed.

For some, this process is far to slow, for others it is far to fast - and, as always, there are those who go along with it as long as it says and does what they demand of it. The Archbishop of Sydney and his followers fall into that category. The bulk of the Anglican Church has moved on from the ghastly era of the Edwardian (Edward VI - son of Henry VIII) and Cromwellian periods. But Sydney wants to cling to the fundamentalism of the 'reformers' of 1552-4 and drag the entire church away from the 'universal' church (Also called the Catholic Church) and back into something that more closely resembles the 'Deep South Baptist' tradition of the US. Frankly, a eucharist in the Sydney Diocese, with one or two exceptions, bears no resemblance at all to what is practiced everywhere else.

And now, Archbishop Jenkins wants to take the Sydney Diocese out of the Province of Australia. He argues that his diocese holds 25% of the funds and makes 25% of the payments; that only his diocese is seeing growth and that only his branch of the church is the 'true' Anglican Church. Anyone who has attended one of their services will also know that they make the Baptists look like Roman Catholics...

All of this is giving a number of people a lot of ammunition to use against Anglicans - mostly from an ill-informed, or biased, base point. Catholic Convert is a friend of mine and a Roman Catholic, so it was a little concerning to me to see his post on the latest attempt by Archbishop Jenkins to seize authority for his desire to drag the Anglican Church back into the age of presbyters (unordained) and fundamentalist driven anti-Roman excess.

Let us hope that the common sense of the rest of the Anglican Church will eventually prevail. Archbishop Jenkins has hitched his particular wagon to some very odd fellow travellers. There are several American and Canadian bishops who are so 'Catholic' they make the Romans look like Methodists, several African Bishops and one Archbishop in the same camp and, worse, who have dismissed their Synods and refuse to operate in the democratic synodical manner of the rest of the church. Sydney is alone in its 16th Century 'Protestant' stance on doctrine, dogma and worship patterns and traditions in that group. That alone should warn those tempted to follow this attempt to split the Communion.

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