|Archbishop Welby, as seen in Lusaka.|
Well, reading Archbishop Justin Welby's interpretation of the Anglican Consultative Council, where he masterfully manages to combine the best of Dr Strangelove, Lewis Carroll, and George Orwell, all Crusty could think is "He has just created his own doomsday device."
In a desperate attempt to keep spinning what did or didn't happen at the most recent Anglican Consultative Council. yesterday Archbishop Welby released his own fanciful interpretation, which can be found here, dropped on the Friday of a bank holiday weekend in England, weeks after the conclusion of the meeting itself. Let's count the problems here:
1) There is the whole kerfuffle around what it meant that the ACC "received" the Archbishop's report from the Primates meeting. Crusty blogged about this previously here, where I'll repeat the relevant section:
--The ACC formally received the report from the Primates' Meeting in a resolution proposed by Bishop Deng of Sudan. Further, declined to pass a resolution which would have received and welcomed the entire text of the Primates. Some people have been spinning the first action: by "receiving" the Report, is it acknowledging and approving of that report? Others have focused on the second action: Or, by declining to receive the entire text, is that somehow a repudiation? In the end, it did what it was supposed to do: one instrument of communion received a report from another. By failing to receive the entire report, this can clearly be seen as being reluctant to take any further steps, but Crusty is reluctant to see it as some kind of grand repudiation of the Primates, at least at this stage.
Crusty sticks by this interpretation: by declining to receive the full text of the report, and adopting a motion that accepted the report in generic language without receiving the full text, this can be seen as an unwillingness formally to receive the entire report. However Custy didn't see it much of a repudiation or an endorsement, but doing what one legislative body does with another.
Not so. According to the Archbishop, "By receiving my report, which incorporated the Primates’ Communique, the ACC accepted these consequences entirely."
Crusty would say this is just mind-boggling, but that will be saved for later. The Archbishop here is
|Archbishop Welby, Lambeth Palace|
And Crusty was not using Lewis Carroll's name in vain. He thought of the famous exchange form "Through the Looking Glass":
'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'
'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'
'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.'
This is, apparently, the Archbishop's goal as well: he has set himself up as master of the what the words the ACC uses actually mean, able to define its actions through his own interpretation.
2) The meeting from last January is now, ex-post facto, apparently a Primates' Meeting. Remember, leading up to it, the Archbishop specifically said it was a gathering, for a specific purpose, and not an official Primates meeting (it even included a non-Primate, the Archbishop of ACNA).
The Archbishop has now rewritten history, and this gathering is now referred to as a Primates' Meting on
|The Archbishop's Christmas Card for 2016.|
3) And, unbeknowst to us, the Primates Gathering-Now-Meeting has set up a disciplinary process for all future conflicts in the Communion. The language of the Communique from January said nothing about this, nor did any of the press conference spin that Crusty heard. The Communique in full is found here. It currently has no magisterial interpretations posted to define what it actually says, but perhaps that will come. The Communique repeatedly spoke of a decision to walk together, and noted consequences as a result of specific actions of The Episcopal Church. The following words were astonishing to Crusty, that the Archbishop could have the gall to state this so baldly in his statement from today:
"The Primates’ Meeting in January set out some consequences for any Province, now or in the future, which goes out on its own on a significant matter without the support of the rest of the Communion."
Reread that again.
No, this was not a decision taking after much discussion about the actions of The Episcopal Church at a Primates gathering. This was now an official Primates Meeting, which has established disciplinary process for any and all future actions taken by any province of the Communion.
Left unspoken is what the definition of "significant" means, or what "support" means. The Primates can now define what is acceptable for the Communion as a whole.
We don't need a Covenant, apparently: the Archbishop has claimed that authority in Section IV of the prpposed Covenant to adjudicate for the Communion for the Primates.
If you read Crusty's previous postings, he has, in general, been less histrionic in worrying about international Anglican conspiracies. This was in part because of three things
1) we always had the Anglican Consultative Council as a check against the other instruments of Communion;
2) in general Crusty doubts the ability of church bureaucracies to pull off anything that grand (Crusty once worked for a church bureaucracy that had to cancel its Christmas lunch because nobody remembered to plan for it);
3) no matter what is done, nothing will work, because of those in the Communion for whom the only acceptable response is expulsion of The Episcopal Church and any and all who think likewise.
Crusty is now beginning to worry, because Justin Welby obviously has a plan. His un-Primates Meeting claimed authority it didn't have. He has now ex-post facto made that into a Primates Meeting which established a disciplinary process for the Communion as a whole. And has now claimed that the Anglican Consultative Council has endorsed it in its entirety, based on claiming his interpretation as definitive.
His thuggery knows no bounds. It was clear that the way the Primates' meeting defined a violation of the Communion's teaching was done solely to apply to The Episcopal Church as a threat to future provinces. But now this has been institutionalized by his personal fiat. Like the President in Dr Stranglove, instead of a conversation we had hoped to have, we now find out there exists a Doomsday Device none of us knew about, by which the Archbishop can call his un-meetings to become Official Meetings and decide what is a "significant matter" and hold provinces accountable. Well done, Archbishop: even the master of parody himself, Stanley Kubrick, could not have attempted to pull off something like this. Crusty has said repeatedly on this blog he is well aware that actions have consequences, and The Episcopal Church may indeed need to face them for actions taken (actions which COD fully supports, BTW). But have the courage to impose them openly and fairly. Instead all we have seen is that Humpty Dumpty now runs the Anglican Communion, where words mean what he wants them to mean.