Well, this past week has sure been one for news. First, ++Akinola warns that if things don’t change and soon he’ll create a rival Lambeth and now the C of E has stated that there is no theological bar to episcopal consecration of women. As with +(+)Schori, it is now only a matter of time before we have a female Archbishop of Canterbury. As a result, FiF UK is even now making plans to bail.
In all honesty, I can’t see how the center can hold. The notion of an international communion held together by affection rather than doctrinal confessions has failed. I pray that this is defeatism talking and that I will be proven wrong–but I just can’t see from where I sit now. My crystal ball suggests not a Conservative Communion and a Liberal Communion arising out of this. What ever arises will be more messy. Why? ++Akinola is a protestant. Recent convert to Catholicism Peregrinator from Canterbury Tales made this comment on a discussion at Texanglican’s place:
The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth is going to have to remove their tabernacles, melt down their monstrances, and hide their rosaries if their going to process to the altar, I mean, holy table with Akinola.
For Akinola, Anglo-Catholics are part of the problem, not part of the solution.
And he’s right.
FiF will not align with ++Akinola. Some probably will leave for Rome, but I can imagine an alternate structure being set up for English Anglo-Catholics that will reach out to American and other Anglo-Catholics (How does Archbishop of Walsingham sound?)
I see nothing less than three potential global Anglican bodies:
1. Canterbury and the former broad church wing–now the liberal wing.
2. An Evangelical Communion centered in the Global South.
3. An Anglo-Catholic wing, probably also centered in England.
Whether these potentialities become realities depends on a whole lot of things which cannot now be foreseen. Perhaps the most important involves who can–or will–reach out to the Continuum.
I said above that the collapse of the AC is perhaps the collapse of an international communion held together by affection rather than doctrinal confessions. Note what I said–and what I didn’t say. I didn’t say that this heralds the collapse of a communion held together by common prayer. Because we’re not. Our prayer internationally has not been common for the past 50 years or so. I believe that the Prayer Book and prayer book spirituality is the true hallmark of Anglicanism. What if we did commit ourselves to common prayer? What if we walked apart as bodies no longer of one mind but if we promised to one another to study how we can return to our common heritage of prayer?
Can the Anglican splinters still witness to the world a path to Christ through steadfast liturgical prayer?