16 February 2007

Friday -- reflections on the day

This was a more interesting, and important, day than yesterday. For various reasons, I'm late writing about the evening press briefing, but plenty of others have already commented on it. You can read notes from the briefing here. ENS has a release out, but it's not on the website as I write this (due to the Internet woes that afflict those staying at the White Sands).

So, we are told by our briefers, that things were generally good today, apart from some tension around issues of the Episcopal Church's response to Windsor. The primates discussed the proposal by the Covenant Design Group, and that discussion was fruitful. No real indication was given about the Covenants's contents, but we were told that it is not about issues. Not sure what that means, exactly. Jim Rosenthal was hopeful that we'd all get copies of the draft as early as Monday. Let's see...there was also discussion of the Panel of Reference and the Listening Process. Not much actual info about the discussions, the content, or the tenor of the conversation.

What does it all mean? It's still too early to say. An optimistic reading would point out that everyone is still talking; no one has stormed out of the Meeting. Our briefers talk about "intense listening," and that sounds pretty good. On the flip side, the primates of the Communion can't even share communion together, as I blogged earlier today. We have no specifics, so I wouldn't hazard a guess about how things are really going. The primates who have emerged to share time with us have all been in a good mood, it seems.

Generally, I think the most significant development was the self-imposed Eucharistic exile of the so-called Global South primates. I can't overemphasize the theological statement this makes. I also note that those same primates issued a statement on the Church of Nigeria website, against the agreement the primates themselves had reached not to comment during the Meeting. When asked about this during the briefing tonight, Aspinall, Gomez, and Rosenthal all seemed surprised to hear that the statement was public.

So here's the score: the primates are (mostly) still in the same room, talking with and listening to one another. That's in the plus column. In the minus column, they can't share the Body of Christ together. We won't know the real score until we hear more about the content of their discussions and read their final communique.

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