30 July 2007

Anglican without Canterbury?

Mark Harris+ has a great round-up of some recent pronouncements emanating from the right. He notes a growing sense among those favoring realignment that one can be Anglican without being in communion with the See of Canterbury.

He begins:

There was a time, not too many months ago, when the realignment crowd would pull out the Preamble to the Constitution of The Episcopal Church(TEC) and gleefully inform anyone who would listen that if The Episcopal Church were not in Communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury (ABC) it would cease to be Anglican. This was often a prelude to a larger argument that somehow not being in communion with Canterbury would mean that (i) TEC would lose its franchise as the US member of the Anglican Communion, and (ii) TEC's leadership would be in violation of its own Constitution and therefore not TEC at all.

But times change. The realignment community is regrouping. It appears that the ABC is not particularly interested in breaking communion with TEC; It is increasingly clear that the Preamble to the Constitution of TEC is not an item of the Constitution that is proscriptive, but rather descriptive; and, most importantly, there is a growing sense by the realignment crowd that being Anglican and being part of the Anglican Communion are different sorts of things.

Read the whole thing to see his examples. I'm not sure what to make of all this just yet. Over at the Anglican Centrist Greg Jones+ does have a good caution for us progressives: we should not assume that all conservatives, relignment-proponents, etc., are monolithic. But Mark does find enough examples new thought among conservatives with regard to the essence of Anglicanism to suggest a change in the ethos, at least for many people on the right. Maybe, for now, it's enough to note this trend. I for one continue to pray for unity, even amidst all that seems to argue against this hope.

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