Saturday, October 10, 2009

An American Communion

I've always noted the irony that so much of the right wing reaction driving this attempted bishops' coup called "The Covenant" in the Anglican Communion is driven by American money and American initiative. It is ironic since so much of the passion driving the coup is deeply anti-American, and not just from Africa (Lambeth, Durham, and Pittsburgh).

I wonder if this Covenant coup is successful, it might prove to be a Pyrrhic victory. What was done by American money and initiative could be undone by American money and initiative. If the North American churches are singled out and segregated from the rest of the Communion, what would stop them from following an independent path and establishing separate ties with other churches in other parts of the world? What would stop them from making their own separate arrangements with Rome and Constantinople? (There has always been a lot of back and forth traffic between the Episcopal Church and both Rome and Constantinople). Since the North and Latin American churches are not quite so in thrall to their bishops, and the bishops themselves do not make such a fetish out of collegiality like their English brethren, there could come an initiative to create a separate and alternative communion to the one focused on Lambeth. That vision of the right to carve out a separate space "in but not of" the Anglican Communion could be realized by the left. The Covenant consigning the Episcopal Church and allied churches to "less than..." status could well be taken as license to begin creating something separate that could eventually overshadow and eclipse Lambeth's historic role as center of the Communion.

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