Abp. Orombi criticizes Abp. Williams

The Archbishop of Uganda, Henry Orombi, writing in The Times today describes the deep sense of “betrayal” that he and like minded Anglicans have felt because of the actions of The Episcopal Church and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Orombi additionally criticizes the vestiges of colonialism that he sees in the ways the Anglican Communion is governed and makes its decisions.

From his guest column:

“We in the Global South believed the Primates’ Meeting had [the] authority [to discipline the Episcopal Church] – the 1988 Lambeth Conference urged the Primates’ Meeting to ‘exercise an enhanced responsibility in offering guidance on doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters’ and the 1998 Lambeth Conference reaffirmed this.

So, it was appropriate, after the American decision in 2003, that the Archbishop of Canterbury convened an emergency meeting of the primates to address the biblical and ecclesiastical crisis into which the Americans had plunged the Anglican Communion. The primates, including the American primate, unanimously advised that the consecration should not proceed. Nonetheless, two weeks later, the primate in America presided at the consecration as bishop of a man living in a same-sex relationship. This was a deep betrayal.

Since that meeting there have been numerous other ‘betrayals’ to the extent that it is now hard to believe that the leadership in the American Church means what it says. They say that they are not authorising blessings of same-sex unions, yet we read newspaper reports of them. Two American bishops have even presided at such services of blessings. Bishops have written diocesan policies on the blessings of same-sex unions. It is simply untrue to say they have not been authorised.

That such blessings continue and seem to be increasing hardly demonstrates ‘regret’, let alone repentance, on the part of the American Church. So, when the Archbishop of Canterbury invited these American bishops to participate in the Lambeth Conference, against the recommendations of the Windsor Report and the Primates’ Meeting, and in the face of the unrelenting commitment of the American Church to bless sinful behaviour, we were stunned. Further betrayal.”

In regards to “colonialism” the Archbishop writes:

Anglicans may say there are four “Instruments of Communion,” (the Archbishop of Canterbury; the Lambeth Conference; the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting). But de facto, there is only one – the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The peculiar thing is that this one man, who is at the centre of the communion’s structures, is not even elected by his peers. Even the Pope is elected by his peers, but what Anglicans have is a man appointed by a secular government. Over the past five years, we have come to see this as a remnant of British colonialism, and it is not serving us well. The spiritual leadership of a global communion of independent and autonomous provinces should not be reduced to one man appointed by a secular government.

Read the full article here.

Ruth Gledhill had written about this column in advance of its publication. Her article is here.

Damian Thompson describes the article as “devastating” and writes that the language used stands in contrast to Abp. Williams’ “tortured waffling.” Thompson concludes that this attack, coming as it does at the end of the conference proves that Lambeth has been a “failure.”

Which is apparently a view unique to Thompson, who seems to be describing a different conference than the one described by the bishops in attendance.

George Pitcher, also writing in the Telegraph, reports that a “senior church official” at Lambeth described Orombi’s statements as:

“It’s Orombi’s way of getting into the conference,” he replies. “If he’s got something to say to us, he should have come here to say it. It’s a sign of how frustrated the boycotters are that the Anglican Communion is getting on with its business without them. And it’s a very childish response.”

Bishop John Howe, Central Florida, comments on those who stayed away here:

Most of the GAFCON folks have stayed away. My sense is that most of them – not all, thank God – have given up on the Communion, and they are working toward a “new ecclesial structure.” But those who are here do not see that as a Communion solution; it will be another basically protestant denomination (or denominations) with quasi-catholic ceremonial.

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4 Comments
  1. tgflux

    TEC failed to authorized SSBs by a few votes at GC 2000, and it hasn’t been voted on since. We haven’t authorized SSBs (in the only church-wide sense of “authorize”), and ++Orombi is wrong (if not lying).

    That said, it’s time to move past SSBs, to what’s desperately needed (simply in “the fullness of time”): prayer book revision—which OUGHT to be done every generation.

    In revising the BCP, the subject of SSBs becomes moot: we simply inclusify the language in the ONE marriage rite. Voila’! Good ol’ marriage—whether for same-sex or opposite-sex couples.

    It’s both the Christian AND the smart thing to do! ;-)

    JC Fisher

    [Should the ABC be elected, AC-wide? That’s a subject for another decade!]

  2. Marc

    Touche!

  3. William Gilders

    The spiritual leadership of a global communion of independent and autonomous provinces should not be reduced to one man appointed by a secular government.

    They must be breaking out their ice skates in Hell! I agree with ++Orombi!

  4. I found Archbishop Orombi’s comment about the Archbishop of Canterbury very interesting, and very revealing. “The peculiar thing is that this one man, who is at the centre of the communion’s structures, is not even elected by his peers. Even the Pope is elected by his peers, but what Anglicans have is a man appointed by a secular government.” He doesn’t get it. (Nor do a couple of previous commenters.)

    We can think whatever we like about how bishops, and archbishops, are appointed in the Church of England. But that’s their problem and it isn’t for either us or Orombi to offer to fix it. The point Orombi seems to be missing is that the ABC is *not* the Pope. He is the Metropolitan of the Province of Canterbury and Primate of All England. He is regarded as “primus inter pares” and as “presiding bishop” of the ACC, as well as host of the Lambeth Conference, but he has absolutely no authority beyond England (and less than some would like within England), except the moral and theological authority of his personal charisma. I think that much of the “lack of leadership” for which +Rowan Williams has been faulted simply reflects the fact that he does not think more highly of himself than he ought to think, and he knows the real limits of the authority of his ministry. Unlike some Archbishops who shall not be named (oh, wait, I already did), +Rowan is, I think, trying to lead people into some kind of agreement or at least a modus vivendi, not commanding their compliance.

    (+Henry, the relevant passage is Mark 10:42-45.)

    Archbishop Orombi is really a papalist. The only reason he doesn’t just go over is that the Pope would be Joseph Ratzinger and not Henry Orombi.

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