Let's see who salutes

The Sunday Telegraph reports on an idea as if it is fact. The idea is that foreign bishops would be allowed to intervene in dioceses where they disagree with the local bishops theology or pastoral practice is going to a part of a future Anglican covenant.

The paper says:

The Church of England is set to allow foreign archbishops to intervene in its affairs, secret papers reveal.

Under controversial plans being drawn up by the Church's bishops, leaders from Africa and South America would be able to take over the care of parishes in this country.

They threaten to end the historic power of bishops to have ultimate control over their dioceses because parishes could ask for overseas prelates to carry out important duties, such as leading ordination services.

The Sunday Telegraph cites a "secret document" without citing who wrote it, for whom it was written, and when it was written.

Such moves are not currently permitted in the Church of England, but the confidential document - seen by The Sunday Telegraph - says that "the issue of intervention in the affairs of other Anglican churches" needs to be addressed.

The paper cites the group Reform as supportive saying that the group believes this proposal would address issues such as when an ordinand to the priesthood refuses to receive communion from the bishop who would ordain him. (This is the the situation in the Diocese of Chelmsford where the bishop, the Rt Rev John Gladwin, has refrained to ordain Richard Wood because Wood said he would not receive communion from his bishop.)

The article says that the idea is a way of regulating bishops intervening in another's jurisdiction, as if these interventions are inevitable and appropriate.

[The proposal] is designed to stop provinces taking unilateral action and argues that Churches that defy traditional teaching should be asked to repent of their actions or face being expelled from the worldwide Communion.

What is not answered is how this kind of provision would prevent the Church of England from dividing, separating conservatives from the rest of the Church, and how this provision could not be applied to liberal parishes in conservative dioceses.

[T]he Rt Rev Stephen Lowe, Bishop of Hulme, claimed that such a provision for traditionalists would lead to a split in the Church.

"We’ve already played into the hands of those who want oversight with the legislation for flying bishops for opponents of women priests, but the effect would be to create a para-church within the Church of England," he said.

"It would separate them [the traditionalists] off from the rest of the Church."

EpiScope says the report is like the game of Telephone. The Sunday Telegraph is, to use another image, frequently the paper of choice for groups like Reform who want their ideas to be run up the flagpole.

Comments (2)

Oh my - It looks like the "secret documents" have fallen into the hands of The Episcopal Church Executive Council,

Member of the Executive Council, Mark Harris, has some thoughts (written Oct 24) here,

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