David Simmons at Aiya Iluvatar notes some of the unnoticed implications of Archbishop Rowan Williams recent exercise in authoritarianism:
1. The decision [to exclude Episcopalians from ecumenical dialog] implies that The Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral (CLQ) is no longer the baseline for church unity and is not a sufficient statement of Christian orthodoxy....
By insisting that a particular view and practice of matrimony is required in order to be "orthodox enough" to represent the Anglican Communion, the AOC [Archbishop of Canterbury] is throwing into doubt whether the CLQ is still the ecumenical baseline. Are there other "required beliefs" that we are as of yet unaware of as a prerequisite to church reunion?
2. The decision implies that ecumenical representatives in Anglican dialogues do not represent the communion, but represent their home provinces.....
Setting aside the debate whether the AOC has the actual authority to dis-invite members of ecumenical dialogues, the appointments to ecumenical dialogues have never been representative. Someone does not get appointed to an international dialogue because they are from TEC, or the ACoC, or the Church of England. They are appointed on the basis of their skill and experience as ecumenists. When they serve, they do not represent their home provinces. They represent the Communion. The dis-invitation of members of TEC on those dialogues implies that those members are somehow representative of their home province, rather than simply the best people for the job that could be found.
3. The decision would seem to have a long-term impact on the Communion's existing relationships with the Baltic Lutheran churches and the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht.
Two of the Communion's strongest ecumenical agreements are the Porvoo agreement (1995) with the European Lutheran churches and the Bonn agreement (1931) with the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht. At the same time the AOC is trying to ensure that our ecumenical representatives hold a unified view of human sexuality, many of the Lutheran and Old Catholic churches on the continent are moving ahead with the ordination of non-celibate homosexuals to all orders of ministry and the blessing of same-sex unions. What kind of message is being sent about "limits of diversity" to our communion partners? If TEC receives further discipline for our theology of human sexuality, is the AOC willing to dissolve the Porvoo and Bonn agreements for the same reason?