Support the Café

Search our Site

From our friends in the South

From our friends in the South

UPDATE: Here is the statement in English from the Primate from his blog.

The Most Revd Francisco de Assis da Silva, Primate of the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, has issued a statement regarding last week’s meeting in London. English language quotations are via Google Translate and should be read as such.

The Archbishop waited until Monday to release his statement, not wanting to comment “in the heat of the debate.” He described how the issues of marriage equality dominated the time that the Primates spent together. In the most extreme instance, he said, the provinces associated with GAFCON wanted the Episcopal Church to repent of its stance on marriage, or be expelled from the Communion.

This position has generated a reaction that led the Primates over the center and the most progressive to seek alternatives that were causing a drastic break in the Communion, as the very secular media anticipated repeatedly before and during the meeting. The final resolution was what I call possible in terms of keeping the Primates at the table and with the desire to keep talking about the symbolic terrain of sexuality.
Este posicionamento gerou uma reação que levou os Primazes mais ao centro e os mais progressistas a buscarem alternativas que causassem uma drástica ruptura na Comunhão, conforme a própria mídia secular antecipava repetidamente antes e durante a reunião.

Archbishop Francisco demonstrated deep sympathy with the position of TEC, and the response of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. He anticipates that his own province will, in due time, find itself in a similar position.

The impact of this decision certainly affects it causes pain not only in TEC, but in all the churches that have heeded the call of God to welcome all the people in their pastoral needs. As Bishop Michael Curry said, the TEC is serving a pastoral wish is not just a cultural issue but a concrete answer people who love God, serve Him and yearn to follow Jesus.

Our IEAB has done as well as other provinces of the Communion, has made its way to include the LBGT community, depending on decisions that take these two or three years, we will experience situations similar to that TEC lives today.
O impacto dessa decisão com certeza afeta é causa dor não somente na TEC, mas em todas as igrejas que tem atendido ao chamado de Deus em acolher todas as pessoas em suas necessidades pastorais. Conforme o Bispo Michael Curry destacou, a TEC está atendendo um desejo pastoral que não é apenas uma questão cultural, mas uma resposta concreta as pessoas que amam a Deus, servem a Ele e desejam ardentemente seguir a Jesus.

Nossa IEAB tem feito, assim como outras províncias da Comunhão, tem feito o seu caminho de inclusão da comunidade LBGT e dependendo de decisões que se tome nestes dois ou três anos, poderemos viver situações semelhantes a que a TEC vive hoje.

The pastoral letter emphasized the persistent prayerfulness of the meeting, and its commitment to goals that strengthen rather than divide: for example, the renewed commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. It ends with a plea

That orthodoxy (alleged by some) does not become a hindrance to the advancement of God’s Kingdom!
Que a ortodoxia (alegada por alguns) não se torne um empecilho para o avanço do Reino de Deus!

Read the original letter here; via Google Translate here.

Photo: Dom Francisco de Assis é o Primaz da IEAB, via


Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
JoS. S. Laughon

“How global”?

Very. It often comes as a shock to middle/upper class American/western liberals (be they progressives or classical liberals), soaked in the Enlightenment, that much of the world does not see the world in that way.

Marshall Scott

Well, Brother Laughon, certainly pretty “global.” At the same time, somewhat selective. For Global South Encounter IV in 2010, Brazil was not invited. Socially and economically and in many other ways, Brazil is as “Global South” as anyone might imagine. Unfortunately, it was considered not so “Global South” in light of support for the Episcopal Church (and in light of failure to accept the incursion of the Province of the Southern Cone into the Brazilian diocese of Recife), and so was not accepted.

Marshall Scott

Thank you. My point is not to “portend” anything. But, to paraphrase Orwell, it is apparent that for Global South leadership “some global south folks are more Global South than others.”

JoS. S. Laughon

Probably due to the fact “the Global South” refers to the whole, not simply a few parts. I understand the need to cite the existence of Brazil or, say, South Africa but then using them to portend the overall feelings of the whole seems more than a tad inaccurate.

Gregory Orloff

You seem to have missed the point, which is that “the Global South” in conservative Anglican media is always cast as a monolithic majority bastion against inclusion of LGBT folk in the Church, yet here is a church in the south of the globe that is for inclusion of LGBT folk in the Church. It seems there is more diversity than often acknowledged in the global South…

JoS. S. Laughon

Naturally with any generic label, there are those who are outliers. There are theological progressives/liberals in the Global South, just as there are theological traditionalists/conservatives in the Global North. I can think of the ACNA, the Continuum, the ordinariates, the Scottish Anglican Network, REFORM Ireland at the top of my head.

However pretending that the overwhelming nature of Anglicanism (and indeed Christianity) in the non-white, non-Western world doesn’t drastically tend towards theological traditionalism seems a bit disingenuous.

Faye Carroll

Boy what a legal mess the church will be in if it gets expelled from the communion. Churches will be splitting all over the place. Can you imagine the mess?

Jean Lall

Faye, could you cite some evidence for your opinion here? In what way is the Episcopal Church’s legal standing in the United States dependent upon its standing within the Anglican Communion? I haven’t seen that come up in any court cases thus far, but perhaps I’ve missed something. The Episcopal Church is autonomous; it is governed by its own constitution and is not answerable to any foreign authority. Most Episcopalians seem to be happy with that arrangement. Thus far I haven’t encountered any fellow Episcopalians whose loyalty to their church (either their local parish or the denomination) is based on its status as a member of the Anglican Communion, and who would therefore want to split up their congregations if that membership came to an end. Perhaps things are different in your parish. Or perhaps you are an outsider to TEC.

Jeremy Bates

The preamble means almost nothing, legally. The notion that Communion membership is necessary to TEC’s legal existence is misguided nonsense. And if TEC gets thrown out of the Communion, then we just change the preamble. As Paul Powers says, TEC existed before the Communion. TEC will exist after the Communion too.

Paul Powers

TEC’s preamble states, in part:

“The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America,
otherwise known as The Episcopal Church (which name is hereby
recognized as also designating the Church), is a constituent member
of the Anglican Communion, a Fellowship within the One, Holy,
Catholic, and Apostolic Church, of those duly constituted Dioceses,
Provinces, and regional Churches in communion with the See of

I suppose that if TEC were expelled from the AC and declared out of communion with +Canterbury, an argument could be made that it ceased to be the Episcopal Church. It’s a weak argument (in my opinion) because General Convention can always modify the preamble. In fact the original constitution, adopted in 1789, had no preamble and made no reference to an “Anglican Communion.”

Cynthia Katsarelis

Another bearer of sunshine. The mind of the church, Faye, is on liberation. As +Michael Curry says, the arms of Jesus were outstretched for all. People who were going to leave have. And some are coming back because homophobia is a poor foundation for a church.

I’m gay and married. We are very happy. And our happiness hurts no one.


Ann Fontaine

The Primate of Brazil is fully fluent in English as well as Portuguese (the language of Brazil) and others.

William Bockstael

Indeed…the because those poor bishops always refuse to travel abroad along with their entourage and using the ungodly and sinful money from the corrupt and tawdry Western chirches

Prof Christopher Seitz

Don’t know this province. How large is it, just for curiosity sake?

Lots of Primates struggle with English. I once had to serve as a (very weak) translator for Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and others.

But the beauty of our Communion is how vastly un-Western and un-wealthy it is. ‘Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of God’ makes its quotidian sense.

Margaret Sjoholm-Franks

Size matters for you, huh?

Prof Christopher Seitz

The point I thought was obvious.

‘Size matters?’

Yes. See GC.

As for the Primates Meeting (I was of course being asked about the SEC and its size).

Canon Doe is not your friend. He was in favor of the covenant, sat on its design group, and favors international canon law.

If he worries about the Primates it is only from the side of wanting even yet tougher AC standards, all the way down.

Have a blessed day in Christ Jesus.

Prof Christopher Seitz

It matters in any context where common decisions are rendered by a body.

Just like at TEC’s GC, for example.

Ann Fontaine

The Primates are not constituted or authorized to make decisions for the Communion – which is made up of autonomous Provinces. It is not at all like General Convention. See the article from the Canons expert.

Daniel Lamont

Dear Professor Seitz,

You have commented on this matter of size before when you said that the Scottish Episcopal Church was tiny (which may well be true). I do not see the relevance of size in this matter other than that there is a tendency for the larger body to attempt to bully the small body – as the CofE has over the years tried to bully the SEC. Other things are more important than size.

It is worth noting that Bishop Assis da Silva posted a supportive comment on Bishop David Chillingworth’s blog of 6th January.

Prof Christopher Seitz

I believe there are about 10,000 SEC members in church on Sundays.

I lived in St Andrews for nine years and was licensed there.

A very large bloc of Anglican Christians in the SEC are evangelicals and not in step with a change in the marriage rite of the SEC.

Size certainly matters in TEC when votes are taken and traditionalists are defeated.

Michael Hartney

The Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil has nine dioceses and one missionary district. They list 120,000 members. The Primate serves as the Bishop of South Western Brazil and the Bishop in Charge of the Missionary District of Oeste-Brasil,

Rod Gillis

The last bit of your comment is a form of romanticism. I’m not sure what purpose it is intended to serve in the context of this debate.

As a person who has always enjoyed a decent standard of living in a western democracy I remain deeply challenged by the prophetic words of Dr. Moses Coady (below). Perhaps others will find them inspirational.

The Coady Institute at my undergrad alma mater St. Francis Xavier University is named for him. Students from all over the developing world, including Africa, come here to gain skills to take home for economic development, and to come closer to the vision of being masters of their own destiny, as Coady refereed to it.

“Did not the master say: ‘ The poor you will always have with you’? ‘Was he himself not born in stable’? ‘Did he not die a pauper upon the cross?’ ‘Is not poverty a virtue?’ To those people we say: To use these holy words as a justification for widespread poverty is a monstrous blasphemy, especially on the lips of those well-off Christians who do not prescribe for themselves such a road to heaven–indeed they take every means and make every effort to avoid it. …We wish people to enjoy the decent living we enjoy, a living which we regard as our fundamental right”
—The Rev. Dr. Moses M. Coady in 1943

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café