Sunday, August 26, 2007

Deliberations in New York

The Admiral of Morality has published two new pieces that are part of the Diocese of New York's study and report on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. (Another item in that series was Bishop Sisk's letter, which we published here.)

The first is a fine essay by James Rosenthal (director of communications for the Anglican Communion Office, among other duties at Canterbury). He writes about the challenges of the Anglican Communion in becoming a "global family." Here are a few snippets to whet your appetite:

In the last several years, things have surfaced on the journey of "becoming" that are not foreign to any family in any part of the world: the family feud. . . .

The Communion, as a family with its myriad blemishes, exists to aid those who see their Anglican Christian identity not only as the way to heaven and life after death, but also as a means of living life fully before death. We can't be less than a church that honors its historic formularies and lives its life based on Scripture, tradition and reason. . . . [W]e respect the autonomy of our various churches. There is no Anglican Church, but Anglican churches in 38 provinces in over 160 countries. . . .

What we need to re-learn is the language of Paul and the body of Christ and the words of Teresa of Avila and others who demand that we use our very being to build up, not destroy, the fragile body we are at present. Some seem to choose some sins—or perceived sins—as more defining than others. . . .

The second piece from New York's study is an interview with Bishop Catherine Roskam (Suffragan Bishop of the diocese) by the Episcopal New Yorker (ENY). Bishop Roskam is also a representative from the Episcopal Church to the Anglican Consultative Council. Here are a few snippets from the interview:

ENY: What do you see as the origins of the current controversies in The Episcopal Church (TEC) and the Anglican Communion?
Bishop Roskam: The tensions have a long history, but the immediate controversy around homosexuality has been driven by the dissidents in this country. The deeper causes have to do with the wealth and power of The United States and the disregard in the past for the voices from the developing world.

ENY: I'd like to follow up on what you said about the dissidents driving the agenda. What's that about?
Bishop Roskam: Opposition to the ordination of gay and lesbian people and the blessing of same sex partnerships is only the most recent chapter in the dissatisfaction of the dissidents. It began more than 30 years ago with the ordination of women. That is when the primates began meeting regularly.What differentiates these two issues is that women are not in a minority in the Anglican Communion. . . .

ENY: How much is cultural?
Bishop Roskam: Alot. The preoccupation with male homosexuality has to do with issues of maleness. So many parts of the Communion have no experience of Christian gays and lesbians in committed relationships. It's too dangerous for gay and lesbian people to come out. In some countries they can be jailed or even executed. The undergirding issue is patriarchy, and also clericalism.The question is: who decides? Here, we have a highly developed theology of the role of the baptized. We elect our bishops, and many provinces don't do this; bishops are appointed or elected only by other bishops. Some in the Communion would like to see us more hierarchical rather than less. It used to be said that the controversy was about Scripture but I don't hear that as often: people who read Scripture come to different conclusions.
We don't know how many other dioceses are engaging in such a study program, but we are grateful that the Diocese of New York materials are being made available to the wider church.


Blogger Jan said...

Thank you. I especially appreciate the comments by Bishop Roskam.

8/26/2007 5:04 PM  

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