Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Ruth Gledhill Proposes Anglican Divorce

It would appear that Ruth Gledhill, proposing divorce on Valentine's Day, is no romantic. It would even appear that she regards divorce, in this instance, not as a necessary evil, but as a positive good. Gledhill sees an upcoming Anglican split resulting in two churches, headquartered in Nigeria and the U.S., respectively. She concludes:

An obsession with unity is blinding Anglican leaders from seeing the truth now facing them. It would be a better, braver and more realistic course of action to separate. It is time for the Anglican Communion to divide up the assets and divorce.

I submitted the following response (which has not yet appeared – I assume responses on the Times site are moderated). It doesn't say anything I haven't already been saying for the past few months, but it says it in 998 characters – just under the 1,000-character limit for comments on the Times site).

The unity of the Church in England was a founding principle of the C of E in 1559, and its tradition of comprehension was how that principle was realized in practice. Today, however, the C of E no longer thinks of itself as THE Church OF England, but has settled for being just one sect among many. The rest of the communion has followed this lead. With this change of identity, many Anglicans no longer take the principle of unity as a given, and they have ceased working to accommodate one another.

Ruth Gledhill proposes that the two major factions should simply acquiesce to the inevitable and get on with the schism. But any church built on schism as a founding principle will be inherently Protestant. There will be no place in either post-Anglican denomination for those of us who do not regard ourselves as Protestants. For Anglo-Catholics, and for anyone else whose ecclesiology takes unity as essential, at least in principle, the proposed "solution" is the end of the Anglican road.

No comments: