Saturday, August 19, 2006

Perilously close to Donatism

Kendall Harmon recently posted Bp. Lispcomb's comments over at T19 in view of the upcoming Bishop's Summit at Lambeth next month. Lispcomb makes the following statement about those dioceses requesting alternative primatial oversight (APO):

"I’m not sure what they’re asking for. By our constitution, we have a direct linkage to Canterbury anyway. The reason you all are Anglicans is because your bishop is in communion with the See of Canterbury already..."

Lispcomb makes a great point. Why do they need APO? Indeed, I can understand the requests of the dioceses of Ft. Worth and San Joachin, neither of which ordain women to the priesthood or to the episcopate. A good case could be made that these dioceses at least have theological justification for APO. But what theological justification do Pittsburgh, South Carolina and others (i.e. dioceses that DO ordain women) have for requesting APO, apart from the fact that they just don't happen to like Bp. Jefferts-Schori?

It seems to me that, apart from Ft. Worth and San Joachin, dioceses requesting APO are perilously close to the ancient heresy of Donatism at this point. This could very well turn out to be a fatal flaw in their overall strategy, especially if they have put all or most of their eggs in the APO basket. In the event that the ABC turns down their theologically-dubious request next month, we could witness the straw that breaks the camel-supporting-the-patience-of-the-Global-South's back. So sad.

Lord have mercy.


Pontificator said...

I disagree. The charge of Donatism cannot be made against those who separate from heretics, which is what, in a mild form, the dioceses that have requested APO is doing.

lexorandi2 said...

I appreciate your comment, Al. But then why did no one call for APO under Griswold? His views are indistinguishable from Schori's, and Schori's are indistinguishable from a number of other male candidates that were up for election this year.

I suspect that there would be no call for APO had someone like Neil Alexander been elected. So stating that the request for APO is a "mild form" of separating from heretics is very charitable. I would rather call it what it is: a disingenuous short-cut. Why? Because Ft. Worth and San Joachin have genuine theological grounds for their requests, which are being overshadowed by opportunists who simply want to force the issue.

And I fear that is exactly how Canterbury will see it. I hope I'm wrong.

Brett said...

Frankly, I just wish the Lambeth Conferences carried a bit more of a conciliar authority. If anything, they seem more like a well organized family reunion. Everyone in their finest purple, ready for afternoon Tea with the Queen.

And no, I'm not thinking of swimming the Tiber. But damn it, if I'm not tempted at times..

Adam said...

I've been asking this same question: why do the other dioceses need APO if they have their own lady priests??? Nobody can give me an answer, and I think it's because they are just that: opportunists. Donatists, probably not, but opportunists, most definitely. So sad.

lexorandi2 said...

Well put, Adam. Notice however that I was careful to say "perilously close" to Donatism. I'm not trying to disparage the Network bishops. I simply want to know what their theological rationale is.