Blaming Akinola

Akinola_and_williamsLarry Stammer’s report in Wednesday’s Los Angeles Times could leave readers with the impression that if reconciliation fails in the Anglican Communion, it is largely the fault of Archbishop Peter J. Akinola of the Church of Nigeria.

Here are three paragraphs at the heart of Stammer’s article:

Despite a plea from Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the spiritual head of Anglicanism, to avoid a “rush to judgment,” Akinola in a statement released here criticized the report’s call for both sides in the debate to express regrets.

Akinola was particularly upset by the recommendation that conservative bishops, including him and other Africans, stop claiming jurisdiction over conservative American parishes seeking help. In the Diocese of Los Angeles, for example, the Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi of Uganda agreed to supervise three dissident Southern California parishes.

“Where is the language of rebuke for those who are promoting sexual sins as holy and acceptable behavior?” Akinola asked. “The imbalance is bewildering. It is wrong to use equal language for unequal actions.”

Stammer’s reference to the plea by the Archbishop of Canterbury raises a few related questions:

° Does it apply to the Diocese of Vermont, which has announced that it will continue blessing gay couples unless the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops agrees to honor the Windsor Report’s request for a moratorium on such blessings?

° Does it apply to Bishop Paul Marshall of the Diocese of Bethlehem, Pa., who has raised a valid question about whether the report turns institutional unity into an idol?

° Does it apply to Bishop Carolyn Tanner Irish of the Diocese of Utah, who flatly rejects the report’s conclusion that the Episcopal Church acted without adequate consultation with the broader Anglican Communion?

The report was quick to stress that the Archbishop of Canterbury is not a Pope of Anglicans. Yes, he has asked Anglicans not to rush to judgment about the Windsor Report. Does that mean all Anglicans — or just angry ones from Africa? — need to receive the report in reverent silence? And when should this moratorium on spirited discussion expire?

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  • kendall harmon

    Archbishop Akinola’s response significantly came after the presiding Bishop’s response. The clear responsibility lies with North American Anglican leadership to move toward the report.

  • Nancy

    Kendall is correct. It is my understanding that Frank Griswold was shown the report at least a week early, which was to me a tip-off that Williams meant no good will to orthodox Christians in America. The statements made by Williams, Eames, and especially Griswold bear this out. Gene Robinson is laughing his way through his “regrets,” and IMHO he is even lying about “regretting” anything.

    Akinola is the only commenter with a spine!

  • C. Wingate

    Well, maybe ++Akinola didnt have quite enough spine.

    He waited long enough to let the liberals start hanging themselves; by the time his response came out Griswold at al. were saying that they weren’t going to do what the report asked of them. (If he had waited another day, he might have picked up +Robinson’s unrepentant response too.) He could have said, “well, how am I supposed to live with this sort of response?” Instead, he let loose with a bit of personal pique at being called on the carpet for his acts.

    Bishops and spokesmen could have saved themselves a lot of grief by telling reporters what they intended to *do* rather than what they *felt* about the report. +Iker’s response in Ft. Worth is a good model; it gives no opinion of the report at all.

  • Jeffersonian

    I don’t think VGR is lying about his ‘regrets’ at all, Nancy. Read his statement carefully and parse the words. VGR isn’t regretting his elevation to Bishop, the process that resulted in him becoming Bishop, the thumb in the eye to the orthodox, his heretical rhetoric since then, the trampling of the 1998 Lambeth conclusions, the scrapping of Scripture, or even the trashing of 5,000 years of Judeo-Christian belief.

    No, what VGR ‘regrets’ is that anyone might find something amiss in this stampede to apostasy and that this bewildering stand might lead someone to an act opposing it. IOW, VGR ‘regrets’ the bad behavior of others, not himself or his amen corner in the HoB. He’s confessing that his enemies are rubes and troglodytes.

  • Zoomie

    Please don’t assume that Akinola has waited until the American church and the UK church issued their comments to come out against the “spinlessness” of the “mother” church. The perception that Akinola (and others in the African church) waited until the fire was lit to blow on the flames a bit couldn’t be further from the truth. The African Anglicans have been speaking long and loud about the slippage from orthodoxy in the Anglican communion. It’s just that until the gay issue, the press hardly took notice.


  • Sinner

    again: Robinson’s reponse to Akinola attributed statements to Akinola actually made by Robert Mugabe.

  • Brad

    As a non-Anglican/Episcopalian who is watching this with interest (given that it’s still part of the same Body I am in), I am happy that there is someone like Akinola to fight for orthodoxy.

    He’s fighting what is likely a hopeless cause, but someone needs to fight it.

    Just for the record, I have been watching this brew for a while, and to his credit, Akinola (along with others in the African church, especially) has been pretty outspoken all along.


  • Jill

    My husband and I thought this line in ++Akinola’s statement was superbly expressed: “We have been filled with grief as we have witnessed the decline of the North American Church that was once filled with missionary zeal and yet now seems determined to bury itself in a deadly embrace with the spirit of the age.” Wow!