ABC faces Protests in Africa

This report from the Daily Telegraph tells how the Archbishop of Canterbury has entered a storm of violent protest in Zimbabwe. It seems that an African Anglican bishop who doesn’t like the Church of England’s stance on homosexuality has started pulling churches out of the Anglican Communion and has been assisted by soldiers of Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe (who happens to be Catholic).

The soldiers are forcing Anglicans loyal to Canterbury out of their churches and a spokesman for Mugabe says of the planned meeting with Rowan Williams, “We want this man of God to explain to us how homosexuality is good for us.”

Of course no one can support violence and intimidation and Robert Mugabe is just about as nasty as a dictator can get, but the larger issues for the Anglican Communion are fascinating. Its a messy business, and we have to admire Rowan Williams for having the guts to wade into the fray at all. It would have been a lot easier for him to stay home at Lambeth Palace sipping tea and bemoaning the problems.

The larger issues are disastrous for the Anglican Communion. Elitist Anglicans in the USA and UK are faced now with the backlash of their decision to embrace homosexualism. The vast majority of Anglicans in the world are now in the developing world–especially Africa, and for the most part they are offended and disgusted by homosexuality, and they don’t mind saying so. They’re amazed and shocked by the way the Episcopalians and Anglicans continue to endorse and promote the gay agenda despite all their appeals for them to do otherwise.

So what’s a nice, intellectual liberal, white Anglican bishop to do? They have tried telling the African Anglicans that they are ignorant and “One day when they understand the subtleties of human sexuality they too will accept homosexuality….blah blah blah” and the Anglican Africans reply, “Please don’t patronize us. We too have PhDs from Harvard Divinity School and Cambridge and Oxford. It sounds like you are talking down to us ‘darkies’. Please keep your colonialist superior opinions to yourself. In fact, when you talk to us like this you are being racist.”

Whew! How dare they suggest that a nice, well educated, liberal white Anglican be racist!! It’s impossible!! Then the liberals dig the hole deeper and throw stones at the Africans by saying, “These people are all bigamists. Who are they to tell us how to behave in the bedroom?” To which the Africans say, “When you come to understand the subtleties of our our African culture and how very often a man must take more than one wife to look after women who would otherwise be destitute you will be more accepting…”

So the Anglican intelligentsia have been hoisted on their own petard. They’ve disregarded the advice of the vast majority of Christians, disregarded sacred Scripture, disregarded Judeo Christian morality of the last four thousand years, disregarded the vast majority of people worldwide from their own denomination, and where are they going to turn? They can’t turn their back (as it were) on the homosexuals or face a firestorm, yet if they continue their quest to turn the Anglican Church into a feminist-homosexualist sect they will not only lose the Africans, but lose them in what might be a violent and nasty confrontation.

No wonder poor old Rowan Williams wants to retire early.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, check out this article from the Wall Street Journal which outlines the aggressive tactics of the Episcopal Church of the USA against dissenters. If a congregation wants to pull out of ECUSA they are likely to be sued, kicked out of their property even if they offer to buy it from the Episcopal diocese. If they do buy it they are not allowed to affiliate with any group that calls themselves ‘Anglican’. So much for liberalism and tolerance from the tolerant liberals…The answer is obviously for them to pull out, buy their building and join the Ordinariate. Being Catholic they could not possibly be seen to have any affiliation (or similarity for that matter) to the Anglicans. Deacon’s Bench reports on the first Episcopal parish in the USA to do so here.

  • john

    As I see it if Abp Rowan Williams really wants to keep the Anglican Communion from fracturing any further and to hold it together then he will cast the American Episcopal Church (TEC)adrift and recognise the newly formed ACNA (Anglican Church in North America) as THE legitimate Anglican body for the U.S and Canada and accept them as members of the world wide Anglican Communion.

  • Anil Wang

    John, the ABC can't do that even if he wanted to. The Church of England is managed by the government (they choose the bishops and control Church lands after all) and the government wants to be "inclusive". Besides, the ABC is not analogous to the Pope in Catholicism….he has no real power. So even if he wanted to set the TEC adrift, the most he could do is break communion with the TEC. Everyone else in the Anglican Communion is free to be in communion with the TEC.

  • Anneg

    "Hoisted on their own petard," indeed! Is this what happens when you have no authority and only unity of practice?Haven't lots of Anglican churches broken communion with the TEC already?

  • JFM

    Williams and Benedict XVI are quite similar theologians, so this is double fascinating.

  • flyingvic

    I'm sorry, Father, but I find your caricature of the "dialogue" between white and black Anglican bishops as offensive and as wide of the mark as the quoted remarks of Mugabe's spokesman. For him to hold Archbishop Rowan personally responsible for the extreme views and practices of some Anglicans is plainly ludicrous. For you to patronise him in the way you do and to damn him with faint praise is, at the very best, uncharitable. Perhaps you are so enamoured of the Pope's ability to declare what Roman Catholics MUST believe or face excommunication that you have forgotten how different a model of leadership is followed by the head of the Anglican Communion. I know which style of leadership I find closer to the example of Christ.

  • Fr Longenecker

    Dear Vic, the remarks between Episcopal and Anglican bishops at the last Lambeth conference were reported to me by an eyewitness. I wasn't damning ABC with faint praise. I really do admire him for wading into the mess and trying to do something about it.Try not to be so tetchy…

  • flyingvic

    A) Father, I still find the remarks offensive – and almost certainly unrepresentative! The Anglican bishops I know – and I've met and talked with a lot of them over the years, from Michael Ramsey to Rowan Williams – simply don't talk like that. It's like Kevin Costner trying to speak with an English intonation: it just doesn't work.B) One is hoist 'with' one's own petard, not 'on' it.C) And why the hell shouldn't I be tetchy?!

  • Fr Longenecker

    Vic. I am sure you're right. Church of England bishops wouldn't talk like that. It was the Episcopalians. Damned Yankees!Thank you for the correction of the Anglicism about petards!

  • Matthew M

    Sounds like 'FlyingVic' has "ISSUES"!The Anglican Ordinariate proves to be a thorn in TECs side when individual Bishops let the congregation have their parish property like Saint Luke's.

  • StevieD

    You are confused on this one I think, Father. The Zimbabwe situation arose because the local Anglican leader was a supporter of Mugabe and a financial beneficiary of his patronage. The recognition of his episcopacy was eventually & understandably withdrawn by Canterbury but the Zim judiciary recognized the bishop's leadership and rights over Anglican assets. The Bishop has been busily emptying churches and orphanages to take over the assets of the vast majority of church members who do not recognize his leadership. Consequently the great majority of Zimbabwe Anglicans support the ABC in this dispute which has little or nothing to do with the general north south Anglican divide about sexual morality.

  • The Archer of the Forest

    Whom do I need to contact in the States to get involved with the Ordinariate?