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Anglican dissolution is near.

London -- The Anglican worldwide communion is no more. And hopes for possible union with the Vatican are shattered. Recent events crystallized the process of disintegration which has been under way for years (see "Anglican Community: The final schisms," C.I., Jan. 2006, pp. 24-25).

In mid-July the Church of England accepted women bishops. The motion was approved by three-quarters (288-119) of the bishops and clergy. The House of Laity failed to achieve the required two-thirds majority but it is expected that this will change when actual legislation is proposed. The Church of England, therefore, has joined the three countries which already have women bishops--the United States, Canada and New Zealand--and the thirteen other jurisdictions--including Scotland and Wales--which approved them earlier. The split with the "traditionalists" in Anglicanism is well nigh complete.

The relationship with the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church is now also reduced to mere friendship. The quest for a deeper togetherness--perhaps at some time even the possibility of shared Communion--is as Cardinal Walter Kasper had warned, now "unreachable" and "impossible." The introduction of women priests, said the Cardinal, had led to a "cooling off; now we will have a "serious and long-lasting chill" (Zenit, June 8).

Even England's Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, the one person more committed to seeking unity with the Anglicans than any other Catholic, lamented that full Anglican-Catholic unity will now be "out of reach." For years the Cardinal had maintained that the process toward unity was a "road without exit" (Zenit, June 12). As co-chairman of ARCIC, the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, he truly believed that they had reached agreement on the Eucharist and on Ministry, discarding Catholic criticism that on the part of the Anglicans it was mostly smoke and mirrors. Asked why he had continued to pursue this goal even when parts of worldwide Anglicanism had accepted women priests and bishops already, he gave two reasons. One was the historical importance and status of the Church of England where it all began. Secondly, because of the central role of the Archbishop of Canterbury as the focus of Anglican unity. This gave the actions of the Church of England special importance, he thought.

USA

While the Church of England was catching up on women bishops, American Episcopalians, i.e., Anglicans, deepened the rift within the community about the acceptance of homosexualist priests and bishops.

First, however, they made a further contribution to the women issue. At their General Convention in Columbus, Ohio in June, they elected as their "presiding bishop" for a nine-year term Nevada bishop Katharine Jefferts Shori. The presiding bishop represents the church in meetings with other Anglican leaders. Bishop Shori had backed the election of the activist homosexual Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003 and let it be known that she does not think homosexual activity is a sin. She offered the opinion that homosexuals are a gift from God because they are born that way. One immediate consequence of the election of Shori was the request to Canterbury by seven "traditionalist" Episcopalian dioceses to cut them loose from the American church and provide them with alternative oversight.

On June 21 the House of Bishops approved civil same-sex "marriage" and the House of Deputies followed by rejecting the "moratorium" on homosexualist bishops requested by Canterbury.

The next day, June 22, the House of Deputies overwhelmingly (70%) refused to consider a resolution that affirmed Jesus Christ as the "only name by which a person may be saved" (Editor: see Acts of the Apostles, Chap. 5).

On June 24 Bishop Shori gave the concluding sermon in which she said "Our Mother Jesus Christ gives birth to a new creation and we are his children (emphasis ours)."

In England, the London Times repeated the phrase in capital letters the next day with the lead sentence, "The Episcopal Church in America descended into chaos last night after leading bishops on both the liberal and conservative wings disassociated themselves from a last-gasp effort to avert a schism with the worldwide Anglican communion.

Note: Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury recently declared that homosexual activity is contrary to the teachings of Christianity and that homosexuals must change their behaviours if they are to be welcome in the Anglican church (LifeSiteNews.com [LSN], Aug. 28, 2006).
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Title Annotation:Great Britain
Publication:Catholic Insight
Date:Oct 1, 2006
Words:712
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