A great deal to read this week, from Pope Benedict quoting Manuel II Paleologus, to the meetings of Windsor/Network bishops in Houston and of Global South primates in Kigali.
First of all, the opening paragraphs of the Kigali statement dealt with:
1) massacres in Rwanda
2) massacres in Sudan
3) war in Burundi, Uganda and Congo
and it finished with discussions of:
4) poverty eradication, HIV/AIDS, peace building and church planting
5) theological formation
7) conflict with Islam
I think it's embarrassing that people carrying these burdens should have to devote time and attention to the problems of the pampered decadents of North America. Typically, when the General Convention finished in Columbus, revisionists were angrily complaining that their opponents would only talk about "the sex thing", and were ignoring all the breathtaking achievements (the the MDG) that dominated the meeting. But now it's their turn to ignore everything else these Primates are concerned about, in favour of the one issue where they can have the starring role.
The Africans delivered a tough, uncompromising statement, and I expect the vibrations are only starting. AFter a trumpet blast like that, one would expect to see horses and chariots immediately begin to move. So it was disappointing to read such a tepid conclusion from the bishops in Houston. I wonder if they were a little dismayed at being roughly hauled to their feet and told to march? There is often a sneaking hope that somehow all this unpleasantness will prove to be unnecessary, and the path of virtue will also be smooth and comfortable. Such flinching has never paid off before, so I can't see why anyone supposed it will now, but hope springs eternal in the hearts of old men who don't want to leave their cozy chairs.
The revisionists are predictably outraged by the GS statement - see The Episcopal Majority
for a typically incandescent reaction. They are quite representative of the revisionist side (even down to the self-flattery of their name), and seems to have developed a full-blown case of Akinola Derangement Syndrome (ADS). I think there were 19 Primates at the conference, but you'd never know it by reading the hysterical reaction. They even confer on him the status of a territory all by himself: "The Akinola/Global South alliance". I've heard of the "Hitler/Stalin Pact" but this is the equivalent of the "Roosevelt/France Defense Treaty". In fact, it's interesting to notice that this statement only speaks once of the "Global South" tout seul, unless quoting a document that uses that term; everywhere else, it is paired with Archbishop Akinola's name: "the Rt. Reverend Peter Akinola and his colleagues from the Global South"; "The Akinola/Global South alliance"; "the Akinola/Global South document"; "the Akinola-aligned primates"; "Archbishop Akinola and the Global South"; "Archbishop Akinola and the primates of the Global South". As I said once before, Akinola has truly become ECUSA's bête noire.
By the end of the piece, the writer has discarded even the pretence that there is anyone at all in Africa except Archbishop Akinola:
First, we must dispense with any notion that there can be some accommodation with Archbishop Akinola over the matters which divide us. He cannot be dissuaded personally, and all such Communion-wide instruments to adjudicate the dispute are now of no use whatsoever. The archbishop has simply created his own Anglicanism and announced it to the rest of us. By his edict, the remainder of Anglicans must either sign on or not.
Second, for those who do not wish to be a part of Archbishop Akinola’s new Anglicanism but still remain loyal to, and convinced of, the efficacy of the traditional Anglican way, we must now find a way to join together.
Archbishop Akinola has now thrown down the gauntlet. He has created his Anglicanism. We must now come together in ours.
But it is a habit of decayed leftism to think it terms of conspiracies and superhuman bogeymen. Here, Archbishop Akinola is protrayed as a sort of sinister Nazgul, swooping down upon the defenceless lambs of ECUSA and crunching their bones as he spreads a pall of despair.
The whine about "boundary encroachments" is raised once again. Yes, that was supposed to stop. But it only started because of an emergency situation. The emergency has not been resolved, so the reaction to it is still there. It would be like trying to re-establish order in the wake of a plague in a community. There might have been a lot of unauthorized people illegally practising medicine because the doctors were dead or swamped, and sick people were desperate for someone who might be able to help them. Naturally, the authorities would want to stop that sort of unqualified medical treatment. But it would be pretty stupid to insist on stopping that while doing nothing to stop the plague. Of course people are going to turn to unauthorized channels for relief, if there's no hope anywhere else.