Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Battle Lines, Drawn

The New Yorker has a very long, very interesting piece up on Gene Robinson and the shockwaves which have been reverberating around the Anglican world.

Of course, it is the New Yorker and the piece is sympathetic in parts to Robinson. However, it seems to side with the belief that the church's lack of a strong doctrinal core has contributed to the global communion's near-meltdown experience of recent years.

Oh, and it's very edifying to see Anglicans longing for a Pope-like figure....
“The problem is that in Anglicanism, as presently constituted, we have no means of officially disciplining people,” says Archbishop Drexel Gomez, the Primate of the West Indies. Some, such as Paul Zahl, Dean of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, began to despair that Anglicanism’s very DNA bore the seeds of its undoing. “This whole crisis has revealed a very serious deficiency in the character of Anglicanism,” Zahl told me. “It’s a severe deficiency in Anglicanism because there isn’t really a church teaching in the same way that there is in the Church of Rome. . . . I would say there is a constitutional weakness, which this crisis has revealed, which may in fact prove to be the death of the Anglican project—the death, at least in formal terms, of Anglican Christianity. We’ve always said that we’ve had this great insight, and I used to think that we did. But I’m not quite sure whether we’re not on very sandy ground. . . . It’s at the edge of the abyss. It’s about to be extinguished, and that’s not histrionic.”
Wow. And the piece opines that Peter Akinola, the archbishop of Nigeria, is "the most powerful figure in Anglicanism."

Why is this of particular import now, three years after Robinson's election as bishop coadjutor of New Hampshire? Well, in two months' time (13-21 June), the Episcopal church's triennial General Convention will be meeting in Columbus, Ohio. And it's not just any old GC -- it's the novennial one which chooses a new Presiding Bishop for the body. The new PB will be installed in January and serve a decade.

As the wounds over Robinson's confirmation battle continue to loom large, a bloodbath might well come to pass....

So much for the "frozen chosen."