Comments on the HoB Statement, New Orleans

So the HoB's statement is openly transient, a piece composed merely for a specific time, place, and audience. Though it does not wear an open expiration date--nobody seems exactly clear on how long it will have to function--it is already decomposing. But everyone knows that; the piece succeeds if it is enough to get us through this crisis. It does not have to be beautiful to fulfill its function.

The crisis was not the loss of separatist Anglicans so much as the real possibility of a fissure between moderate provinces without separatist inclinations and our province. The intended, primary audience for the document is the wide body of Anglican moderates, especially moderate Primates.

When Radner says

In the end, the response must be construed as a failure to meet the Primates’ requests, although one made with some very small gestures in their direction. and others made to emphasize their disagreement with the Primates,

one should ask--to be clear--after the referent of "Primates". If he means the radical separatist Primates he is right.

But the history of the Tanzania non-ultimatum's making seems to indicate that most Primates, and even the ABC, accomodated the radicals' discontent in order to keep them from walking away from the table. The Tanzania non-ulimatum might not speak to the mind of the Primates, if what we mean is the moderates--and it seems to me that the HoB document is banking on the fact Tanzania did not speak for the moderates propria persona.

What has changed for the HoB, and for the Primates, and for the ABC--and what Radner and others like Hey seem to have missed--is that they now recognize the plan was separation and substitution all along, and they are able to see that this plan was unreasonable all along. "Unreasonable" because the separatist project seems to have made a mockery of the councils and painful labors of the provinces, as if the meetings and negotiations were all a sorry sham for those pursuing separation.

Thus some Anglican conservatives will not be able to see the HoB document for what it actually is: a compromise that is part of a process. "Compromise" is not a category they are willing to recognize, because for separatists reconcilation with an Episcopal Church that has not turned 180 degrees is not a real possibility. But for moderate provinces who took Windsor et al sincerely and seriously, compromise is a welcome development: it means the process of reconciliation can go forward.

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