Monday, July 03, 2006

Mag Dogs and Englishmen . . .

. . . are getting harder to tell apart.

The infighting of the Anglican Communion becomes more rabid every time we check our email. Egg readers (btw: are there any?) already know that the decade-long struggle over sexuality was not resolved by the Episcopal Church's recent General Convention. Episcopalians had been invited to express regret for elevating Gene Robinson to the episcopate; they declined to do so, and their election of a female presiding bishop was seen in some corners as further provocation of, or at least a snub to, conservatives worldwide.

After the convention, the Archbishop of Canterbury proposed that the Anglican Communion adopt a two-tier structure, in which one tier (read, full members) took the conservative view of homosexuality, and a second (read, Americans and Canadians) took the liberal view. The first tier would be the Communion properly so-called; the second tier would consist of churches with historical connections to Anglicanism, rather like the Methodists. [Which raises a side question: Would Methodists be invited into this club? For that matter, why aren't they already Communion members?]

We'll say it again: Alas, poor Rowan Williams . . . a fellow of infinite jest and most excellent fancy.

The problem, of course, is that it isn't a communion if the members aren't in, well, communion with each other. And at this point, the US/Canada and Global South provinces pretty definitively out of communion. The schism is here, people, in all but name.

The only real question is whether the Church of England can continue to moderate between them, creating the possibility that the schism may eventually be ended -- or whether, as some signs suggest, the C of E will itself be torn apart, into warring camps with overlapping episcopal jurisdictions.

Where's that Elizabeth and her settlement when they need her?

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