Folks on the right side of the aisle are bruiting the news that "the Anglican realignment is beginning," thanks to a meeting that ENS reported here. A whole bunch of formerly Episcopal bishops (and bishops with very disparate theological views) are seeking to kick up a ruckus.
They range from Episcopalians who despise TEC for admitting gay/lesbian participation … to folks who left the Episcopal Church over women's ordination, who hate TEC and gay/lesbian participation … to folks who left the Episcopal Church over the 1979 prayer book who hate TEC and gay/lesbian participation. [Hmmmm … Notice what's "common" about the "Common Cause"?]
Some of them say that the 1979 prayer book is a heresy. Some say that a woman can no more consecrate the eucharist than a monkey can turn a tree into an ocean. But they are all getting together because … they have a common enemy. And the common enemy is the Episcopal Church that admits some limited role for gay and lesbian Christians. That is the "Common Cause" in the "Common Cause Partnership."
They are trying to pretend that they represent some huge global partnership. But let us look closely at the groups and organizations that comprise the "Common Cause Partnership." The membership list is here.
What we see in that list are some bishops who have been chafing at the bit to leave the Episcopal Church, some bishops who left the Episcopal Church a hundred years ago (such as the Reformed Episcopal Church), some who left in the late '70s over the ordination of women (such as FIF/NA), and several advocacy organizations (such as the AAC) that have been spurring-on the "realignment."
When I first saw their news release today, I thought something very big was afoot. However, then I began looking into the foundations of this "Grand Old Plan." And it looks to me like it is nothing more than the same old players reconstituting themselves under yet another alphabet-soup name.
I found myself asking these questions:
Where is the website of the Common Cause Partnership? The "Network" published the statement. It's been picked up by allies such as T19, SF, and the AAC. Do others in the "partnership" have websites and, if so, have they bruited the statement as Duncan has? If not, why not?
Why hasn't the Common Cause Partnership (so far as I know) established a website? For godsakes, they are pretending to establish a whole new faux Anglican (Comm)union. Wouldn't you think they'd at least have a shared website, while they work out a way to share clergy and episcopal elections??
Several folks have better insights than I.
Writing at the Episcopal Café, Nick Knisely reminds us:
There are a couple of observations to keep in mind when reading this document. First, note the absence of the Kenyan and Ugandan missionary bishops from the statement. Second that there is some question whether or not the entire body of Network dioceses are in support of this statement, to say nothing at the moment of the Windsor bishops or the Camp Allen bishops (parties along a spectrum on the "conservative" side of the Episcopal Church.) Finally there are some groups present here that I'm told have not been traditionally understood as Anglicans.The Rev. Susan Russell responded:
These folks change organizational names more often than I change the kitty lit[t]er.Best of all, Jim Naughton wrote in a private message (and gave me permission to quote him):
"They are throwing a blanket over a litter of chihuahuas and trying to make the world believe there's a lion under there."For me, there is some relief that the schismatics may finally be leaving the rest of us alone to go on being the church.