NEWS:  September 2, 2003

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Bird’s Eye View of the News

Atila Sinke Guimarães

AN ANTI-ANGLO ANGLICAN “CHURCH”  -  The split in the so-called Anglican Church regarding homosexuality is becoming deeper every day, and promises to break up the entire 77-million-member denomination very shortly. Let me divide the pro and con wings and relate the numbers of members for each according to the World Christian Encyclopedia, quoted by Reuters.

In the “left” wing you have:
  • The English Anglicans led by Rowan Williams, Anglican primate, who supports gay bishops, even though he recently advised his old friend Jeffrey John, a known gay, to renounce his appointment as bishop of Reading to prevent further divisions: 26.3 million.

  • The American Episcopalians who support the election of Gene Robinson as the first homosexual bishop elected as such. The gay bishop has become a very common occurrence in the Anglican confession, but Robinson is an innovation in that that he is the first gay openly living with his “partner” to be elected: 2.4 million.

  • The Canadian Episcopalians who approve the Vancouver “blessing” of same-sex unions: 0.8 million.
The total of the “left” wing comes to 29.5 million.

The “right” wing is composed mainly of African Anglicans, all them opposed to the Anglo-American front that supports homosexuality. They are:

An Anglican funeral procession

Anglicans burying the church of England
Corriere della Serra, February 25, 1994
  • Nigerian Anglicans: 20.1 million.
  • Uganda Anglicans: 8.6 million.
  • Kenya Anglicans: 3 million.
  • South African Anglicans: 2.7 million.
  • Tanzania Anglicans: 2.6 million.
  • Sudan Anglicans: 2.3 million.
The total of the “right” wing comes to 39.3 million.

The remaining 9 million members of the denomination are in Australia, New Zealand, and spread out around the world.

The Africans are the most vociferous of the southern hemisphere Anglicans, and moving toward a clear break with the English head of the confession. Analyzing the present situation, Greg Vegnables, a South American Anglican archbishop, recently stated that “there is a very serious threat the church may break up into North and South, with the archbishop of Canterbury heading only the northern hemisphere. The primates of the global south are mobilizing themselves. There is an insistence that the church not be manipulated by the white Anglo-Saxon side” (Our Sunday Visitor, August 24, 2003).

Gene Robinson celebrates his appointment

Gene Robinson celebrates his appointment as bishop - LA Times, August 4, 2003
Nigerian primate Peter Akinola already broke with the Vancouver diocese after it blessed same-sex unions, and threatened to break with primate Rowan Williams and the Church of England when Jeffrey John was chosen bishop of Reading. When Williams advised him to renounce, the imminent schism was postponed. As for the American situation, Akinola classified the confirmation of Gene Robinson as “a satanic attack on the Church of God” (ibid).

One can see that the positions are defined, and the official break seems to be certain. The “right” wing appears to be simply waiting for the most convenient moment to make its break. It seems to be just a question of time.

The interesting point is that the less corrupted and more numerous part of the so-called Anglican Church is outside of England and revolted against the official leadership, the archbishop of Canterbury. It seems to me a deserved end for this arrogant confession that was born from a pretension of Henry VIII to put England outside of Rome’s government and to make his authority greater than that of the Pope.

A SOLEMN BANALITY  –  At the moment when Catholic public opinion was waiting for the Vatican to issue clear norms to punish sex-abuser priests and to strongly condemn the entrance of homosexuals into the priesthood, the Vatican did not take any effective measure on these topics. Instead it sidestepped the issues by putting out a document on same-sex marriages.

The recently released document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith contains no doctrinal innovations. To issue an official document stating that the Catholic Church does not approve of same-sex unions is a solemn banality. No one ever even imagined the opposite.

No doctrinal reason for such a document exists. There are only two political reasons for it:
  • First, to divert the attention of the Catholic public from the two important matters I just pointed out.

  • Second, to send a message to Rowan Williams and other Anglicans of the first-world: “Don’t think you will keep your favored spot in our politics of inter-religious dialogue if you support what happened in Vancouver. Our grassroots are not prepared for that.”
In other words, the Vatican is maneuvering to abandon the putrid Anglo-American Anglican wing. At the same time, it is probably already flirting with the “rightist” African wing. It is not a new Vatican procedure. A similar approach was taken in 1992, when some Anglican factions approved the ordination of women.

CELIBACY CHALLENGED  –  More than 160 priests in the Milwaukee Archdiocese have signed a letter pushing the U.S. Bishops to allow married men to be ordained for the diocesan priesthood. “We urge that from now on celibacy be optional, not mandatory, for candidates for the diocesan Roman Catholic priesthood,” stated the August 16 letter sent to Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (The Tidings, August 22, 2003). One can see that the same platform defended by retired Archbishop Rembert Weakland continues to be sustained by many of the local clergy under the complacent eyes of his successor, Archbishop Timothy Dolan.

POSTPONED TRIP  –  John Paul II’s trip to Mongolia scheduled for August was postponed. After visiting Mongolia, the Pontiff had intended to stop in Kazan, Russia, on his way back to Rome. In that city JPII plans to hand over the Icon of Our Lady of Kazan to the patriarch of Moscow (The Catholic World Report, July, 2003) without any demand that the Schismatics renounce their multi-secular errors and revolt.

This plan is an astonishing de facto denial that Russia should convert, as Our Lady requested in Fatima. But this plan of John Paul is opposed by Alexis II, head of the Russian Schismatic Church, who once again snubbed the Vatican and showed his complete disinterest in any offer that includes an official visit from the Roman Pontiff. Another failure of ecumenism.

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