Saturday, September 17, 2005

Anglican Breakdown

From The Times, the Nigerians place themselves one step further from the Church of England:

The move comes weeks before the “global south” conservative Anglican leaders meet in Alexandria, Egypt, to discuss their continuing programme of opposition to gay rights. Some sources say that this meeting could mark the start of the formal process of schism, with a new Anglican communion being founded to represent orthodox Anglicans.

Communion with Canterbury is regarded as one of the defining characteristics of Anglicanism. The Nigerian Primate, Dr Peter Akinola, has previously said that it is not necessary to go through Canterbury to get to Christ. According to a statement posted on the Anglican Church of Nigeria website, it has now decided to make this official and has “redefined” its relationship with all other Anglican Churches.

Any references to “communion with the See of Canterbury” have been deleted from the [Nigerian Church's] constitution. Instead, the Nigerian Church is defining itself as in communion with Churches, dioceses and provinces that uphold the “historic faith, doctrine, sacrament and discipline of the one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church”. This will certainly rule out the pro-gay Churches of the US and Canada. It will probably also exclude the Church of England.

The Nigerian Church is one of the biggest and is the fastest growing in the communion. It is strictly evangelical and does not ordain women. Dr Akinola recently started a missionary campaign to double the 17.5 million members by 2007 with the aim of making Anglican Christianity the country’s leading religion within a few years.

But his ambitions extend beyond the borders of Africa. Further changes in the constitution allow Nigerian missionaries for the first time to create Anglican “chaplaincies” outside Nigeria.

Did somebody say "massive pastoral provision"? Talk about a feather forArinze's cap.....



Blogger patrick said...

With the exception of the Anglican Province of Central Africa, the chances of African provinces such as Nigeria or Uganda entering into full communion with the Catholic Church is close to zero. This is because most of them were missionized by the Church Missionary Society and are therefore on the Evangelical wing of Anglicanism. This includes Nigeria. Those parts of Africa who were missionized by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (best-known here for its colonization efforts in what is now the United States) and the Universities' Mission to Central Africa - were historically High Church or Anglo-Catholic and would seem to be a better bet for unity with Rome. However, most of these churches - Central Africa excluded - ordain women.

As the Anglican Communion continues to fragment, there will be new possibilities for union with some Anglicans that would not otherwise exist. However, if Nigeria is one of them, I will eat my hat. At the very least, classical Anglo-Catholics, no matter where they are found, need to understand that, despite wishful-thinking rhetoric to the contrary, they do not have a viable future in either the official Anglican Communion nor an evangelical break-away communion.

17/9/05 18:29  
Blogger George Collie said...

Most recent movements into the Roman Chuch from Anglican clergy in the U.K. have come from the evangelical wing.

AMIA, one of the U.S. outposts of African/Asian Anglican orthodoxy/conservatism, is staunchly evangelical and low church. Yet it recently backtracked and announced it would no longer recognize women priest nor ordain new women deacons.

I think something is up in Anglican evangelical ranks that may involve discussions with Rome. Possibly consideration of intercommunion with Rome, but probably not the Anglican-rite discussions that Anglo-Catholics in the so-called continuing churches (no longer in communion with Canterbury) have been conducting with Rome.

18/9/05 02:28  

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