Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Speaking truth to power

Most bishops attending the Lambeth Conference have arrived and the circus has begun. Someone suggested checking out BBC America for TV coverage. There is, of course, plenty of controversy and that will be a part of what we see as the conference unfolds. Some of those who arrived early were guest preachers around England. Bishop Schori was in Salisbury, for example. Her sermons are posted here.

Foreseeing that the Bishop of New Hampshire would be a speaker of interest and a controversial figure, the Archbishop of Canterbury barred him from preaching or celebrating the Eucharist in his province. Episcopal Cafe reported:

"Citing fears of creating a controversy, Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury has refused to grant Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the right to preach or preside at the eucharist in England. Robinson received the news in an email yesterday morning.

Sources familiar with the email say Williams cites the Windsor Report and recent statements from the Primates Meeting in refusing to grant Robinson permission to exercise his priestly functions during his current trip to England, or during the trip he plans during the Lambeth Conference in July and August."

Well, he decided to anyway. Sure enough, it was an occasion of controversy. A young man boldly stood up like a modern day John the Baptist, speaking truth to power and calling the bishop (who is supposed to be an example to the flock) to repentance. You might call it a diaconal ministry, as the deacon is the one who calls us to confession. The BBC reported:

"As Bishop Robinson began his sermon a member of the congregation repeatedly called him a 'heretic' and said 'repent, repent, repent'. He began his sermon by saying how sad it was that the Anglican Communion was tearing itself apart. But he was stopped when the man in the congregation shouted that the schism was the bishop's fault."

You can read the whole story and see the video here. Katie Sherrod has posted her account of the event for Integrity USA here.

Next Sunday, 20 July, Bishop Robinson will be at a Eucharist at St Stephen's in Canterbury co-sponsored by the LGBT advocacy groups Changing Attitudes and Integrity. We have yet to see what his role will be this time. But I'm sure there will be controversy.


sanctus.liberalis said...

Actually, he wasn't banned from preaching unless there was something more recent. Canon law does not allow him to ban preachers. Technically, he wasn't even banned or barred from celebrating the Eucharist by the Archbishop. Just like any other diocese, he would have to have permission from the bishop of the diocese. The Archbishop simply didn't give him permission. He is simply working through inaction?

[TLC Article]

It makes me wonder if this supposed e-mail exists. In the past, there hasn't really be qualms about publicizing e-mails.

Fr Timothy Matkin said...

Good point.