Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Rowan Williams' Letter

After reading the letter to Bp. Howe, I am not exactly sure of the intentions of the Archbishop of Canterbury. On the one hand, he affirms the obvious and traditional understanding of the catholic Church. The Bishop and the diocese are the primary units of the Church. It is through communion with one's bishop in a diocese that we are one. This understanding of essentials developed within the framework of the early Church. It is certainly my understanding of the Church. By the year 107, Ignatius of Antioch said,"Where the bishop appears, there let the people be, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church." Bishops and the Apostolic ministry are inextricable in the catholic Church.

Rowan Williams' comments about bishops and dioceses invoke the above. Functionally, I don't really know what he means. Does he foresee a structure where some bishops and dioceses are in full-communion with the Anglican Communion, and others because of a lack of Windsor compliance, are reduced to a more peripheral status? I don't know.

Williams might also be speaking more specifically about Central Florida. Howe is a catholic bishop and it is a fairly traditional diocese. Perhaps, Williams is encouraging churches in these kinds of situations to stay put. Maybe, they are jeopardizing full-communion status by leaving the organic unity of a Windsor compliant bishop and diocese? I don't know.

Time will tell.

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