Generous Orthodoxy  

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Archbishop of Ireland says it precisely

Without this acknowledgement, no dialogue is possible

Excerpts from the Pitt Lecture given at the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale on October 12, 2005, by The Most Rev. Dr. Robin Eames, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, Chairman of the Eames Commission on Women in the Episcopate and the Windsor Report on the Nature of Communion.

"I cannot over-emphasize the strength of conservative feeling about the identity of authentic Christianity as being 'Biblical Christianity'....To a conservative Anglican it is the key issue. But what alarms me about our current crisis is the failure to engage in dialogue on an agreed playing field between two apparently opposing views. If Anglicanism is to maintain a global community, dialogue on an agreed transparent basis is essential. Sadly, so far I have found little evidence that such a process is taking place...

"I am suggesting that...there must be a new and urgent focus on 1) the Christian view of creation and 2) the Christian understanding of salvation. Whatever one's sexual orientation may be, we are all part of creation; and we all need salvation. If our view is 1) that homosexuality has been a part of the created world from the start and thus 'without sin,' we need to engage at new levels of sensibility with those who accept 2) that it entered with man's first fall and so is sinful [along with disordered heterosexuality, divorce, etc.] Surely, if unity is not to be fractured beyond recovery, this Augustinian approach must be a first, rather than a final, stage.

"At the present stage of the Anglican crisis what could be termed a "stand-off" exists between the two wings. As long as there is no agreement on approach, we will not be able to develop any lasting basis for dialogue; and my thesis is that dialogue is essential, whatever form it takes under God."

Bishop Eames ends with a passionate appeal for charity and familial love within the Anglican Communion as we seek dialogue, but that note has been sounded by many others. What seems distinctive about his analysis is his clear, concise delineation of the two irreconcilable points of view that are presently at a stand-off.