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these troublesome (Anglican) priests

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Oct 20, 2009

 With furrowed brow, Jeff Israely of Time magazine ponders the implications of the latest Vatican move:

For Anglican leaders, the Vatican announcement is the latest minefield to manage in their ongoing effort to avoid a full-fledged schism within their 80-million-strong church, which includes 2.2 million American Episcopalians. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is juggling the gripes of Anglicans of all philosophical stripes and ecclesiastical sensibilities, most notably as battles over women and gay clergy have undermined that prized "communion" within Anglicanism for more than two decades.

Sorry, Jeff, but I don't see how this complicates things for Dr. Williams and his friends. It simplifies things. An open Anglican schism might now be less likely.

Traditional Anglicans are not just "disenchanted" or "disgruntled" with their church leaders, as the secular news headlines report. They are appalled and scandalized. They are not merely "unready" to accept homosexual marriage, as the Archbishop of Canterbury has suggested; they believe that a homosexual union is an abomination. These are not disagreements that can be papered over or "managed" by the hierarchy.

Dr. Williams has a problem: A large number of Anglicans no longer wish to belong to the ecclesiastical body headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury-- not because they disagree over how to do good, but because they think the Anglican leadership, as currently constituted, is doing evil. These unhappy Anglicans are planning to leave. And why would Dr. Williams want them to stay, when the traditionalists would, if they could, undo everything that the current Anglican leadership has done or planned to do?

Dr. Williams has a problem. He might not yet recognize it as such, but the Pope has offered him a solution.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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