How far, O Lord, how far?
Anglican Bishop Michael Ingham just issued a rite for same-sex blessings in his diocese in western Canada. Plastic sabers are rattling worldwide with oblique threats of "schism" and an increasingly hollow pretense that the terms of the conflict are, at root, theological and jurisdictional.
The Primate of the West Indies, Archbishop Drexel Gomez, said: "I am very disturbed and upset. I will be in consultation with some of the primates over the next few days, but it's clear to me that there's going to be some kind of dislocation." Archbishop Gomez said Bishop Ingham should not be invited to the 2008 Lambeth Conference, the 10-yearly council of Anglican bishops, because he was now "outside the flock". "There is no question that other people will follow the example if something is not done to show that the mind of the Church is firm in this matter," he added. "The Archbishop of Canterbury will have to make it clear how far the Communion is ready to go."
The last words give the game away. Anyone who asks, "How far can I go?" has already set his heart on the other side of the boundary. Archbishop Gomez himself is clearly not of this thinking, but the episco-bureaucracy is. There's little cause for Catholic gloating here; anyone who has read "Always Our Children" can sense those simian arms straining through the bars of the cage, clawing at the fruit held just out of reach.
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