The recommendations of the Panel of Reference regarding Diocese of New Westminster are out. I'm not going to comment on them specifically as there are sites that have already done so and who cover most of what I would say anyway. I will say that I share a concern with many about the reference to GS 2007. It is possible to interpret that the panel is expecting that GS 2007 will step back from the progress made regarding full inclusion of GLBT in the life and sacraments of the Church. What happens if that is not the case? I do, however, celebrate the affirmation that the Anglican Church of Canada and the Diocese of New Westminster are in communion with the Church of England. You can find the report at http://www.anglicancommunion.org/commission/reference/docs/report_october.pdf(For those of you who are used a bit more sophistication in the use of links I apologize but I am just learning this thing.)
What I would like to comment on is the responses of two Primates from the "Global South". Of course we all know that I have a problem with political speak so I may miss a few things. You can find the responses which I am refering at http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/1307/ . There are a few assumptions of which I question the validity.
The response by +Gomez states:
"The claim is not in relations to the Church of England but 'the Church of England throughout the world,' that is, the Communion. It is clear that many provinces are not in communion with the bishop of the diocese and so the Panel needs to make clear how they can fulfill their clear declaration to 'remain in communion with those whom they regard as faithful' as long as they are under the jurisdiction of the diocesan bishop. The Panel seems to want to say there is no problem because parts of the Communion have not declared impaired communion with the diocese and even those who have not declared it with the parishes but (a) it is not clear how the Panel makes sense of this latter claim canonically or ecclesiologically and (b) if there is any doubt many of the Provinces will make clear that indeed "In order to continue in full communion... 'we cannot at present function in structural fellowship with Bishop Ingham and the Diocese of New Westminster. (AS 3.2.3)". This is a crucial stage in the Panel's whole argument and it is precarious to say the least. In paragraph 25, the Panel's response to the request for special arrangements given the current status of the Diocese and Province within the worldwide Anglican Communion. However one describes it, the situation is clear and unprecedented - the province of which they are part, as a result of the actions of the diocese of which they are part, are currently unable to participate in the Instruments of Commuion."
I question the questioning of the Panel's arguement. +Gomez appears to base it on the idea that the Diocese of New Westminster is currently unable to participate in the Instruments of Communion. In order to answer this I would include the Anglican Church of Canada in that statement as there are certain Instruments of Unity (Communion) that the dioceses do not participate in on an individual level but rather through the Anglican Church of Canada. Unless something has happened of which I am unaware we are still able to participate in/with all Instruments of Unity.
We are still in communion with the ABC (the Panel's report makes that clear). We are still attending Primates meetings. The indications are that we will be invited to Lambeth. Although we chose to respect the wishes of the last Primate's meeting and did not actively participate in the last Anglican Consultative Council, we are still able to participate if we so wish. I would say that this puts Gomez's arguement on shaky grounds.
"Global South Primates are committed to working with Communion structures to implement the steps and solutions that the crisis requires. Unless there is a radical revision of the Panel's operation, it does not appear that it will offer solutions of adequate or appropriate substance."
Is he really saying that unless the Panel says what we (the Global South) wants it to say, we will not accept that what it has to recommend as valid? I find this interesting because it was on the request of the Primate's that the panel was set up in the first place. Now that it does not support what the Global South Primate's have proposed in the Kilgali communique, they find it lacking.
The item that both the Primate's fail to respond to is that of crossing boundaries. Once again I find that interesting especially given Venables sponsorship of the Diocese of Recife. What does concern me in light of +Gomez's response is his appointment as chair for a new Anglican covenant as well as his being one of the four "wise people" with whom the ABC consults.