The MCU ( Modern Churchpeople's union) have issued a response to both Rowan Williams and Tom Wright over the situation in the TEC. This strongly worded, but assertive rather than aggressive, response contains statements of such clarity, truth and precision that they would have had me saying, "ouch - that hurt" if they were directed at me.
MCU condemns William's and Wright's pronouncements on several grounds, but four extremely pertinent observations are made:
Pretence of consensus
First of all, MCU condemns both men for the pretence that there is a consensus on human sexuality, when in fact the Church is deeply divided, those who disagree with the views of Tom Wright are not in a minority and his position could be increasingly described as a minority view,
What Williams and Wright mean by 'consensus' is not in fact consensus at all; they make no attempt to appeal to a general agreement. They appeal instead to a few central authorities, chiefly Lambeth 1998, primates' meetings and the Windsor Report
Pretence of authority
Secondly, MCU points out the dubious position of Canterbury in that,
"Anglicanism does not have a papal magisterium...Yet Williams and Wright both write as though this authority was already there, already competent to discipline the Americans for disobeying instructions"
Thirdly, MCU highlights the dishonesty of the pronouncements by Wright and Williams,
Williams and Wright both insist that the church cannot bless same-sex unions and that people in homosexual partnerships cannot be ordained to the church's ministry. Yet both know that these things happen. What is the meaning of this 'cannot'?
The report points out the blindingly obvious, that "cannot" really means "ought not" - though of course to use the words "ought not" would reveal the hollowness and hypocrisy of the official position.
Finally, MCU examines both William's and Wright's seeming, "ignorance of the theological arguments" - though it is worth noting neither are likely to be ignorant of these - I would say the accusation of ignorance is more accurately a further accusation that they are dissembling.
So, if you look at the report it actually points out that the gentlemen in question are being dishonest...dishonest..er..dishonest...and ( believe it or not) dishonest.
Now, being the gentle soul I am, I would have hesititated to have gone for the jugular in this way when I can see that Williams, at least, is simply trying to hold everyone together through caution and appeasement, but I cannot fault MCU for the clarity with which they have exposed the flaws in William's and Wright's response.
Andrew Carey recently described Wright as,
" a theologian who demolishes weak, tendentious and dishonest theologies for breakfast while the rest of us are blearily chewing our Weetabix."
But had I found myself dissected with such brilliance at the breakfast table, I would have felt "demolished, tendentious and dishonest" and might well have had the decency to choke on the said Weetabix.
Perhaps it is open warfare - or at least some nasty in house squabbling may ensue.