Rafael Manuel Tovar
(ZENIT News / London, 01.03.2023).- Anglican Churches unite in the Anglican Communion, which brings together all the dioceses of the world. The Church of England, where Anglicanism was born and which has the Archbishop of Canterbury as its Primate, heads all the Anglican Churches around the world, which arose outside the British Isles. All together they number some 98 million people. Since February of 2023, a large number of Anglican Churches in Africa, Asia and South America have severed this communion over doctrinal and ethical discrepancies.
To assess the extent of the rupture, it should be noted that the authority of the Anglican Church or Episcopalian Churches, as they are called outside of England, resides in the Bishop of each community and in the local Synod, although the Primate of England is regarded as “primus inter pares” [first among equals]. Each Church is governed by the decisions of the Synod in its diocese, where the Bishop, clergy and laity vote. According to ANSA, the unity of Anglicans has been severed because some Churches, which include 75% of Anglicans outside of Europe and who backed the decision of the Anglican Consultative Council, which supported the blessing of homosexual couples, rite that disqualifies him and removes his authority before all Anglican communities, according to the Archbishops of the signatory Churches of the separation. The Churches of the United States and Scotland accepted the proposed blessing, as they consider that it arose after much study and analysis.
The other problem that has surfaced is the putting in doubt of God’s gender. The dissident Churches remind that God is Father, following the evangelical texts, especially the Our Father; hence, they esteem as anti-biblical and anti-Christian to put in doubt His masculinity.
Have these conflicts arisen because the Anglican Church, especially in the United Kingdom and in the United States, accommodates the Word of God to current tendencies and ideologies, instead of being faithful to the original message of Jesus Christ and the Apostles? The 12 Archbishops that signed the separation stressed that these positions promoted by Justin Welby are contrary to the faith received from God and proclaimed in the Scriptures.
Beyond calling one position conservative and the other more progressive, the profound question that the rupture poses is if Christian life and its demands depend on the voting of the participants in a Synod or on attachment to the Christian message and practice, presented by Jesus and transmitted by the Church, namely, on the authority that reason has and the human surveys on the faith attached to the Word of God.