Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Future Part V

The folks at The Anglican Communion Institute have played the "what if?" game and have worked through a scenario which they describe as a "thought experiment". It begins as follows:

  1. The Diocese of California (CA) elects a ‘Gay/Lesbian’ Bishop; consents process at General Convention reveals 45% in favor of approval in the HOB; consent denied in HOB;

  2. CA consecrates said ‘Gay/Lesbian’ Bishop anyway[.]

and goes on to a four-way division of ECUSA whose various conflicts are expected to prove to be seriously debilitating to each sept.

It's a scenario which I hadn't considered, since I have expected up to now that the House of Bishops (the "HOB" referred to in the scenario) will give California its consents. But it seems to me that there is a flaw in the presentation of the scenario.

California cannot consecrate a new bishop on its own; they will need a set of bishops to do so. Perhaps they will be able to collect together a set of retired bishops and suffragans to protect the diocesan bishops from involvement (as Righter was used to protect Spong from the immediate consequences of the Robert Williams ordination). In that case it will be easy for the HOB to denounce the consecrators and for the scenario to play out along the lines of the ACI scenario. But I expect that some diocesan bishops will choose to participate, in which case the consecration will create a de facto schism from the start. And since we all know that "schism is worst than heresy", I don't think the moderates will be able-- and maybe not even inclined-- to attempt bridge-building.

Of course, it is all speculation. It is even possible that California will heed Griswold's warning in the Guardian, though I doubt that. Righteous indignation at being denied a homosexual bishop is running very high, from what I see on the net.

No comments: