THE Archbishop of Canterbury has stripped a second theologian, this time a conservative, of his membership of an international body.
It is the Bishop of Chile, the Rt Revd Tito Zavala, whose place on the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) has now been withdrawn. The secretary-general of the Anglican Communion, Canon Kenneth Kearon, made the announcement on Thursday of last week.
The Archbishop’s move is part of a crackdown on provinces seen to be in breach of the moratoriums concerning same-sex unions, the consecration of gay bishops, and the flouting of provincial boundaries. These were asked for by the Primates’ Meeting and confirmed by IASCUFO itself.
In his Pentecost letter (News, 28 May), Dr Williams warned that provinces that breached these moratoriums could no longer represent the Anglican Communion on inter-Anglican bodies such as IASCUFO, or take part in the various ecumenical dialogues that are currently under way.
Shortly after the release of the Pentecost letter, Canon Kearon announced that the membership of the representative on IASCUFO for the Episcopal Church in the United States, the Revd Dr Katherine Grieb, had been withdrawn. She was invited to serve as a consultant instead. The move had been triggered by the consecration of the Rt Revd Mary Glasspool, a partnered gay woman, as a suffragan bishop in Los Angeles on 15 May.
The Anglican Church of Canada was asked at that time to clarify its position on same-sex blessings, after a General Synod vote. The Anglican Communion Office said last week that assurances had been given that the moratoriums had not been breached.
The Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone, the Most Revd Gregory Venables, had also been approached to defend his province’s interventions in the US and Canada.
In a statement released last week, Dr Williams writes: “At that time I wrote to the Primate of the Southern Cone, whose interventions in other provinces are referred to in the Windsor Continuation Group Report, asking him for clarification as to the current state of his interventions into other provinces. I have not received a response.
“Consequently, I have written to the person from the Province of the Southern Cone who is a member of the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order, Bishop Tito Zavala, withdrawing his membership and in-viting him to serve as a consultant to that body.
“These decisions are not taken easily or lightly, but relate to the gracious restraint requested by successive meetings of the Instruments of Communion, and the implications for Communion bodies when these requests are not honoured.”
The Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Revd Henry Orombi, said on Monday that the removal of Bishop Zavala was “irrelevant”.
In an interview with the conservative commentator David Virtue, Archbishop Orombi said: “The Anglican Consultative Council is irrelevant to us. We have no passion for those things. We are not even interested in meetings that produce nothing and with nothing being implemented.”
He said that Dr Williams, “talks to one group and agrees with them, and then he talks to Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori and Archbishop Fred Hiltz and agrees with them. We will no longer play that game. It is over.”
Asked about the forthcoming Primates’ Meeting in Dublin in January, he said: “No orthodox Primate will go to Ireland. Unless Rowan Williams uninvites the US and Canadian Primates, you can count us out.”