“Schism is not a Christian act.” Tell That to Henry VIII.

Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori fires a shot across the bow at the Church of England (HT bb):

She urged Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to remember the “pain of many Episcopalians in several places of being shut out of their traditional worship spaces, and the broken relationships, the damaged relationships between people who have gone and people who have stayed.”

“Recognition of something like ACNA is unfortunately likely only to encourage” further secessions, she said, reminding the Church of England that “schism is not a Christian act.”

That shows a wilful ignorance of Anglican history.

The Church of England was created by nationalising the Roman Catholic Church in England and breaking the institutional relationship between Rome and Canterbury/York.  That’s schism.  Without it the Episcopal Church would have never come into existence.

Irrespective of the merits of the result, Henry VIII and those who came after him (such as Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer and ultimately his daughter Elizabeth I) believed that they were restoring the church to a more authentically New Testament state than it was in before.  (And I’m inclined to agree with them on that score.)  That’s the justification for schism; that’s the idea behind the ACNA.  It’s in the Anglican DNA, and Jefferts Schori cannot simply wave her Affirming Catholic hand and ignore that.

If she’s really interested in ending schism, she should begin negotiations with the Roman Catholic Church to reunite with them.  But then she’d experience another form of schism: she’d be out of a job and on the dole.

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