The decline of the art of Anglican lying

by George Conger, Anglican Ink

[…]  After the news broke last week (on Anglican Ink) that Archbishop Welby was not going to Gafcon, a torrent of negative comments from the right and rejoicing from the left washed through the Anglican blogosphere. Others gave the archbishop the benefit of the doubt. And the vast majority paid it no mind at all.

On Anglican Unscripted I said that the excuse of having to baptize Prince George was the best get-out-of-a-social-obligation-free card I had ever heard. I gave the archbishop high praise for finding a way to finesse a sticky situation. And now we have this extraordinary volte face — and this pitiable explanation.

So, what is going on? Wheels within wheels? Or incompetence? From what I have been able to divine, Archbishop Welby is breaking free from the shackles of the Church of England’s bureaucracy. His predecessor, Rowan Williams, was Anglicanism’s Jimmy Carter (or for our English readers its Harold Wilson). The smartest man in the room — but clueless as to how to use his authority and office. Justin Welby started off well as archbishop, but has also fired some distress rockets that worry the Global South. While they like him and are encouraged by his sincere faith – will the office overwhelm the man as it had Rowan Williams?

The refusal to attend the Gafcon meeting in Nairobi and the decision to offer a pre-recorded message and not speak live via Skype (as he did in Toronto) indicated there would be little change in the short term from Canterbury. Yet overseas leaders were able to satisfy themselves that the refusal was not motivated by animus. Archbishop Welby’s stated priorities were reconciliation and evangelization within the Church of England. Foreign affairs were important to him, but not urgent.

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