I hope to read Canon Donlon’s response to the Washington Statement and interact with it in the next day or so. My first impression of it is underwhelming. Perhaps that is due to the buildup of the document by Father James Kennaugh who referred to it last week as “the document of record and correction.” At least it is something, compared to the emptiness of the three press releases from Rev. Brust. I don’t know if the Donlon document has the AMiA imprimatur on it, as we haven’t seen it officially referred to yet.
On a more interesting note, Robin Jordan has a scathing article about Donlon up at his blog. To Jordan’s credit, he has been tracking Donlon’s activities for some time now. Jordan passes along an assertion that Donlon pressured the Rwandan bishops to ratify his revisions to their canon laws under the pretext of urgency, an action that is a shameful way to treat a friend. From Jordan’s piece:
In these emails this individual stated that he was disturbed by the false impression of the doctrine and practice of the Anglican Church of Rwanda created by the new Rwandan canons adopted in September 2007. They did not reflect the Province’s longstanding Anglican doctrine and practice. He went on to state that the Rwandan House of Bishops was not given sufficient opportunity to examine the new canons or to make comments or suggest changes at the time the new canons were presented to them for endorsement and promulgation. The Rwandan Bishops were assured that Canon Kevin Donlan who had drafted the new canons was an expert in canon law. The endorsement and promulgation of the new canons was stressed as being urgent and not allowing for delay as it was essential for the legal changes that Anglican Mission needed to make in its charter.
What is becoming clear is that Donlon is pushing his vision of Eastern Rite Roman Catholic canon law as the basis for unifying GAFCON through intermediaries like Bishop Murphy, who probably don’t care what he does as long as it keeps the old ship AM sailing. Jordan continues:
My analysis of the Rwandan canons confirmed my earlier examination of the canons. They are heavily indebted to the Roman Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law (1983). They replace Anglican teaching with Roman Catholic dogma as well as establish Roman Catholic governance structures.
As I wrote in my assessment of Canon 6, it attempts to recreate in the Anglican Church of Rwanda—at least in part—the papal system but on a smaller scale. The relationship of the Primate to the Primatial Vicar closely resembles that of the Roman Pontiff to a diocesan bishop of the Roman Catholic Church. Canon 6 recognizes the Primate as the supreme legislator for the Province as the Code of Canon Law (1983) recognizes the Roman Pontiff as the supreme legislator for the Roman Catholic Church. It further recognizes that legislative authority may be validly delegated to the Primatial Vicar as his deputy and agent.
So AMiA, which many of us thought was a a church planting movement rooted in Scripture and the classic formularies is now being turned into a strange amalgam of radical theology (women’s ordination, Jack Deere and Todd Hunter) and an inorganic attempt to impose unity on the emerging GAFCON bloc of Provinces via a foreign code of canon law. I will have more to say on this later, but I thank God that this has been brought to the light before it all was set in stone.
Note also that there is no concern for unity with ACNA in anything that Donlon and Bishop Murphy have done. Our Lord’s desire for unity, expressed in John 17, is hard enough to achieve given our many differences of theology and practice. What we are seeing from theAM is an attempt to move further and further away from ACNA. My contention from the beginning of ACNA has been that it is a very imperfect body, but that it is the body that now exists. The time for CANA and AMiA is over. Bishop Minns and Bishop Murphy should move on, and their organizations should fold into ACNA. Canon Donlon’s machinations drive a stake through any hope that AMiA will ever join ACNA under the leadership of Bishop Murphy.