Reflexions on Dar-es-Salaam
by the Rev. Canon Francisco de Assis Silva
Provincial Secretary - The Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil
Translated from Kantinho Do Rev Translation, I believe, by Our Friend In Brasil, Who Is Presently In The U.S.
At a recent presentation elaborated by the Rev. Dr. Carlos Calvani, of which I had the honor of presenting in Berkeley, before an audience of American Episcopalians, I reaffirmed that the Anglican Communion needed to re-discover the authentic meaning of communion and get over the illusion that the rationality embedded in certain "consensual textual instruments" could be the warranty of unity of this part of the Church of Christ.
Even having told that to an audience that was very heterogeneous (theologically speaking), their reaction was of a complete empathy with the pre-supposition that a communion is made of feelings in much more a horizontal rather than a vertical dimension of truths built by reason.
Sadly, this dichotomy ended up winning at the Primates' meeting, in Dar-es-Salaam, last week. Their final document simply submits an important part of the Anglican Communion to a scrutiny that makes me remind the famous papal edicts of the Middle Ages, against those who would dare to think differently. The "liberals", as they are commonly called, have a fixed date to formally apologize for their pastoral excesses.
Normally I use this space here for political and everyday analysis. Rarely I use it for expressing specifically theological opinions. However, I would have the freedom of expressing, at the beginning of the liturgical Lenten time, my deep sadness for such a huge step back in a process I would call the hermeneutical journey of the Church. I affirm peremptorily here the exclusive personality of my opinion, detached from any institutional role I represent. It is the opinion of a theologian who insists on believing that the Gospel is made of inclusion and caressing of all people.
Instead of being concerned with the issues that really disqualify our world, such as poverty, war, aggressions to the environment, among so many urgent ones, they keep spending words and money being concerned about their peers who have advanced in the comprehension that people who have a sexual orientation that is different from heterosexuality
are equal beyond God and are also equal in their beloved God's service.
And this is just because the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada have decided to advance with respect to the way with which homosexuals are treated among their jurisdictions.
An uncertain future is before the Anglican Communion. And it is sad to realize that the climate of confrontation now comes to ecclesiastical discipline, which means power and a not very adequate use of it for maintaining the "neurosis of the discursive correction of the faith".
As I have commented somewhere else, the communion is broken. The fact that some conservatives refuse to take part of the Eucharistic table with their equals is an irreversible symptom that the Anglican Communion is agonizing.
Unfortunately, some of the primates - fundamentalists and sexists - have twisted the Church's agenda: from serving the world to a negative focus on sexuality. The world expects much more from the Church than value judgments or correct dogmatic formulas. This is part of the Age of Reason, that has shown to be innocuous as a tool for struggling with the real dilemmas of mankind!