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the Jeffrey John mess
I spent five days in York visiting the Synod of the Church of England,
which ended yesterday.
According to a few bishops and other leaders to whom I spoke, never in
the past has any bishop publicly objected to an episcopal appointment.
The 9 bishops who publicly objected Johns' appointment had been party
to a Bishops' meeting at which all agreed that no statements of
objection would be issued in this appointment. When the 9 issued
theirs, they essentially broke collegiality.
+Rowan is not a politician, as he himself has said. He is not a
person to throw authority around. He is a scholar and a spiritual
person, which makes him terribly vulnerable to manipulation.
An archbishop vulnerable by virtue of his lack of guile is good news.
Those who seized the day to block John's episcopacy have won only that
day, not the long, hard struggle for the heart of the church and for
the heart of the world. I pray that +Rowan will remain true to his
convictions. I also hope that persons of good will and skilled at
strategy will draw their strength around him to see that he is not
abused in this way again.
Any real and lasting authority we have is in our faithfulness, even in
our weakness. I hope +Rowan never moves to say, "All right, fellows,
like it or not, I am the boss and this is the way that it will be."
A much stronger spiritual bedrock is revealed in His sermon on Sunday
and his presidential address to the Synod on Monday (see
The applause for the address was sustained and powerful.
Those most personally affected by this mess are suffering some particularly nasty
consequences. Please keep them in your prayers.