Wednesday, 16 May 2007

"Ah yes, I remember it well": Historical revisionism and Lambeth 1.10

As we approach the next Lambeth Conference, it appears that the process by which Resolution 1.10 on human sexuality, passed at the 1998 Lambeth Conference, is being called into question.

At the forefront of this revisiting of the past is the Archbishop of South Africa, the Right Revd Njongonkulu Ndungane. According to Ndungane, the process that resulted in Resolution 1.10 was clumsy, the Archbishop of Canterbury was put under pressure, normal procedures were not followed and the content of the Resolution itself did not reflect the "long hard wrestling" of the bishops in that particular group.

Step forward, then, Bishop Colin Bazley, former Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, who was also there, and has a somewhat different recollection of what took place. Bazley recalls how the group faced a number of issues reflecting a Liberal 'biasing' of the agenda. Furthermore, when the group presented a proposed Resolution to the Chairman, what was subsequently typed up and presented back to the group was substantially different - apparently because the Chairman had lost the original version and composed it from memory.

The revised version was itself revised, to reflect the original group proposal more closely. Subsequently, far from there being pressure on the Archbishop of Canterbury, Bazley recollects, "The debate was ordered and the amendments were presented under the normal rules we had used all the way through. The Archbishop of Ireland was in the chair, and so the Archbishop of Canterbury was free to speak, which he did."

Invevitably there is a suspicion that Lambeth Resolution 1.10 is being subtly 'rubbished', not by attacking its contents, but by attacking its history. We have had ten years of Lambeth 1.10 representing the 'official' position of the Communion. Perhaps Liberals feel that is quite long enough.

No comments: