"You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!"
And just when we thought things couldn't get any uglier in the Anglican Communion, the bishops of Tanzania release a comprehensive statement declaring broken communion with all bishops and dioceses of the Communion involved with the ordination or consecration of homosexuals, and, it seems, imperiling the Primates' meeting scheduled there for February. Their anathema list includes:
- Bishops who consecrate homosexuals to the episcopate and those Bishops who ordain such persons to the priesthood and the deaconate or license them to minister in their dioceses;
- Bishops who permit the blessing of same sex unions in their dioceses;
- Gay priests and deacons;
- Priests who bless same sex unions;
This might all be a bit sad or even mildly amusing but, as Tobias Haller most eloquently writes, those who will suffer most will be the poorest of Tanzania, who are now effectively blocked from receiving aid from some of the wealthiest in the Anglican Communion by their own beloved Church. So now we see where the millstone of heresy will fall heaviest, and just in time for Christmas, too:
. . .Further to the consequent state of the severely impaired communion, the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Tanzania declares that henceforth the Anglican Church of Tanzania shall not knowingly accept financial and material aid from Dioceses, parishes, Bishops, priests, individuals and institutions in the Episcopal Church (USA) that condone homosexual practice or bless same sex unions. . .
Will the faithful bishops of Tanzania then wash their hands and blame us for the suffering of the poor in their country? Or, perhaps, they expect us to be merciful, and to channel aid in ways that they will not "know" we are sending it.
Either way, we are left with a millstone writ large that the Anglican Church of Tanzania's sexual ethics trump all, even good news for the poorest among us. Jesus' teachings. . .read in the "plain sense. . ." have something to say about this, too, I believe.
Sarcasm (almost) aside, the bishops of Tanzania and all struggling for basic necessities in their country have my prayers. . .even if they regard those tainted as well.