I’m thinking over the Primates’ Statement, and although I’d have wished it different, I’m not surprised by its general tenor.
One source of puzzlement, though: why do the Primates ask that the US and Canada withdraw from the Anglican Consultative Council? Does this imply a hierarchy of the Instruments of Unity, such that the Primates constitute a “higher” instrument than the Consultative Council? Wouldn’t it make more sense for the Primates to ask the primates of the US and Canada to withdraw, and to let the Consultative Council make its own requests relative to particular delegations?
Isn’t this request especially odd since it coincides with a request that the U.S. and Canada return to the Council in special status to explain their actions?
I’m not lobbying against asking for “withdrawal” per se; that seems a consistent gesture on the part of the relevant authorities. I am curious about what the present request implies about the Windsor process, its present standing as a guideline for institutional action, and its standing as a goal.
If you want to have a conversation (as the Primates expressly said they do), it seems odd to kick some people out for not cooperating, then invite them back provisionally to hold up their end of the conversation. It would make more sense to me for them to simply say, “You didn’t convince us; you’re out, for now,” or to say, “We want you to give us your best shot at making a case that we’re sure you can’t make. Come back to the Consultative Council; we’ll give you a hearing, then you can decide what to do when we ask you to withdraw.” To that extent, the outcome of the primates’ meeting misses the opportunity to stake out a clear message.