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Recife denies Archbishop’s claim: CEN 2.27.09 p 8. March 1, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England Newspaper.
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Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti.  Photo taken at the 2005 Hope and a Future Conference in Pittsburgh

Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti. Photo taken at the 2005 Hope and a Future Conference in Pittsburgh

Church leaders in Brazil have questioned the Archbishop of Canterbury’s assertion that an informal mediation process is underway between the Provinces of the Southern Cone and Brazil over the Diocese of Recife.

In his Feb 5 press conference held at the close of the Primates Meeting in Alexandria, Dr. Williams gave an overview of the recommendations made by the Windsor Continuation Group to the primates for responding to the divisions within the communion.

A “pastoral forum” to hear disputes and “pastoral visitors” who “can act as consultants in situations of stress and conflict” were proposed, Dr. Williams said, adding that “in case that sounds too abstract, I might mention that we have tried this out informally as between the province of Brazil and the Southern Cone over the question of Recife.”

“Two pastoral visitors were appointed to go and investigate the situation in the Province, discuss with various people and propose some ways forward,” Dr. Williams said.

“And although its taken a couple of years to move things on, some of those recommendations are bearing fruit,” the archbishop said, adding that it “in some cases” a pastoral visitor scheme “could be helpful.”

In a statement posted on his diocesan website on Feb 9, Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti of Recife said Dr. Williams appeared to have been misinformed about the situation in Recife.

The mediation process described by Dr. Williams had “never begun. Dr Williams is not being well informed by his staff or is receiving inaccurate information from the revisionist leadership of the Province of Brazil,” the diocese said.

In 2005 Bishop Cavalcanti was deposed for incivility by his fellow bishops following several years of doctrinal disputes between the Evangelical bishop and the liberal majority in the Province. After he was removed from office, the province then defrocked 32 Recife clergy without trial for backing their bishop.

Approximately 90 percent of the lay members of the diocese followed Bishop Cavalcanti and are presently under the metropolitan oversight of Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables of Argentina.

Dr. Williams appointed the former Bishop of Southwell, the Rt. Rev. Patrick Harris and the Bishop of Peru, the Rt. Rev. William Godfrey as pastoral visitors to Recife in 2006. The two met with the leadership of the diocese and the national church and prepared a private report for Dr. Williams.

The diocese also filed an appeal with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Panel of Reference, but no action was taken by Lambeth Palace and the appeal was never forwarded to the panel for adjudication.

Conversations about Recife were held at the 2007 Primates Meeting in Dar es Salaam and at the 2008 Lambeth Conference between Bishop Venables and Brazilian Archbishop Mauricio de Andrade, but these were only brief exchanges with no substantive discussions or action taken, Bishop Venables said.

Bishop Cavalvanti stated that to his knowledge, there were no talks underway and that nothing had transpired since the pastoral visitors filed their, still secret, report with Dr. Williams in 2006.

Mediation was not likely to be successful in Recife, Bishop Cavalcanti said as the differences were “deep and irreconcilable.”

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1. Anglican Mainstream Mobile » Recife denies Archbishop’s Claim - March 3, 2009

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