Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil Bishop Orders Priests to Recant and Return to IEAB  

Dissident Priests vow to fight homosexual marriage
Church is failing in the fight against poverty, while focusing too much on homosexuality debate, they say

By David W. Virtue, DD
January 30, 2017

The ultra-liberal Bishop of the Diocese of Recife, João Câncio Peixoto Filho, has ordered a group of dissident clerics (male and female), who signed a petition known as the IEAB Alliance of Anglican Communities, to withdraw their names, remove their site from the social networks and make individual documents reaffirming their vows of ordination and an affirmation to remain in the IEAB, regardless of the resolutions taken by the next Synod of the Brazilian Anglican Episcopal Church.

He has given them ten days to return to the Church.

(For the record this action should not be confused with the Anglican Church-Diocese of Recife under its Bishop Miguel Uchoa, which broke away from the IEAB over homosexual practice deemed incompatible with Lambeth resolution 1:10 and is now under the GAFCON/FCA as of March 2016.)

The seven clergy ask how the call to dialogue over the canon for Christian marriage and the acceptance of homosexual marriage which they oppose, is being interpreted as “rebellion” and “schismatic” and that their movement should be “crushed.”

“There are many laymen and laypeople who are not accustomed to militancy, the elderly and the elderly are far from the new media, or who do not feel safe because they fear expressing themselves; But it is they who built our IEAB; Their voice, being less exposed or heard, has less value? The vertical imposition of a decision, instead of shepherding, will never be the way for us to walk as one herd.”

The clergy say that the Alliance Anglican Communities of AECB is not a divisive, separatist or schismatic movement. “On the contrary, this alliance intends to be a space for a serious, mature and accurate reflection of relevant themes that have significant theological implications for our communities and members, from the understanding of clergymen, clergy, laity and laity who share a common view on different themes, but always with caution and pastoral sense, in the spirit of diversity and comprehensibility that have historically characterized Anglicanism.”

They argue that the resolution on homosexuality Lambeth 1998, categorically referred to this sexual practice as “incompatible with Scripture “. To impose homosexuality threatens the integrity of Anglicanism itself, undermining it from within.

The clergy blasted the bishop and asked him, “Why do you not devote the same enthusiasm to spreading the ministries of evangelization and service in our parishes? Why do we not reflect on the legal reorganization of our Diocese and the reaffirmation of the rites? Why not commit ourselves to the reconstruction and reactivation of our seminary and the discovery of new vocations? Why not react with the same energy against the great problems that threaten our city, such as indiscriminate violence against women? Why is not there a coordinated reaction against absolute poverty in our backlands and on the outskirts of cities with the same force as the focus of extending the marriage rite to homosexual couples, jeopardizing the greater value of Church unity.

Why do not we react with the same outrage against the constant and systematic destruction of our ecosystem, which compromises life for future generations?”

The group cited Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who said “the Church is failing in the fight against poverty, getting involved too much in the homosexuality debate.”

They said the sensus fidelium in the IEAB should not be in the direction of approving the rite of marriage to homosexual couples, because the “sensus” is found in the absolute majority of the Anglican provinces and in almost all the Christian Churches in the world.

The clergy cited Bishop Sebastião Armando Gameleira Soares, who wrote in a letter to the House of IEAB Bishops in December saying, “the current sensus fidelium in the World Communion should be a reference for each member of the same communion, since it is not just a “federation” of Churches, but a “communion,” which is more biblically and theologically deeper and with far more demanding links than mere institutional organization. Therefore we understand that is why at the last Primates’ Meeting, they criticized the Church in the United States for its unilateral decision to extend the rite of marriage to homosexual couples”.

The Alliance members questioned what the biblical, theological, legal and/or institutional foundation that supported a violation of the fundamental and institutional rights and guarantees of clerics and lay people? “What sacrilegiousness did such clergymen and laypeople practice to the point of being banished from expressing their reasons and counter-arguments on any subject? What institutional threat represents this communion of ideas and thoughts represented by the Covenant, based on Scripture, faith, reason and Anglican doctrine? What capital sin do we commit to the institution of an Anglican version of the Inquisition, in order to restrict our rights of thought and action?”

They said that the practice of freedom of speech and “tolerance” which the Anglican Church proclaims as a goal to be pursued is at the heart of one’s Anglican principles and priestly vows.

“The Alliance of Anglican Communities of the IEAB is not an attack, but rather a sign of deep trust in our Theology, our Diocese and our Province, which we do not intend to separate or combat.”
The clerics also said that the Alliance of Anglican Communities of the IEAB was not a clandestine and spurious association, a religious sect or a secret organization with vows and secret codes that cannot be revealed or deny the basic doctrines of the Christian and Anglican faith or oppose Sacred vows signed by us clerics at the time of our ordination, even though such a conduct would not only damage our Church’s tradition, theology and norms, but above all violate our consciences and our commitments to the vocation and faith we embrace. “Our votes have never been broken.”

They criticized the bishop’s arbitrary and authoritarian determination to demand of his clergy what is not even required of children is astonishing. The explicit determination in the ordinance clearly confronts the freedom of conscience and thought of the clergy, as well as underestimating the capacity for discernment and intellection of each and every one.
It is true that we are still far from being what Christ and Christianity ask for, but would we blindly accept any determination of the Synod and remain in the IEAB even though the conclave’s decisions may have defiled Brazilian law, the tradition of the church, our faith, our consciences or our Christian principles?

Rev. Sergio Andrade
Revda. Giselle Gomes
Rev. Felix Filho
Rev. Ron Wescley
Rev. Elias Leoncio
Rev. Jorge de Oliveira Junior
Minister lay Elinaldo Almeida

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