Probably many people observe the crisis within the Anglican Communion and say that the corner stone of the division is the matter of how the church faces the role and the place of gay and lesbian people within the Church.
In my vision, gay and lesbian people do not divide the Church. What divides it is a fight to prove who has power within the Anglican Communion.
The framework of the Primates' Meeting, since the events of 2003, was substantially different in relationship to previous meetings. There was a very uncommon broadening of their powers. The conservative movement headed by some African and Asians primates introduced a habit to which Anglicans are not accustomed: An instance of theological control over provinces.
Since its creation, the Primates' Meeting has always been a pastoral opportunity to share needs and issues brought together by each primate from their background and a space for prophetic speeches to the world. There was a concern for the bonds of affection, celebration and spirituality. Each primate carried with himself his Provinces's needs and brought back strategies for study, instruments of pastoral actions giving the Church visibility and breadth.
Starting from Lambeth 1988, with the matters linked to discussion about women in the episcopate, some Conservative Primates started to impose the focus around debates concerning a more suitable reading of the bible and in the imposition of a model that they denominate "orthodoxy".
Therefore, the first conflict was over the question of gender. There are still Primates who do not accept women's ordination, even to the diaconate. In such a context, the matter of the places of homosexuals within the Church became an even more explosive issue.
At no time did the progressive wing ever impose or suggest any sanction to any Province that does not approve women's ordination. The respect for autonomy and cultural particularities was scrupulously maintained.
But for the conservatives , ethics is relative but orthodoxy is absolute.
At this point a political problem emerges: The power of defining what is the theological truth. And the theological truth always needs to be over against its opposite. The principle of the destructive opposition is at the center, implicit when someone says that another is wrong or apart from the truth.
The next steps are only a logic in power needs more and more power. The conservatives want to define a Communion identity. They forget about the lack of legitimacy to legislate over other Provinces and promulgate the formal withdrawal of any province.
For the conservatives, the Primates' Meeting should be a body for defining Church Doctrine, with powers of control over the Communion about theological matters: the power of defining what is and what is not orthodoxy; the power to put anyone in the box.
This is the big threat to the Communion. The rule that provincial decisions are taken by widely representative groups within the Church, and that no foreign power has the legitimacy to impose upon another church, is under peril. It is improper to demand that the Episcopal Church in USA answer any ultimatum outside a legitimate and appropriate forum.
An answer remains for the conflict that today is living among the Communion: The problem is that some people do not know how to work with differences and they want to solve any conflict by coercion.
Rvd. Canon Francisco de Assis DA Silva