Monday, July 21, 2008

It's called fraud - and it's a criminal offence

The other day, the leaders of the GAFFEPRONE schism issued a poisoned pen letter attacking the Anglican Communion, the Lambeth Conference and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In all that mudslinging, they did manage to get one thing right. They said that the St. Andrew's Draft of the Anglican Covenant was not acceptable.

Of course, they thought it wasn't acceptable because it didn't put them in charge of the Communion's membership list.

My reasons for objecting to the St. Andrew's Draft are quite the opposite. I think it goes too far in the direction of establishing an Anglican Inquisition in the persons of the Primates.

So, even what they got right they got wrong.

Oh, yeah. They got another thing wrong as well.

Their malevolent missive was issued in the name of seven Primates: Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Southern Cone (aka the usual suspects), Tanzania and West Africa.

Problem is, at least one of those Primates denies it. Greg Venables of the Southern Cone of America says that he was not consulted about the document and that he did not sign off on it.

Here's a link to the Church Times story:

Four of the Primates (Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya) are among the Lambeth Refuseniks. The other three (notwithstanding the comment in the Church Times story) are at Lambeth with the vast majority of bishops of the Communion.

I am curious to know if Greg Venables was the only one of the seven to have his virtual signature metaphorically forged.

This isn't the first time that this crowd have issued documents claiming that various people had signed off, only to have several alleged signatories deny it. Apparently the tendency to schism has a parallel tendency to dishonesty.

Yes, dishonesty.

A lawyer who is very near and dear to me advises that appending a person's name to a document in this mannner constitutes a criminal offence known as fraud.


Country Parson said...

Now, now Malcolm. I believe your high dudgeon is entirely out of place. What is a little fraud to a gang with such expertise and experience in the higher arts of skullduggery? This is merely a few spitballs in the classroom compared to what they can really achieve.

Doorman-Priest said...

Yes, surely the end justifies the means? I may prach on that little-known saying of Jesus.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree.

Anonymous said...

Well, I wonder if the person(s) who placed the signatures have been found out and relieved of their duties in the communications department.

Malcolm+ said...

Welcome back from your holiday, Joseph.

I might be prepared to write this incident off as a communications staff cluster - except that it is part of a recurring pattern with Global South pronouncements. A meeting last year produced an "agreed" statement, only to have primate after metropolitan after bishop deny that they had signed off, or at least that they had signed off on the final version.

There's also been a lot of discussion of how Peter Akinola pre-empted the Sydney bishops' discussion of whether or not to join the Lambeth boycott by simply announcing the decision they hadn't yet made.

The best possible gloss is that there is an endemic incompetence to the GAFCON communications function.

But given the consistent history of this, a more compelling conclusion (to me) is that it reflects a deliberate tactic on behalf of some of the GAFCON leadership. Announce that X has agreed - and let X deny bit at his peril.