Comments: American Questionnaire

This is a new low! Lord Carey has sunk to depths of meddling I thought not even he would go-- but he has surprised me before.

Posted by Garth Walsh at Saturday, 4 March 2006 at 3:43am GMT

Oh, puh-leez. Anybody wanna tell "Rt. Hon. +Rt.Rev Lord Carey of Clifton" to stay on *his* side of the Pond, and quit mucking around in TEC? [And *as if* Lord Carey defines who is/isn't staying "faithful to Orthodox Christianity"?]

I have to say, the creators of this "survey" have a lot of chutzpah, to cite "deep collegiality among the Bishops", even as they set out to undermine it! >:-(

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Saturday, 4 March 2006 at 4:02am GMT

I sense the fine Italianate hand of the IRD, with Lord Carey in its pocket.
(how's that for mixing metaphors?)

Posted by Tim Stewart at Saturday, 4 March 2006 at 8:05am GMT

I don't think that liberals in ECUSA need to be worried that their HoB could make a sudden about face. Regretably, they haven't listened to the rest of the communion's bishops, the primates, the ACC or even the current, liberal, ABofC. I think there is zero chance that they will reconsider their positions because of one church's survey.

Posted by Dave at Saturday, 4 March 2006 at 10:09am GMT

One small mercy of living in the United States is that we don't have to put up with titled nitwits. We only have to put up with privileged oligarchs congratulating themselves on their egalitarian sentiments as they ride to the bank in their limos to deposit their dividend checks. Our elected bishops are accountable first to God and second to the pewsitters in our church. The people in the Episcopal Church are as sharply divided in their views as is the rest of the United States right now. However, a majority consensus seems to be emerging out there in the EC that the LBGT members are family to be welcomed at the table, and not lunatic relatives to be shut up in the attic.

The Right Reverend Lord Carey should mind his own house.

Posted by Counterlight at Saturday, 4 March 2006 at 2:17pm GMT

The man should mind his own business!

Posted by Kurt at Saturday, 4 March 2006 at 4:16pm GMT

The questionnaire seems straightforward. I didn't see any obnoxious questions or stealthily biased phrasing. I see no harm in gathering data about how the bishops feel now. Getting +Carey's endorsement was a smart marketing move to legitimize the questionnaire; otherwise, many bishops' secretaries likely would have tossed it in the recycling bin.

I was and am a strong supporter of +VGR's consecration and of local option for same-sex blessings. I don't understand why the above commenters are so upset.

Posted by D. C. at Saturday, 4 March 2006 at 5:53pm GMT

What a strange questionaire. The purpose is to bring about reconciliation? I doubt that very much. The purpose is to stand up and say GC2003 was a mistake. It will not happen.

I doubt the HoB will respond and its supposedly blind results will be useless.

Posted by Rev. Kurt Huber at Saturday, 4 March 2006 at 8:16pm GMT

I think we are "upset" because we no longer trust one another's motives. I am concerned because, knowing George Carey's view on the ratification of Gene Robinson's election, results from the questionnaire under his imprimatur might be used as fuel for a fire, one way or another. Leaving my own paranoia aside, however, the timing, so soon before General Convention 2006, is suspect. (Well, I guess I'm not really leaving my paranoia aside!) I would want to know how this information, once gathered, is intended to be used. I also am ashamed to say that I do not trust whoever it is that put out this questionnaire to actually keep confidentiality - they seem to protest too much. I fear that in the current climate, there is no such thing as a neutral action.

Lent 1 is tomorrow. I bid you all - all - a holy Lent.
Lois Keen, Priest
Diocese of Pennsylvania, USA

Posted by Rev. Lois Keen at Saturday, 4 March 2006 at 10:08pm GMT

The most serious problem with this survey is that it is being sent to the entire House of Bishops. It is a common misunderstanding to think that the House of Bishops voted on the consent to the election of Bishop Robinson. They did not. According to our canons, only bishops with jurisdiction are eligible to consent to elections. This is done, apart from meetings of the General Convention, by sending a ballot to each diocesan bishop, which he or she is then free to return (as consent) or simply disregard. An absolute majority of "consents" is required for confirmation; so every consent "withheld" in this way is an effective "no."

I do not know who is behind this survey, but whoever put it together does not understand this fundamental feature of the polity of the Episcopal Church, concerning the election of its bishops.

Posted by Tobias S Haller BSG at Saturday, 4 March 2006 at 11:57pm GMT

Another observation:
In addition to the fact that the first question appears not to reflect a clear understanding of how the Bishops with jurisdiction give consent, on closer reading, I'm intrigued by the use of the word "measure" in this survey. This is, for us Americans, a "Britishism." We would use the word "resolution." This leads me to surmise that the author of this survey may not be a native-born speaker of American English.
I wonder who that might be?

Posted by Tobias S Haller BSG at Sunday, 5 March 2006 at 12:31am GMT

D.C., *if* there were value in doing an anonymous questionnaire, it would be done as academic questionnaire is done: w/ the surveyors very explicitly NOT anonymous (telling us that they are not aligned w/ any particular organization(s) is useless, without the surveyors' names attached). How much better if ALL the organizations named had gone in on such a questionnaire---again, *IF* one were necessary (I'm not sure why it would be)---together?

As others have said: it's the *framing* of the survey by Lord Carey (titled nitwit? Counterlight said it! ;-p)---whose opinions are well-known---in terms of "Orthodox Christianity" which turns this questionnaire from a "Huh?" into an "I emphatically think not!" >:-/

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Sunday, 5 March 2006 at 1:18am GMT

JCF, apropos of your titled-nitwit remark, let me respectfully invite your attention to my post of a few days ago, "Why Are So Many Trads So Hostile?" at, and to the Rules of Engagement cited at the end at

Posted by D. C. at Sunday, 5 March 2006 at 6:45pm GMT

I was just quoting, D.C.

While I don't consider people to be "nitwits", frankly, I think the UK titling *system* is a little bit nutty (especially when it mixes up the World and the Church). But hey, it's their side of the Pond---and as long as those who have titles, don't try to use them to interfere over *here*, then live and let live, I say! ;-)

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Sunday, 5 March 2006 at 10:07pm GMT

I have some suspicion that Archbishop Carey (Lord Carey of Clifton, I believe, because he was honored as a Life Peer when he ended his tenure as Archbishop of Canterbury) wasn't properly informed as to what he was endorsing. In any case, his name on this is an advertisement. It is certainly not his work.

And it seems poor quality work at best. I agree that this is in poor form. Any reputable group would acknowledge responsibility.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Tuesday, 7 March 2006 at 2:14am GMT

Hell hath no fury like a liberal held accountable for their choices.

Posted by Jim McNeely+ at Tuesday, 7 March 2006 at 2:35pm GMT

Why does this questionnaire make so many of you commenters nervous?

Posted by Susan Woodleigh at Tuesday, 7 March 2006 at 2:53pm GMT

You may throw fits and get riled up about a survey and Lord Carey's relationship to it or the ECUSA. It really doesn't matter does it? GC2006 is coming and the sandbox will be yours to play in - all alone. Enjoy! But, you can not have your cake and it too. You will not be in the A.C. That's the reality with which, when all is said and done, you will have to live.

The traditionalists have hung on because they love their tradition and buildings. The liberals, however, value their relationship with the AC. The traditionalists will lose their buildings and the liberals will lose their association with the A.C. Which do you think will have the greater loss? Which do you think will perceive their loss the greater? Those two questions are probably more relevant than the survey.

Posted by Edward the Confessor at Tuesday, 7 March 2006 at 3:28pm GMT

Aw come on gang. You Lib's are just pissed off because orthodox Anglicans have finally taken a play from your own handbook. If I were a Lib I'd be terrified of this survey b/c it undermines the effectiveness of threated retaliation that has been used by the revisionists for decades.

Posted by Ted the Plumber at Tuesday, 7 March 2006 at 3:35pm GMT

Some of us find the attacks on Lord Carey as a "conservative" or a "reasserter" or "orthodox" more than a little amusing, since it was the same Lord Carey who ushered in the "ordination" of women in the C of E, a disaster there as it has been here.

Just depends on whose ox is gored, I suppose . . .

Posted by I'd rather not say at Tuesday, 7 March 2006 at 7:04pm GMT

"It is long past time for Lord Carey to make a graceful retirement from public involvement in sensitive church disagreements. I do not envy Archbishop Williams his predecessor."

"Anybody wanna tell "Rt. Hon. +Rt.Rev Lord Carey of Clifton" to stay on *his* side of the Pond, and quit mucking around in TEC? "

A little like Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton commenting negatively on President Bush!!!

I do agree with Lois+ that there is 'no such thing as a neutral action."
++Carey is perfectly entitled to comment/ work for the orthodox/reasserter position. After all, it seems to be perfectly okay for ++Eames of Ireland, +Patterson of New Zealand and others to express their support for the liberals of ECUSA. I feel for ++Williams straddling the fence as he faces the potential for a global split of the Anglican Communion.

Posted by Dumb Ox at Tuesday, 7 March 2006 at 7:05pm GMT

I do not see the problem here. I think that many are afraid that the results of the poll will be considerably different from the vote of the last General Convention. It is an American thing to take polls on all sort of subjects. All sides of political debates take polls.

Posted by Scott+ at Tuesday, 7 March 2006 at 8:50pm GMT

It will be interesting to read the results. Even more interesting to see how they stack up against how the HOB votes in June. Dear Archbishop Carey, how would you have done in an election?

Posted by will gates at Tuesday, 7 March 2006 at 10:04pm GMT

As the former leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, Lord Carey began many significant intiatives that he continues to endorse and work on in his 'retirement.'

He is a vital and healthly man who is extending the authority and influence that was his as the ABC to continue efforts for peace in the Middle East, Iraq, East Africa, not to mention his efforts in Muslim-Christian. His ministry of caring for those with absolutely no influence and his ability to bring significant people together for the common good is stunning.

To involve himself in saving the Communion that is his basis for his ticket into the offices of the most powerful people in the world in service of our Lord only makes sense. The question we need to answer is why we are not protective of his influence on our behave toward world peace.

If you had any idea what he was doing, he would be in your daily prayers and you too would work to protect his position as a leader of our world wide communion--instead of trying to destroy that Communion and its potential to restore order and peace in a world going made.

The Communion as it is presently configured is powerful--don't undermine our historic ability to do God's mighty works.

Posted by Don Armstrong at Wednesday, 8 March 2006 at 4:33am GMT

++Carey is actually serving in an ECUSA parish. He's not meddling.

Posted by Matt Kennedy+ at Wednesday, 8 March 2006 at 12:41pm GMT

Don, I do know what Lord Carey is doing worldwide and it is indeed laudable. His work is not my concern. It's the statements he makes and the confusion they often cause when the former Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of Canterbury are seen to be on different sides.

Lord Carey absolutely should continue his excellent initiatives, but "extending the authority and influence that was his as the ABC" is only appropriate in certain contexts. He used to speak for the Anglican Communion. He now speaks for himself. Not everyone is aware of the distinction and great difficulty can and has ensued as a result.

Posted by Anna at Wednesday, 8 March 2006 at 3:43pm GMT


There are very few examples you would be able to cite of the former Archbishop and ++Rowan being on different sides. This questionnaire is not one of them. It looks to me to be a rather neutral project which probably won't come off, but actually could be advantageous to either side in ECUSA.

The difficulty, my father, and Lord Runcie before him, and I daresay ++Rowan will in time face, is how to continue a ministry, which most of the time will be low profile consisting of unsung work, and how to avoid treading on the toes of your successor when that work reaches the headlines. Abandoning your convictions is no way to exercise a ministry. In the recent case of divestment, my father continues to have a role in the Alexandria Process, which he initiated with Andrew White, and is President of the International Council of Christians and Jews. These are responsibilities which he takes seriously. Anyway enough of the PR for my father - his record in any case speaks for itself. As does ++Rowan's with his significant achievements in working out a renewed emphasis on theological education in the Communion, and his excellent supportive and pastoral visit recently to the Church in Sudan.



Posted by Andrew Carey at Thursday, 9 March 2006 at 9:17am GMT

Andrew, it's not always a matter of your father and Archbishop Williams actually being on different sides. It's more about perception. It is, as I said, absolutely appropriate and laudable for Lord Carey to continue his commitments. As a great deal of his work is not low profile and is highly sung (and I do not mean to imply that he seeks out such attention, simply that it comes given the circles in which he moves), it becomes more difficult to manage perceptions around your father's new place in the Anglican Communion and that of Archbishop Williams.

Posted by Anna at Thursday, 9 March 2006 at 4:17pm GMT

"his record in any case speaks for itself"

Indeed. Disastrous.

Posted by Merseymike at Thursday, 9 March 2006 at 6:21pm GMT

A couple of you asked why we liberals are distressed about this survey? My reason is very simple. The authors/sponsors of this survey remain anonymous, hidden. Which mean they are already engaged in deceit. Therefore, I strongly suspect they have already written their report, and it will serve whatever purposes they have. Not only will they discard the mailing envelopes; it wouldn't surprise me if they don't even open the envelopes.

Posted by Lisa at Friday, 10 March 2006 at 10:32pm GMT

Lisa, to have such low suspicions of fellow Christians says something about the dreadful state of relationships in the Episcopal Church. In any case, I don't think this is an anyonymous survey - it contains a letterhead with an address. It may have been a mistake not to put names on it, but this is hardly different from the practice of many organisations in not putting personal names on surveys. My understanding is that the authors of the survey would not be known to members of the House of Bishops but there is no secrecy about LEAC itself which is a new organisation. In any case, James Ince of LEAC is openly and helpfully responding to media enquiries about the survey. This claim and accusation of anonymity is a red herring.

Posted by Andrew Carey at Saturday, 11 March 2006 at 10:30am GMT


I never heard of James Ince until this moment. Nor had I ever heard of LEAC until this Questionnaire appeared. Where can I find out more?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Saturday, 11 March 2006 at 3:08pm GMT

it contains a letterhead with an address??????

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 11 March 2006 at 3:09pm GMT

Perhaps someone will explain to me why any bishop would bother with this questionnaire? I'm sure they receive all sorts of things in the mail. This comes from a group who, as far as I can tell, has no particular standing. I'm sure if I were a bishop, I would simply toss it. Or..?

Posted by Uriel at Saturday, 11 March 2006 at 5:36pm GMT

Experience seems to be that clergy generally don't answer questionaires ;=)

Which makes this thing all the more remarkable...

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 11 March 2006 at 7:27pm GMT

James Ince is mentioned in this report from TLC

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Tuesday, 14 March 2006 at 8:13am GMT

"Experience seems to be that clergy generally don't answer questionaires ;=)"

Of all the things to with my time (other than browse blogs on a Friday afternoon when devoid of energy or desire actually to write Sunday's sermon), answering other people's questionnaires comes well down the list, just above advertisements for Viagra or bright little pencil sharpeners with "Stay Sharp for Jesus" printed on them.

Posted by Tim Jones at Friday, 17 March 2006 at 9:03pm GMT
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