Frank Advice

Dear Frank,

Just a note to touch base after our last chat. I must say I think you are making splendid progress on ‘the project’. Turning an ecclesiological dinosaur like yours into a coherent, forward-looking church like the Anglican Communion was never going to be easy!

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The Synod on the Family was a good first step. You need to familiarize people with the idea that meetings of clergy can reinterpret scripture without reference to the tradition. That way you can neutralize the intransigence of John Paul on women’s ordination, which was unhelpful in the extreme.

You have a trusty ally in Cardinal Marx. ‘Provincial Autonomy’ was our way of introducing a number of useful reforms, like women bishops and gay bishops. You have a long way to go, but you are on the right track. It was a very good idea to get the Germans to publish their digest of the Questionnaire in five languages. People will listen to a rich church like theirs. Nobody really cares what comes out of Niger, Mozambique or wherever; Kasper was absolutely right.

May I make a few suggestions?  If the October synod gets difficult, try ‘facilitated discussions’. You get a team of ‘experts’ to deal with carefully selected groups. The aim is to make anyone with very definite opinions feel disruptive and socially inept.  We also tried ‘indaba’ groups with the same purpose. ‘Indaba’ has the advantage of sounding very African whilst being nothing of the sort.

Personally, after a career as an oil executive, I find this church malarkey a piece of cake. But if you want more tips about strategy and manipulation, I suggest you pick up one of those door-stopper paperbacks on management they sell in airport bookstalls.

With all good wishes,
Your friend Justin

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