Anglicanism nears formal schism

Dear Editor, Mary Kenny suggests that Archbishop Welby’s proposal to institute a looser structure for Anglicanism will be “an interesting experiment” (IC 24/09/2015). In fact the experiment has already been shown to be a failure. The Anglican communion – essentially a development of the late 18th and 19th Centuries when Anglicanism began to spread across the British Empire – has been drifting apart for the last 30 years or more. Some churches are no longer in communion with others. 

Within the Church of England itself opponents of the ordination of women are no longer in communion with supporters; they even now have their own line of episcopal succession. (They speak of impaired communion but that is no communion at all.)

Anglicans used to glory in their supposed diversity; today diversity has been replaced by outright dysfunctionality. Dr Welby’s decision to postpone indefinitely the next Lambeth Conference of all Anglican bishops – the last was boycotted by several hundred bishops – is in effect an acknowledgment that there is no longer one ‘Anglicanism’. The most likely development over the next few decades will be a formal schism between conservative evangelical churches (mostly in the southern hemisphere) and liberal relativist provinces (mostly in the global north).

The increasing incoherence and disunity of Anglicanism should serve as a warning to those Catholics who wish to see a decrease in the authority and jurisdiction of the Roman See. 

Yours etc.,

C.D.C. Armstrong,


Co. Antrim.