Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Canterbury snubs GAFCON II: Intentional or unavoidable?

To the surprise of just about no one, Justin Welby will not be attending GAFCON II later this month.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will not be attending the GAFCON II Conference in Nairobi this month, a spokesman tells Anglican Ink, due to a schedule conflict.

A spokesman from the Lambeth Press Office said the Archbishop had been invited to address the 21-26 October 2013 meeting of centrist and conservative Anglican leaders set for All Saints' Cathedral in Nairobi. However, he "is unable to attend because of a long-standing commitment on the same date. He will be sending a pre-recorded video greeting," the spokesman said.
At first glance, however, his "long-standing commitment on the same date" does appear to be significant enough to warrant Welby sending his regrets.
Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are pleased to announce the christening of Prince George will take place on Wednesday, 23rd October at The Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace.

Prince George will be christened by The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby.
The Archbishop of Canterbury does, after all, have the spiritual care of the royal family in his job description. However, some might raise the question of whether the "schedule conflict" was intentional. October 23 is a significant lesser feast (St. James of Jerusalem) and, thus, an appropriate day for a royal baptism (in St. James's Palace, nonetheless), but GAFCON II does not conclude until October 26, leaving the Archbishop three days in which he could have at least put in an appearance in person. In other words, if Justin Welby really wanted to attend, it would not have required a monumental shift of his schedule to make it so.

Is the snub, then, intentional or unavoidable? Perhaps you could say it is intentionally unavoidable, or unavoidably intentional.