In the middle sits the Archbishop of Canterbury, trying vainly by one means or another to prevent the house of cards collapsing. Further divisions among Christian communions are not likely to please our Lord, nor yet speed the reconciliation of many with our Lord's Church.
I read in the Tablet a couple of weeks ago that Rowan Williams likes going on retreat to a monastery in Northern Italy, and that his closest advisor at the Lambeth Conference is Timothy Radcliffe, the eminent Dominican. I don't know what his co-religionists make of this, but I find in it only further demonstration of the sheer distance of much of Anglicanism from Catholicism. It is as if the Archbishop wants to make use of this or that from Catholicism to season his own particular stew of beliefs, or perhaps that of the Anglican Church. It is no sign that he thinks Catholicism has the truth, simply some useful ideas. Again and again, we see the Cartesian self at the centre; I am the centre of truth, I decide what is true. It is, perhaps, easy to caricature the opposite view as fundamentalism, and it is true that many extremists take this view of revelation as something to which we submit (='Islam') as being axiomatic. But accepting that truth exists outside oneself, independent of oneself, yet can be known by revelation, does not necessarily imply either the surrender of one's intelligence nor a submission to an arbitrary authority. It simply starts from somewhere other than cogito, ergo sum.
Some Anglicans see this very clearly. I have been charmed by Fr Hunwicke's blog, as I think you know. But his distress in recent weeks bleeds from the last few posts. There can be no doubt that incalculable pain has been caused to good men and women who have done their best in strange circumstances to serve our Lord, and I will not take pleasure in their sorrow. Fr Hunwicke and his brethren face the end of what was, in my view, a lovely illusion, though honestly believed, and now have to face hard decisions. If they try and stay, fortifying their parishes against the cold liberal tide, I think that they must be, at least to some extent, in bad faith—effectively co-operating in what they believe to be sin. If they go, then where are they to go? Oh, it seems obvious to me, of course, but they have spent the last several decades arguing just why they are not (Roman) Catholics. You can't shrug that off overnight; they, after all, have not changed; it is the Cof E around them that has done that. Just because the CofE is no longer believable doesn't mean that Rome presents any more of a delightful prospect. And I have long felt that the principal doctrine, at bottom, of all non-Catholic churches is 'We are not Roman Catholics'. The rest can be mixed to taste.
So the next place to look may well be the Orthodox. They aren't Roman Catholics; indeed, they are a very good example of having anti-Catholicism as a key doctrine. They don't get too fussed about moral theology (except when they do), they have spirituality in spades (except when they don't), long beards and nice vestments (ditto). But they bicker far worse than Anglicans—in fact until recently, the Anglicans set them a very good example of tolerance—and seem to drink bitterness with their mother's milk. They are hopelessly territorial (when did you ever hear of serious Orthodox missionary initiatives—there is Alaska, but it is the exception that proves the rule) and often nationalistic which seriously calls into question the mark of Unity in their ecclesiality. Just read this, for instance.
Many Anglicans are looking everywhere for answers. Let us please be patient and tolerant. And pray that our own authorities will come up with something imaginative and generous. There have been many instances in the past where conversions have been initially half-hearted, but have strengthened with the passage of time as the imagined ogres prove to be nothing but phantoms and the blessings, quite literally, out of this world.
Which is to say that perhaps the apparent intolerance of the victors at Synod may prove in the long run to be good for both the CofE and for those who find its recent decisions hard to take. The remaining Anglicans will be more united, albeit in beliefs that I frankly cannot share, and those who can no longer call Canterbury home may find a loving embrace in our common Mother, the Catholic Church, and, ultimately, domum non manufactam in cælis.
And all will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of thing will be well.
Forgive my rambling.