In brief, I argued that unity, unanimity and koinonia (communion) are fundamental concepts in the New Testament and in the early Church. I argued: “From the beginning the episcopal office was “koinonially” or collegially embedded in the communion of all bishops; it was never perceived as an office to be understood or practised individually.” Then I turned to the theology of the episcopal office of a Church Father of great importance for Anglicans and Catholics alike, the martyr bishop Cyprian of Carthage of the third century.
His sentence “episcopatus unus et indivisus” is well known. This sentence stands in the context of an urgent admonition by Cyprian to his fellow bishops: “Quam unitatem tenere firmiter et vindicare debemus maxime episcopi, qui in ecclesia praesidimus, ut episcopatum quoque ipsum unum atque indivisum probemus.” [“And this unity we ought firmly to hold and assert, especially those of us that are bishops who preside in the church, that we may also prove the episcopate one and undivided.”] This urgent exhortation is followed by a precise interpretation of the statement “episcopatus unus et indivisus”. “Episcopatus unus est cuius a singulis in solidum pars tenetur” [“The episcopate is one, each part of which is held by each one for the whole.”] (De ecclesiae catholicae unitate I, 5).
But Cyprian goes even one step further: he not only emphasises the unity of the people of God with its own individual bishop, but also adds that no one should imagine that he can be in communion with just a few, for “the Catholic Church is not split or divided” but “united and held together by the glue of the mutual cohesion of the bishops” (Ep. 66,8)… This collegiality is of course not limited to the horizontal and synchronic relationship with contemporary episcopal colleagues; since the Church is one and the same in all centuries, the present-day church must also maintain diachronic consensus with the episcopate of the centuries before us, and above all with the testimony of the apostles. This is the more profound significance of the apostolic succession in episcopal office….(Source)
And in this lies the great errors of the current liberal push for female and homosexual bishops in the Anglican communion. To unilaterally change the nature of the episcopacy is sheer lunacy. Whatever hope there was in a reunion with Rome for Canterbury is all but finished. In truth, it was finished a long time ago, but the recent “speak no evil, hear no evil, see no evil” machinations of Rowan Williams merely confirm it.