Monday, February 1, 2010

It's worse than that. He's dead, Jim.

I have said long since that the Anglican Covenant was a misbegotten project. If Anglicans can worship together, no Covenant is required. If Anglicans cannot worship together, no Covenant will suffice.

The oldest Anglican provinces outside of England (Scotland, America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Wales) will not accept a Covenant which places their several Churches under the juridical authority of foreign prelates. The oldest province (England) is legally barred from so doing. But the irreconcilables (Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Southern Cone) will settle for nothing less that all authority delivered into the hands of the Primates Meeting - and even then, only after Katharine Jefferts Schori and Fred Hiltz (and possibly David Chillingworth, Alan Harper and Barry Morgan to boot) are tossed out of the room.

Either way, the Covenant is a dead letter since it will either lack the support of those provinces with the largest claimed memberships (well, Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya anyway - the Southern Cone has a total membership on par with a smaller Canadian diocese) or the provinces which finance the Comunion's activities and governance.

Yesterday, it was a blow from the far right, as the Bishop of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa and President Bishop of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Mouneer Anis (all that title is, yes, just one guy) decided to take his marbles and depart from the body recently renamed the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion. And he's resigning because the Standing Committee won't expel the Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion.

Oh boo freakin' hoo.

This is the same Mouneer Anis who claimed that any province which has not signed on to the Covenant by the end of 2011 should be expelled from all international Anglican bodies. Now, it is possible President Bishop Mouneer is a fool who doesn't grasp that most Anglican provinces are not governed by the arbitrary fiat of Prince Bishops and therefore the process of accepting - or rejecting - the Covenant may take more than 20 minutes. The Church of England, for example, has said that adoption of the Covenant is not possible in the timeframe President Bishop Mouneer demands. The Episcopal Church, having concluded its triennial general convention just before the "final" draft of the Covenant was released, cannot possibly make any decision prior to late 2012.

It's possible that President Bishop Mouneer is a fool. And I think that's more charitable than the other possible interpretation - that he is a disingenuous, dishonest and manipulative.

With his discredited project assailed from left, right and the moderate centre, Archbishop Rowan will continue his misguided quest.

Or he can console himself with this.

"It's worse than that. He's dead, Jim."
- Leonard "Bones" McCoy


The Religious Pícaro said...

"It's possible that President Bishop Mouneer is a fool. And I think that's more charitable than the other possible interpretation - that he is a disingenuous, dishonest and manipulative."

The two are not mutually exclusive.

The link to the Bishop's letter doesn't work, btw.

Malcolm+ said...

Don't know why it doesn't work. Here is the whole url:'s%20Resignation%20from%20the%20ACC.pdf

Rick+ said...

     Excellent points, Malcolm! I had never thought about American and Canada being two of the oldest Anglican provinces outside of England.

     I've been amazed, not so much that reactionary parts of the Communion would not listen to gays and lesbians during the "Listening Process," but that they haven't even picked up on the fact that we have a different polity.