Sunday, October 31, 2010

Legal Fiction

Many of those who would defend the proposed Anglican Covenant (when you can find them) will argue that there really is no centralization of authority involved at all. After all:

(4.1.3) Such mutual commitment does not represent submission to any external ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Nothing in this Covenant of itself shall be deemed to alter any provision of the Constitution and Canons of any Church of the Communion, or to limit its autonomy of governance. The Covenant does not grant to any one Church or any agency of the Communion control or direction over any Church of the Anglican Communion.

Of course, this conveniently overlooks the fact that the proposed Covenant also empowers the unaccountable Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion to:

(4.2.5) . . . recommend to any Instrument of Communion relational consequences which may specify a provisional limitation of participation in, or suspension from, that Instrument . . .

So, there is no control or direction . . . but if you don't toe the line, there will be consequences.

Over at Not the Same Stream, in an excellent and thoughtful article, Paul Bagshaw calls this a legal fiction.

I have a shorter, pithier word for it.

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