Sunday, September 4, 2011

Anglican Covenant Developments

First off, the good news.

Two New Zealand dioceses, Aukland and Waiapu, have rejected the so-called Anglican Covenant. Both dioceses passed motions explicitly rejecting the Covenant (which is a stronger action than merely defeating a pro-Covenant resolution).

The Waiapu resolution, while affirming the desire to remain a part of the Anglican Communion, goes on to say that:

We do not believe that the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant will enhance the life of the Communion and request that the General Synod / Te Hinota Whanui declines to sign the Covenant.

The Aukland resolution is even stronger, expressly stating that:

Clause 4.2 of the proposed Covenant contains provisions which are contrary to our understanding of Anglican ecclesiology, to our understanding of the way of Christ, and to justice, and is unacceptable to this Synod.

To date, two Maori dioceses and two Paheka dioceses have rejected the proposed Covenant. I believe that is every New Zealand diocese that has considered the Covenant to date. Along with a defeat in the Diocese of Wakefeild synod and the statement from the Philippines House of Bishops that efectively ensures the Covenant's defeat in that Province, it seems the No Anglican Covenant Coalition is actually having some success.

A few days earlier, the Coalition issued a statement decrying the superficial background material on the Covenant issued by the Diocese of Oxford. While tritely acknowledging that those who oppose the Covenant oppose the Covenant while those who support it support it (seriously), the paper by Canon John Rees sticks to the Lambeth Palace / Anglican Communion Office babbling points that the Covenant will never really affect anything, but the entire Communion will collapse in a heap if it isn't passed. Oddly, some English folk have already noticed the inherent contradiction of something being simultaneously insignificant and vital.

Finally, in a move that will strike some as counterintutive, the No Anglican Covenant Coalition has posted a list of pro-Covenant articles from The Living Church. While Coalition members are by no means persuaded by the arguments, the authors of these articles are doing a service by mking a coherent case for the proposed Covenant, while doing Covenant critics the courtesy of taking our concerns seriously.

This contrasts well with the babbling points (they are too juvenile to be called talking points) from Lambeth and the Anglican Communion Office which are a disgraceful amalgam of disingenuous contradiction (the Covenant won't affect anything but is vital to the survival of the Communion), slander (anyone wo questions the Covenant either hasn't read it or is a fascist) and emotional blackmail (if you don't support the Covenant, you are being disloyal to poor Rowan.)

1 comment:

JimB said...

I like "babbling points" to describe the crud emanating from Canterbury.

My good friend Fr. Matt Gunter and the other writers have laid out a cohesive argument for a covenant. The problem is that covenant is not the document now before the churches of the communion. And with typical arrogance, Canterbury has sent the document not for discussion or consideration but rather for (the Lambeth staff expect automatic) affirmation.

There are likely churches, both progressive and conservative that might ratify a different document. Canterbury does not want to hear from them, their ideas,scholarship and ideas are simply not important as they did not originate at Church House.

We Americans have a name for this, we call it, "My Way or the Highway Management." The problem with this particularly arrogant stance is that people often choose the highway. Even if they agree with a lot of "my way" they prefer not to participate in a dictator.

I have read the Living Church work. I conclude they have made an interesting case for a different document. Unfortunately they are cursed with the "Ridley Draft" as imperially amended. It won't wash and it is all that is on offer.