23 June 2011


The idea that the Covenant will fade away if adopted is attractive and wrong.

The thinking goes something like this.
  1. The synods of the moderate-to-liberal churches endorse the draft.
  2. The GafCon or Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans do not.
  3. No one files any actions to remove the GafCon churches.
  4. Dr. Williams retires claiming he "held the communnion together."
  5. Over time, the existence of the “covenant” is relegated to the “historic documents of the church."
  6. The Covenant fades into well-deserved obscurity, of interest only to church polity nerds.
This seems like an innocuous scenario if one ignores some things.
  • Section Four of the Covenant is a canon lawyer's playground.
    • Terms are used without clear definition.
    • No authority is vested in any institution or person to define terms.
  • The church is always changing
  • There is always conflict between those who favor change and those who support the status quo.

Very soon, someone somewhere will see something that offends their sense of what the church must be. That someone will see the Covenant as the mechanism to preserve the church as they believe it should be. Section Four processes with both canonical and civil litigation will begin. Once begun, it will never end.

Dr. Williams is in my view a doctrinaire anti-American. He himself seems one of those who wants to use Section Four to shape what he calls, "The Anglican Church" as a replacement for the Communion. That shape excludes North American progressives and English liberals favorable to ordination and consecration of women and LGBT clergy. We will offend him: in fact we know from his reaction to the election of Bp. Glasspool that we are targets.

The Covenant is in fact not going to fade away. If it is enacted it will be used and the results will be as Benedict XVI has said of his intent for the Roman church a, "smaller and more uniform" church. That is not what the Anglican communion should be striving for, we do not need to be smaller and we do not need to be more uniform.

The covenant will not fade. Rather it must be scrapped.

This will have more than one benefit. If it fails badly enough, no one will try to inflict another version on the communion later. Without the covenant as a tool to attack The Episcopal Church, Anglican Church Canada, inter alia, the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and other groups will be confronted with two choices: stay out there alone or come back and work to get along.

Nothing fades away when it is as evil and potentially profitable to someone, as this Covenant.


1 comment:

Christal said...

After reading this post, I found myself thinking, "Ya know, there is always going to be something in one's religion that offends someone else. We can grow together or apart." How is the Anglican church growing? It will be interesting to see where we go from here. I hold steadfast in my belief in equality. It's a shame that others are just not there yet.

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