Thinking Anglicans

MCU responds on the Anglican Covenant

The Modern Churchpeople’s Union opposes the Draft Anglican Covenant and urges its rejection.

Jonathan Clatworthy, Paul Bagshaw and John Saxbee, Bishop of Lincoln, have prepared a detailed response to The Draft Anglican Covenant on behalf of the MCU.

Three documents are available here in several formats:

  • Response (prepared for the meeting of General Synod in July 2007 and submitted to the Anglican Communion Office as MCU’s response to the consultation) in Word, .rtf, .pdf
  • 2 page summary of the paper in Word, .rtf, .pdf
  • Summary of the arguments (prepared as a more general briefing) in Word, .rtf, .pdf

The Response concludes:

We oppose the Draft Anglican Covenant on the grounds that:

  • it would transform the Windsor process from admonition and counsel into an unprecedented and unjustifiable ecclesiastical coup d’état;
  • its central proposal is to transfer power from the presently autonomous Provinces to a Meeting of the 38 Primates. The ambiguity of the text leaves open the possibility that this power would be unlimited, unaccountable, and irreversible;
  • the consequences of this development for Anglican theology and polity, and for ecumenical agreements, would be extensive and have scarcely been explored;
  • the proposed innovation in granting juridical power to the Primates’ Meeting would be a distortion and not a legitimate development in Anglican ecclesiology;
  • the consultative processes and timetable are wholly inadequate and in particular they completely marginalise the voice of the laity;
  • the proposals have not been adequately justified in their own terms (the creation of trust) nor in the wider terms of better ordering and facilitating the mission of the Church;
  • and yet Anglicanism has a rich storehouse of dispersed authority, of hospitality, mutual respect and trusting co-operation, of valuing difference and openness to new developments, of the honest and open search for truth, all of which can provide an alternative to the Draft Anglican Covenant as grounds for hope for the future.

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Ford ElmsHugh of LincolnCheryl CloughPluralistLeonardo Ricardo Recent comment authors
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James
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James

When did the Lambeth Quadrilateral cease to be a basis for communion? Is it missing something essential to faith?

Also, what happened to Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi? I thought that everything we believe is in our liturgy.

If we’re going to be a confessional church, maybe the American Episcopal church should join the Lutherans. Maybe instead of being a province of the Anglican Communion, we could be a province of the Lutheran Federation. We seem to get along with them better.

Hugh of Lincoln
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Hugh of Lincoln

A most welcome response from MCU

Neil
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Neil

Would either TA or a group in Synod please set up an online petition for the rejection of an Anglican Covenant?

Bill Weems
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Bill Weems

The draft covenant is the third in a series of documents that, if implemented, would bring TEC into the Roman Catholic Church within a generation. The first, The Gift of Authority, is about a decade old. It was issued by the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) but was deemed not an authoritative declaration of either the Roman Catholic Church or the Anglican communion. Typical of what we see now, however, the ARCIC consisted only of clergy and non-Americans, save one lay member from America. The majority of the clergy were from state churches. ARCIC concluded in The Gift of Authority… Read more »

Merseymike
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Merseymike

Sounds good to me, Bill. We need something new – without the conservatives.

jeremy pemberton
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jeremy pemberton

Yeah for the proposed petition – I’ll sign!

Cheryl Clough
Guest

It’s looking more and more like organisational politics. A part of the organisation that used to have a high level or autonomy and power is finding that new technology is leading to alternative communication and decision making channels. Worse, they are actually working without their input or control. A change management expert would say that these souls need counselling to understand the new world order, and assistance in becoming reskilled in how to cope in the new environment with the new technologies. While we are pulling out the Counsellor, could someone work out how to get the military machines career… Read more »

Pluralist
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It is a good idea. I would sign. I’m naturally rather pleased that the Bishop of Lincoln has gone on the record in favour of stopping this thing.

You can just imagine the debates if something ever gets launched. It would be so divisive that the obvious counsel is to pack it in before it does the damage.

Lois Keen
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Lois Keen

I would gladly sign a petition to stop the covenant, for all the reasons I have read since it was put up for our responses. But more proactively, I would sign a petition to replace it with a compact along the lines of the one Mark Harris has posted on his blog Preludium, including suggestions by the commentors thereon. I regret I still remain ignorant of how to link to Mark’s post. Maybe someone else will be interested enough to do so.
Peace,
Lois Keen

Neil
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Neil

Pluralist – you are so right. The sooner this is stopped the better, as it will amount to a pastoral as well as a theological issue. I will be writing to the Bishop of Lincoln, and hope someone somewhere (I’m not really MCU but maybe we need new alliances these days) can launch some sort of petition. The odd thing is that I was with a group of clergy last night and only one out of 9 had heard anything about a new Covenant. Not everybody reads blogs – or the Church Times for that matter!

Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
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Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

Machiavelli, he say – was this also foreseen by the ABC? That just as the great GS coalition is proving flaky, so the ‘covenant’ idea falls apart under its own contradictions?

To quote again from the great Pratchett: “There were many groups plotting his (the Patrician’s) down fall, he knew that. Had he not funded them all himself? And the great thing was that they spent all their time quarrelling among themselves.”

PseudoPiskie
Guest

Here is the link to Mark Harris’s one page Covenant suggestion – http://anglicanfuture.blogspot.com/2007/06/just-idea-compact-among-churches.html

Pluralist
Guest

That’s an interesting point, Neil. Obviously more read this than care to comment, plus I travel around here and there but confine comments to here, Fulcrum, Faithspace (less so these days) and the NUF Forum. I’ve been trying to suggest to a fellow church member that she’d pick up more more quickly further afield via having the Internet installed, as well as a way to do her training. Journalism on to paper does seem to heavily edit, filter out and lose more than it clarifies. To get an item on the Covenant reported by a journalist it would have to… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
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Leonardo Ricardo

Lois Keen+ suggests Canon Mark Harris/Preludium:

http://anglicanfuture.blogspot.com/

P.S. Canon Harris is a memeber of TEC Church Executive Council which this week is meeting in New Jersey (and OFFICIALLY governs the Episcopal Church between General Conventions).

Hugh of Lincoln
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Hugh of Lincoln

Do English citizens own their national church? Who decides? Parliament? General Synod alone? Deanery Synods? Those who are on a parish electoral roll? What about those who are only nominally Anglican – and non-Anglicans? The C of E performs state functions, so any transfer of power to an international body ought to require an Act of Parliament and Royal Assent. Section 5 of the MCU’s detailed response has a section on The Church of England: “As with other Provincial legislatures, if the General Synod signs the Covenant it will subordinate its authority to that of the Primates’ Meeting. 5.1 The… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

Try… A Compact of the Anglican Communion. Provinces, Dioceses and regional Churches in Communion with the See of Canterbury are the constituent members of the Anglican Communion. Constituent Members recognise the inheritance of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral which affirms: 1. The Holy Scriptures, containing all things necessary to salvation 2. The Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds as the sufficient statement of Christian faith 3. The dominical sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion 4. The historic episcopate, as locally adapted Constituent members may draw on the faith expressed in liturgical use in the 1549, 1552, 1559, and 1662 Books of Common Prayer of… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“”As with other Provincial legislatures, if the General Synod signs the Covenant it will subordinate its authority to that of the Primates’ Meeting. “

To see why the covenant is wrong, if there be any doubt, and assuming the above statement to be true, in place of ‘Primate’s Meeting’ substitute ‘Bishop of Rome’.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Thanks for the links to Mark’s Just an Idea Compact Among Churches.

It looks quite good but I don’t know if this point is achievable “…two churches both in communion with the See of Canterbury and with one another have mutually agreed to continue overlapping ministries”.

The words “mutually agreed” appear to be too optimistic. Would there be a mutual agreement to allow a liberal alternative to develop in Sydney, for example?

Hugh of Lincoln
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Hugh of Lincoln

“in place of ‘Primates’ Meeting’ substitute ‘Bishop of Rome’.”

“Collective Pontificate” doesn’t sound much better.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“”Collective Pontificate” doesn’t sound much better.”

No,indeed!