Thinking Anglicans

more support for the Anglican Covenant

Updated

The Archbishop of Canterbury recorded this video at lunchtime today, according to a comment here earlier. There is a transcript as well.
Archbishop: why the Covenant matters.

Mark Chapman has published at Living Church an article titled Spatial Catholicity.

Fulcrum has published several articles:
Anglicans and Covenants: A Very Brief History by Benjamin M. Guyer
The Anglican Communion Covenant: Fighting to preserve and enhance something deeply valuable by Stephen Kuhrt
Are we Anglicans or Baptists? by John Watson

Update
Five Reasons FOR the Covenant by Gregory Cameron

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Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

With allies like Kings telling everyone how Rowan’s reputation will be completely blown away if the Covenant fails – who needs enemies?

But hasn’t Rowan used up much, if not all, of that magic that enticed so many to fall on their sword rather than see him hurt? Don’t many of those who buzzed around now see that he is a busted flush soon to depart and so people just wont vote for this?

Anyway all this sudden support – all this spin – it seems a tad late.

Roger Antell
Guest
Roger Antell

The complacency has been pricked and the hierarchy is running frit. Their beloved bureaucratic solution, which would privilege an elite in deciding what the Anglican communion will and will not accept, bypassing the membership, is in danger of foundering and this is unthinkable. If it forces the powers that be to redouble their efforts to explain the benefits of the Covenant, then that is to the good. But we have heard all these arguments before and they sound no better now. I nearly switched off the ABC video half way through as I was becoming bored. Whatever the intellectual case… Read more »

dr.primrose
Guest
dr.primrose

Williams believes that the Covenant is necessary for “scrutinising, discerning and discussing” issues in the church. But aren’t we doing that already without the Covenant? And how does the Covenant even enhance those things? It actually seems to be intended to cut off “scrutinising, discerning and discussing” things. Williams also thinks that it’s necessary for our “ecumenical discussions, our discussions with other churches, [who apparently are] without any very clear sense of what holds us together” so they can know that they are dealing with “a family of churches that has a common language, a common practice, a common set… Read more »

Concerned Anglican
Guest
Concerned Anglican

I’m surprised to read Mark Chapman of all people writing in favour of the Covenant, even in a nuanced way, and even more surprised to find him writing for ‘Living Church’. Something strange is going on there.

As for the others, and especially Archbishop Rowan … there’s a strong whiff of desperation in his video presentation. I feel sorry for him but that’s not a good enough reason to vote for what must surely be one of the most divisive ideas for a generation.

Malcolm FRench+
Guest

More of the same tired rhetoric and bland talking points. Note, however, that the Covenant’s apologists never actually want to talk about what the document actually says. They prefer to speak in nebulous generalities and dubious analogies. Lard that over with the contradictory arguments that: a. the Covenant really doesn’t do anything, and b. without the Covenant the very space-time continuum is threatened. And then there’s always the part that raises my hackles – the implicit (and occasionally explicit) slander that anyone who doesn’t support the Covenant really doesn’t value the Communion. I have yet to read an argument for… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

” Despite frequent calls for greater centralisation, it was not until the 1960s and ’70s that further structures were established with the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting. The seeds of an Anglican doctrine of spatial catholicity were sown.” – Mark Chapman – So, according to Mark Chapman, there was no coherent doctrine of ‘Anglicanism’ before the 1960s! Having been baptised and confirmed before that date, then, the doctrinal faith ethic in which I received my Christian formation was, in some way, under-developed – needing further explication? The fact is, of course, that science, technology, and human development have… Read more »

Edward Prebble
Guest
Edward Prebble

Well, I spent 7 minutes of my time listening to ++Rowan’s very carefully phrased arguments, and was helped by having a full text provided as well. It is certainly helpful to have the pro-Covenant viewpoint put so clearly. I think Tobias Haller has dealt well with the first problem in this talk, that it does not discuss the actual text, so I will not go further there. My problem is that ++Rowan has not persuaded me, any more than other proCovenant advocates have,about what positive good adopting this document would do. Who are these “ecumenical partners” who are so enthusiastic… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest

I live in the campo..way out in the campo…even here, we poor scared to death souls, would prefer to have real discussions about REALIFE topics like human suffering, especially human suffering, than pretend that suffering ought not be discussed in front of us because we ¨need to catch up¨ (no, gracias, to that) and HUMAN STUFF probably doesn´t apply to us…you know, it is very clear that we are the suffering, oppressed, ill-informed, victims of hate-mongers and liars and THIEVES (yes, even at Church)…all in the name of a God who would prefer we learn how to love one another… Read more »

Randal Oulton
Guest
Randal Oulton

“Are we Anglicans or Baptists” … “So an agreement is reached. Certain lifestyle choices will be restricted for the sake of the other. This is the cost of living in communion.”

Sorry, I think I missed the part in history class where converted Jews gave up their “lifestyle” choice of being born racially Jewish.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

So . . . the heretofore independent churches of the Anglican Communion are now, to the Archbishop of Canterbury, just “particular bits”?

The doubletalk is astonishing.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“Certain lifestyle choices will be restricted for the sake of the other. This is the cost of living in communion”

And there I was thinking that Christianity is about individuals deciding to make sacrifices for their faith, not about imposing them on other people.

Unless we begin to understand that Christianity is about what I do, not about what I make others do, we’ll never even get close.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

All of this new – and belated – panic about the need to adopt the Covenant seems to have missed the whole point. The main disagreement is about what the Bible says about gender and sexuality – without reserve. Many provinces of the Church have worked very hard on this matter, and have come up with a radical and yet eminently practical hermeneutic. God in Christ can be discerned as overturning the status quo of legalistic determinism – in favour of the more humane ethic of human love – first of God, and then of one’s neighbour – as one’s-self.… Read more »

Mark Clavier
Guest
Mark Clavier

Specifics in support of Chapman’s ‘tepid constitutionalism’: 4.2.1 Simply stipulates that the covenant seeks to express the common faith of the Communion (outlined in sections 1-3) and the mutual accountability provinces have to each other. It also clearly stipulates that by agreeing to the covenant each province recognizes the fullness of Catholic life in the other covenanted Provinces. 4.2.2. Introduces a standing committee, responsible to the ACC and the Primates’ Meeting, whose job is to ‘monitor’ the function of the covenant. It will be supported by various other committees ‘mandated’ to assist and advise. 4.2.3. If there are any questions… Read more »

Mary Marriot
Guest
Mary Marriot

How could we want to get any closer to Joseph Ratzinger’s ‘Rome’, so compromised and so disinterested in any kind of truth.

RC clergy and people on the ground are of course, a different matter and no official Covenant’ is necessary for those relationships, contacts and life together.

Ratzinger has done great harm to his own denomination with his authoritarianism – let him not damage our reformed anglican traditions too.

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

If the Roman (“my way or the highway”) Church, the only “ecumenical partner” Rowan can seriously be referring to, is “very enthusiastic” about the covenant, then there’s yet another ironclad argument against it.

David Shepherd
Guest

‘- or who happen to have been born female – must surely be a denial of the God-give reality of gender and sexual identity’ So, the in-born gender derived from chromosomes is not God-given, but a mere coincidence. Of course, it would be different, if we reviewed any other natural trait, like inherited skin pigmentation. No, we are to believe that it’s actually the gender assigned after hormone treatments and re-assignment surgery that is the God-given reality. Just as long as it affirms how you self-identify. Never question that. Ridiculous! Then again, I suppose that if you deify the all-important… Read more »

rjb
Guest
rjb

It will be most interesting to see whether the sudden flurry of pro-Covenant polemic has any effect when 6 (six!) dioceses vote on Saturday. It is odd that these bishops – and especially the ABC – are painting themselves into a corner on this one. At this point I would expect to see some bearded authority-figures coming out of the woodwork and saying ‘of course we would like the covenant to be approved, but it’s not the end of the world, there are other options, paths going forward, rhubarb rhubarb.’ But instead of hedging his bets, Rowan is staking the… Read more »

Sara MacVane
Guest
Sara MacVane

Lifestyle choices? Newspeak?

Chris Smith
Guest
Chris Smith

Williams is enamored by the Church of Rome’s approval and the interest Rome has in seeing an Anglican Magisterium develop within Anglicanism. This is both a misguided and morally bankrupt method of operation. It is not working in Rome as they (the hierarchy), have lost their authority due to the many scandals of clergy sexual abuse and the cover-up by the bishops. It is so disappointing to see Rowan Williams lack of backbone on this and other issues concerning women’s admission to the episcopate. He accommodates one segment of the Church that will not accept women as priests and bishops,… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest
Tobias Haller

Mark Clavier, Lambeth 1.10 was also a set of recommendations, and it is largely the reason we are in the mess we are in, when some provinces chose, after careful study, not to accept the recommendations. The problem with the word “may” is that while it seems tentative, it is actually a word of discretionary empowerment. When that power is used, and when the mere “recommendation” is followed by “consequences” for failing to assent through deferral, and those consequences include possible removal from the only formal mechanisms the Anglican Communion possesses — in short, when the “may” becomes “is” —… Read more »

Mark Clavier
Guest
Mark Clavier

Tobias, Re. Lambeth 1.10…isn’t that the nature of recommendations? One is free to accept or decline them? It seems apparent to me that the same will hold true for section 4 recommendations. We Anglicans have shown repeatedly that if there is no power to enforce, then recommendations will often amount to little more than the paper on which they are written. In the case of the covenant, I can see only some provinces accepting recommendations of consequences while others wouldn’t. As for the Instruments, the ACC has not been notable for its authoritarianism. I don’t see this changing in the… Read more »

john
Guest
john

I agree with rjb’s comments. But one reason why they are painting themselves into a corner is surely arrogance. I don’t think this applies to RW (or not to the same degree) but he’s sunk so much of his prestige into it that it’s hard/impossible for him now to withdraw. One result of all this will surely be a collective loss of episcopal authority. Good and bad, but mostly good.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“No, we are to believe that it’s actually the gender assigned after hormone treatments and re-assignment surgery that is the God-given reality.

Yes.

And you know NOTHING about my life, DavidS. If you want to know, ask. Otherwise, keep your sweeping judgments to yourself, please.

david rowett
Guest

Is John Watson dealing with the first C1 Jerusalem that we find in the NT? I seem to remember a great deal of going it alone, bitterly disputed, with a few figleaves in Acts to cover the row! Surely having blazing arguments about what it is to be faithful is part of the Rich Tradition Of Scripture?

MarkBrunson
Guest

I suppose, if you deify a tradition and its book of myths, you might indeed call the outcome, however crude and destructive, “god-given.”

David Shepherd
Guest

JCF:
Who’s merely re-assertiing now?

I’ll back off as soon as commenters here stop foisting theor own *sweeping* drmands for blind affirmation of their personal choices on the church.

Considering the ease with which you have put the witness of scripture to the sword, I won’t spare your ‘sacred cow’ sensitivities either. The ruthless razor-blade of reason.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

One vital question in all of this implied need to sign up to the Covenant in its present form, is this: “Do the Covenant promoters (ACO) really expect the GAFCON Provinces to sign up?”

If not, then there surely is no purpose served in binding the rest of us into a disciplinary Covenant the would expel TEC and the A.C.of C. from First Tier membership.

David Shepherd
Guest

Clearly, for some, their trite employment of IMAGO DEI as a postscript is really an anagram of they really self-identify: ‘i.e. I AM GOD!’

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“”No, *we* are to believe that it’s actually the gender assigned after hormone treatments and re-assignment surgery that is the God-given reality. I don’t know who you mean by “we”. More and more people are listening to those who have gone through the process and their experience sounds convincing. It is supported by psychology and by medical science. It is obvious that previously desperately unhappy people are given a new lease of life. The “we” most of us here are talking about are people who are willing to take new experiences on board and who will adapt their view of… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

Well said, Erika. Not that it will do anything, but well said.

The inevitable response will simply be a thesaurus segment saying the same thing, covering bigotry and blind bias with mere erudition.

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest

Here is a very interesting interview with James Alison: http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/alison

He notes tensions within the Vatican on gay issues, with Ratzinger on the moderate side. If the RCC liberalized its teaching we could see the same kind of resistance among conservative Catholics as has plagued Anglicanism.

MarkBrunson
Guest
MarkBrunson

No. No. I take that back. Not mere bigotry or bias – those require passion. You can hate or feel furious attachment, but bigotry and bias require passion. What we see here is a fireless smoke – a cold, dispassionate writing off of our, JCF’s, liberals’ personhood, intelligence and committment. A cold, brutal insistence on selfish status quo for mere material profit and the comfort of others. It is loveless, both for itself and for the other. It is absolute zero of faith. “Give me reason, give me logic, give me science. Nothing else will do. Faith and passion have… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

The exchange between Mark and Tobias is helpful. While many here are not against the principle of working more closely together through the Provinces and some have even accepted the concept of a new document building on the Quadrilateral – the consensus has been that what we have seen by way of development since Rowan was bounced into that first emergency Primates Meeting has not been good. The Lambeth Commission and Windsor Process, the attempt to rule by Primates, the attack on the ACC, the brief life of a Star Chamber, the creation of a new legal structure and Executive,… Read more »

David Shepherd
Guest

Oh for the want of ‘love’ that merely affirms the self-appointed TA Sanhedrin.

Clearly for them, the three-legged stool of scripture, tradition and reason has lost its footing. In its place, a new ‘bar stool’ theology that spins on the single pedestal of self-serving personal experience.

Try imposing your puny march of ‘progress’ on the worldwide Anglican population. 1400-plus signatures and counting…

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Spirit,
Thank you for the link to this fascinating interview.
James Alison develped this thought in an essay called The Fulcrum of Discovery:

http://jamesalison.co.uk/texts/eng59.html

John
Guest
John

Thanks for reference to James Alison interview. Very interesting. Personally (but what do I know?), I’ve always thought it obvious that JR (of Dallas) was himself gay.

Counterlight
Guest

Well said Erika.

“They are a little like doctors who diagnose a patient with absolute confidence but without once listening to what the patient tells them.”

Indeed, and they presume to be physicians to the rest of us, and demand sacrifice from everyone except themselves.

I think the what drives all of this is supremacism of one kind or another.

Mark Clavier
Guest
Mark Clavier

Martin, I’m not far off from much of what you say. I would have written parts of the 1st three sections differently–for example, like MacCullough, I’d have liked some nod at the Scottish line of prayer books that shaped, among others, the American tradition–and I’ve never liked the use of the word ‘covenant’, given Anglicanism’s history with covenanters! Also, in general terms, I’d have preferred it if the communion had not drifted in a bureaucratic direction in order to maintain some clear degree of communion. But that process began long before the covenant was first dreamt up as older modes… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest
Tobias Haller

Mark (Clavier) this brings me back to the primary question, why make such an effort towards adoption of a document that does little more than formalize already existing capacities, as if it were essential? It provides, as you note, a “formal structure of disassociation,” but my point is that this is hardly a churchly thing, at least an Anglican churchly thing, and begins to sound more like something from one of the traditions that advocates shunning as a means of discipline. The real problem with the covenant is its general thrust towards scrutiny and discernment in the interest of paring… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

My real problem with the Covenant is that accusers, judge and jury are the same group of people.
If genuine conflict resolution is the aim, why not follow established principles for mediation and arbitration?

That would include the principle that the arbitrator must not be connected to either party in the dispute, that he must have no personal interest in the outcome and that he is respected and accepted by those involved in the conflict.

Ideally, it should also include the possibility of appeal, a detailed list of what kind of transgressions can lead to arbitration and a schedule of possible outcomes.

Mark Clavier
Guest
Mark Clavier

Tobias, Why formalise already existing capacities? I can think of all sorts of reasons, but I’ll just mention two. First, it makes those capacities more transparent. One of the problems of the past 10 years is that we’ve often disagreed about what capacities various Instruments have. This has muddled the debate itself and created an atmosphere in which people argue for or against an interpretation that will support their own cause. That’s unhealthy. Similarly, it reminds the Instruments and other committees themselves of their role and their limits. Both ought also to help depersonalise decisions, to help us be mature… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest
Tobias Haller

Mark, my point is that I don’t think the Covenant will prevent the chaos, adhocracy, hot talk, or anathemata. All that will be added is the, to my mind, less than transparent workings of the “process” laid out in section 4.2. Perhaps my Christian Anarchism is showing, but actually I see this as a matter of practicality. I don’t see the Covenant actually doing what it claims, or preventing the things it was meant to prevent. I would, as Martin suggests, much rather we take out time, call a succession of Anglican Confesses for the next decade or so, and… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest
Tobias Haller

PS (That should be “Congresses” not Confesses! — something in the air… 😉

John
Guest
John

Frankly, I increasingly believe that Anglicanism has largely been reduced to a collection of squabbling interest groups. So much of our rhetoric–left and right–is that of the moral crusade, that sees all opponents as living in dangerous error and portrays each other in the worst possible light. Thank God for the daily ministry of our congregations and parishes where a more attractive form of Anglicanism can still often be seen. I agree with that last sentence. But surely it is precisely that form of Anglicanism, which involves rubbing along and allowing very considerable differences, that the Covenant does NOT represent?… Read more »

Mark Clavier
Guest
Mark Clavier

Tobias, I can certainly accept that as I don’t claim to have the wisdom of Solomon! Frankly, I don’t know if the covenant can accomplish what it’s meant to accomplish either. I suppose where you and I differ is that I see it as being at least a step in the right direction, perhaps because I’m not given to anarchism…except in the case of administration! I too would welcome a series of congresses, though the practicalities and costs are probably prohibitive. But I don’t see that the covenant would preclude this from happening. For my part, I think it a… Read more »

c.r.seitz
Guest
c.r.seitz

Interesting to see Gregory Cameron speaking up.

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

No, I am struggling with some of this, Mark. There are some very serious power plays going on here and I am not sure that any structural support will stand in the way of those determined to create an Anglican Communion in their own likeness. The Internet can tend to give the impression “Anglicanism has largely been reduced to a collection of squabbling interest groups” but I would see that as a completely false. You quite rightly point to the fact that the genuine image lies in the parish life – but behind those groups there are some real theological… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

If you were trying to personally wound me, DavidS, congratulations.

I know my Vindicator liveth. I just wish I didn’t have to be vindicated *from* the slings&arrows of other Christians.

…then again, it’s possible you’re lashing out from a place of deep pain. In which case—and whatever its source—I hope you find the relief you need. Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison.

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

The heresy is that “Anglicanism is” anything or that the only valid anglicans are people like us. This has always been false, but we have lived together, allowing each other to think we’re on our own for a dangerously long time. Now various groups have discovered the power of self-definition against everyone else, and somehow that seems to have felt necessary in a way that it was not before. The answer is not to maintain the fantasy that “Anglicanism is” or that “we are all the same. The question is whether any of us can acknowledge difference and live with… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest
Tobias Haller

Mark, I agree it a great shame we were so late to this conversation. My own trips across the Communion, including to Southern Africa, have revealed s similar lack of understanding across the borders. This provides two more reasons not to adopt the Covenant: 1) it will tend to forestall the real conversations that need to happen, as people will think it is “done” and 2) it is those conversations we need to have. I agree that a series of Congresses will be costly and time consuming, but the quick fix will not, in the long run, prove effective. Peace… Read more »