Tuesday, 3 July 2007

GS: Affirming Catholicism on the draft Anglican Covenant

Affirming Catholicism press release:

Alarm raised over draft Covenant

In the week before the General Synod of the Church of England will be asked to endorse the process to create an Anglican Covenant, Affirming Catholicism has sounded alarm over the current proposed draft. In a commentary on the Covenant design group’s proposal to give the final say on Anglican doctrine to the meeting of the leaders of national churches, the Primates, The Rev’d Dr Mark Chapman, editor of a forthcoming Affirming Catholicism publication on the Anglican Covenant, and Vice-Principal of the Ripon College, Cuddesdon, said:

The emphasis given in the current proposals to the Primates’ Meeting (composed of 38 men and one woman) downplays the importance of synods. There is something disingenuous about giving power to determine membership of the Communion and to decide what constitutes the ‘common mind’ of the Churches to a group who at the moment refuse even to share Eucharistic communion with each other.

Affirming Catholicism has previously welcomed the idea of an Anglican Covenant as one possible way of healing divisions over Church discipline regarding homosexuality which have fractured the global communion, and Dr Chapman’s paper reiterates the movement’s hope that an instrument which creates dialogue and affirms the progressive elements within Anglicanism might provide a way forward.

The Chair of Trustees, Canon Nerissa Jones, MBE, said:

We support any attempt by the Archbishop of Canterbury to hold us all together. Affirming Catholics are progressive and inclusive Anglicans who value our place in a diverse and global Communion. And that is why we argue that only a covenant which values the role of local Synods, and recognises that episcopal power must be shared with lay people, can win the support of ordinary Anglicans. We hope that Synod will vote to support the ongoing process provided that it also insists that these features are vital to the future of Anglicanism as we know it.

This weekend’s Synod motion, if passed, would give authority to top officials in the Church of England to comment on the draft ahead of next year’s gathering of Anglican Bishops at the Lambeth Conference. Fr Jonathan Clark, a member of the group Affirming Catholics in Synod and rector of the Anglican Society of Catholic Priests, has tabled an amendment to the motion to ensure that the Synod itself – the only elected body in the Church – endorses the Church’s official response to the current draft covenant. Fr Clark has also jointly published an article with the Rev’d Canon Dr Graham Kings, theological secretary of the evangelical organisation, Fulcrum, in which the two affirm the need for a covenant which can build mutual respect and increased tolerance amongst Anglican Christians.

3/ 07/ 07

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 3 July 2007 at 1:04pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: General Synod

Affirming Anglicanism following a politically sensitive - and sensible - via media. Subjecting the draft covenant to a vote of the full Synod would be a valuable safeguard.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Tuesday, 3 July 2007 at 1:34pm BST

_Dr Chapman’s paper reiterates the movement’s hope that an instrument which creates dialogue and affirms the progressive elements within Anglicanism might provide a way forward._

He'll be lucky. If the Covenant so affirmed the progressive elements, would the likes of Anglican Mainstream/ Reform and those who would walk off find it acceptable? I doubt it. Would even Fulcrum find this just about acceptable? Possibly. But that is the point: what difference would a Covenant make. If it compromises the "dignity of difference" Affirming Catholicism affirms, then are they going to do the same sacrificing of people in order to save an institution (that might disintegrate anyway, regardless of this rescue attempt, given the mood and intentions of some)?

In the end, the same problem is the same problem.

Posted by: Pluralist on Tuesday, 3 July 2007 at 2:47pm BST

Alarm is not good enough. It needs throwing out at the first opportunity as wrong in principle (the record is stuck!).

Posted by: Neil on Tuesday, 3 July 2007 at 2:53pm BST

Section 6 mandates the Instruments to determine a "common mind" and "common standards of faith", since they alone "carry a moral authority which commands our respect".

A paragraph which "values the role of local Synods, and recognises that episcopal power must be shared with lay people" AND the proposed amendment must be a bare minimum.

My instinct is still with non-covenanters on this.

Posted by: Hugh of Lincoln on Wednesday, 4 July 2007 at 9:56pm BST

A covenant already exists - and it is called Scripture. An attempt to say we can be in union, 'we' being those who adhere to the original Covenant of Scripture, and those who do not, is patently false on its face, and will fail. Paul warns about those who listen to fables.

Posted by: Paul on Saturday, 14 July 2007 at 5:17pm BST
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