Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Anglican Covenant: new draft documents

Updated Thursday morning

Anglican Communion News Service Covenant Design Group issues communique and draft

An Anglican Covenant - St Andrew’s Communique

Introduction to the Anglican Covenant (St Andrew’s Draft)

An Anglican Covenant - St Andrew’s Draft Text

An Anglican Covenant - Commentary to the St Andrew’s Draft

An Anglican Covenant - Draft Appendix Framework Procedures for the Resolution of Covenant Disagreements

PDF file containing the above documents


Initial press reactions:

Tameka Lundy Bahama Journal New Try At Consensus In Anglican Church

Jonathan Petre Daily Telegraph Anglican Church sets up peacemaker court

Religious Intelligence Draft Covenant text issued

Marites N Sisson Anglican Journal Communion distributes second draft of proposed ‘covenant’

Episcopal News Service Covenant Design Group issues communiqué and second draft

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 6 February 2008 at 1:23pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion

chapter summary of chapter 11 of catch 22 by joseph heller - courtesy of sparksnotes:

Captain Black is pleased to hear that Colonel Cathcart has volunteered the men for the lethal mission of bombing Bologna. Captain Black hates the men and gloats about their terrifying, violent task. He is extremely ambitious and had hoped to be promoted to squadron commander, but when Major Major is picked over him, he lapses into a deep depression, out of which the Bologna mission lifts him. Captain Black tries to get revenge on Major Major by initiating the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade, during which he forces all the men to swear elaborate oaths of loyalty before doing basic things like eating meals. He then refuses to let Major Major sign a loyalty oath and hopes, thereby, to make him appear disloyal. The Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade is a major event in the camp until the fearsome Major —— de Coverley puts an end to it by hollering “Gimme eat!” in the mess hall without signing an oath.

covenant? who needs it? don't do it.

Posted by: poppy tupper on Wednesday, 6 February 2008 at 1:44pm GMT

The new draft has ignored the Archbishop of Canterbury's own response about his own role, which is an amazing act of cheek. To quote from the Church of England Response: "the Archbishop of Canterbury... as the bishop who presides in the Anglican Communion... is a locus and means of its unity... exercises a ministry of primacy that involves teaching, the gathering of his fellow bishops to take counsel together, and determining which churches belong to the Anglican Communion". There's diddly squit about that last point in the new draft.

The new draft also empowers any Instrument of Communion, by itself, to act as enforcer of the covenant. Four police forces on one patch? Or four courts, any one of which can decide to prosecute? Presumably the one they really have in mind is the Primates' Meeting, though they have cleverly written out the all too obvious role that had in the original draft.

All the more reason for it to be thrown out by General Synod, I hope.

Posted by: Matthew Duckett on Wednesday, 6 February 2008 at 3:02pm GMT

Thanks loads PoppyT, I agree, agree, agree. It ain broken so it donna need fixin.

But the real political question is, will these new bases for policing and punishing offer sufficient means to the conservative realignment campaign, that it signs off in one way or 'tother, and settles its malicious campaigning in for the really long Anglican haul? Can this new covenant become a familiar foundation for constantly bearing false witness against all manner of neighbors, as meanly as possible so that they will feel pressured to turn to the closed mean gospel of so much conservative campaigning; and will we as Anglicans come to be defined as those believers who can consistently be counted on, to trade in justice for a special - and especially rigid piety in a hot button domain like sex? - holiness?

Given the bright violence in, say, Jamaica against gay men and lesbians - maybe Gomez might better be preaching justice and gentleness at home, as well as drafting things which replace my mind or heart or gasp body with the instruments of unity. Alas. Lord have mercy.

The real theological question? What bishop or small group of bishops, or entire group of bishps - let alone what Primates Meeting - can I as a believer trust to overrule my conscience, pilgrimage, and interactions with the several academies which inform a modern global reader-believer's journey? So far, I do not submit to any of these relational touchstones as a way of getting to opt out of having to do my very best, no matter what. I'm dearly not inclined to throw my partner or kids (or coworkers or friends or family) into the nearest trash can marked Anglican Conservative Unity, no matter what Gomez or the Instruments might eventually say as to how awful my life definitively is.

Posted by: drdanfee on Wednesday, 6 February 2008 at 3:45pm GMT

Archbishop "Stand and Deliver" of parts of the former Atlantis is not going to be able to ramrod HIS loyalty oath fantasy (of his own mixing) down the throats of fellow Anglicans...since The Archbishop has already betrayed fellow Anglicans by preaching "division" as the "consecration" of irregular bishops in Africa (who cross boundries but luckily not HIS Provincial boundries...yet).

I'm afraid it is +Gomez that needs clarity in his thinking and beliving as his actions harm fellow human beings and betray already existing "oaths" and COMMANDMENTS...selective thinking/beliving are dangerous to fellow human beings...but, most of us know that already without having to sign on any blurred and fading dotted lines.

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo, San Juan, Puerto Rico on Wednesday, 6 February 2008 at 3:54pm GMT

From the draft: "The Primates and Moderators are called to work as representative of their Provinces in collaboration with one another in mission and in doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters that have communion-wide implications."

In the military, they call that mission creep.

The Primates and Moderators are call to pray, study and to be mutually supportive. This is just a more subtle form of the self-aggrandizing tripe whereby the Primates propose to become a Curia.

Just say "no."

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Wednesday, 6 February 2008 at 3:58pm GMT

Further from the draft: "Any such request would not be binding on a Church unless recognised as such by that Church. However, commitment to this covenant entails an acknowledgement that in the most extreme circumstances, where a Church chooses not to adopt the request of the Instruments of Communion, that decision may be understood by the Church itself, or by the resolution of the Instruments of Communion, as a relinquishment by that Church of the force and meaning of the covenant’s purpose, until they re-establish their covenant relationship with other member Churches."

In other words, a request from the Instruments of Communion isn't binding unless it is.

What a load of Humpty-Dumpty, Orwellian doublespeak.

Just say "no."

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Wednesday, 6 February 2008 at 4:04pm GMT

With reference to the proposed procedures.

There is no better example of the nostrum "hard cases make bad law."

This is a perverse, bureaucratic stitch-up designed to enhance the power of a handful of scheming political operatives.

And that final clause has got to be the stupidest thing I've ever read from any international Anglican Communion body. Essentially it says that the Anglican Consultative Council shall decide the matter after the fact. Only an idiot tries to set the rules after the fact.

I thought the idea had been to appoint smart people to the Covenant Design Group. I have yet to see any evidence it was so.

The overall effect is marginally better than the previous load of grasping Primatial poo - if only in the sense that we are no longer trying to make the Primates and Prince Bishops into some sort of collective papacy.

But the net effect is still a bad execution of a bad idea.

Just say "no."

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Wednesday, 6 February 2008 at 4:18pm GMT

Sydney will not want this as she does not use the elements that Christ ordained,i.e. Sydney uses grape juice instead of wine.

It also seems to block the way to Lay presidency.

No wonder they are taking the Lambeth boycott path. Blame it on the gays rather than admit they do not want the Covenant.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Wednesday, 6 February 2008 at 6:15pm GMT

Please read the thing carefully, folks. If one reads it as an expression of desire for punitive measures, I suppose one can possibly see that in one of the end clauses... but look at what's 'gone' from the initial draft. Read it in light of the responses from the C of E and others. I find it strange that the sort of anxiety that I see for example on Stand Firm is showing up here. More attentive reading, please.

Posted by: Jennifer on Wednesday, 6 February 2008 at 7:48pm GMT

"This is a perverse, bureaucratic stitch-up designed to enhance the power of a handful of scheming political operatives." - Malcolm+.

That is also my assessment of the St. Andrew's/Ash Wednesday New Draft Anglican Covenant.

The Anglican Communion would do well, during Lent, to read carefully the collection of James D.G. Dunn's Essays on The New Perspective on Paul, revised edition (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing co., 2006). Dunn's Essays present a careful reading especially of Galatians and Romans as well as of the issues that divided the first-cent. A.D. Church. The whole brouhaha was over boundary issues, such as circumcision, dietary laws barring shared meals with Gentile "sinners", and Sabbath observance, which separated Jewish Christians from Gentile Christians. Paul's ministry was about breaking down the wall that separated Jew and Gentile. Professor Dunn, a Durham NT Professor-emeritus who is theologically very close to +Tom Wright, sometimes draws parallels between the Christian Right (headed, say, by Big Pete in the GS) and the "men from James" appearing at Antioch, while Paul is the strong advocate for an inclusive Gospel. Too bad Evangelicals read Galatians and Romans only from Martin Luther's perspective. +Tom Wright and James Dunn are trying to reconstruct, from the Greek text and other 1st cent. Jewish sources, what St. Paul was really saying, and against what boundary issues he was taking his stand.

Posted by: John Henry on Wednesday, 6 February 2008 at 8:15pm GMT

Plus conservative evangelicals would have problems with baptism making us members of the Church.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Wednesday, 6 February 2008 at 9:04pm GMT

I'm not necessarily against this covenant, however I think the design group has really botched this draft given the number of typos, and the enormous slap in the face to our brothers and sisters in the Episcopal Church in the following phrase in the commentary:

The Archbishop of Canterbury exercises his ministry collegially with his brother Primates.

Since when was Katharine a boy's name?

I also think it would be wise to remove the gendered reference to the Archbishop of Canterbury as 'he' from the actual covenant. It might be 200 years away, but it will happen.

Posted by: MrsBarlow on Wednesday, 6 February 2008 at 9:19pm GMT

I am assuming that "Church" means constituent province, but it is not good for that sort of definition to be unclear in a legal document (as we recently saw with the Bishop of Quincy reading TEC's canons "the Communion of this Church" to mean the WWAC which (dis?)organization didn't even exist when the original language of this canon was composed).

I would also like some clarity of the membership of the ACC -- if it is going to be the primates & their appointees, it shouldn't have any authority whatsoever (the primates having repeated demonstrated their inability to accomplish any good).

Otherwise, I agree with Malcolm+ right down the line -- somebody somewhere has the authority to disaffiliate from the WWAC, maybe. Only a fool would agree to be bound by anything this mushy unless there were a very high degree of trust & the lack of trust is the supposed reason for this Covenant. If there is any good here (other than it is not quite as bad as the last go), I am missing it.

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Wednesday, 6 February 2008 at 10:49pm GMT

all this discussion simply demonstrates that any covenant will leave us worse off than before. by discussing proposals we are being drawn into tacit acceptance of the possibility. we should simply argue the case against a covenant of any kind.

Posted by: poppy tupper on Thursday, 7 February 2008 at 8:46am GMT

My first reaction to :
“(1.2.4) to ensure that biblical texts are handled faithfully, respectfully, comprehensively and coherently, primarily through the teaching and initiative of bishops and synods, and building on habits and disciplines of Bible study across the Church and on rigorous scholarship, believing that scriptural revelation continues to illuminate and transform individuals, cultures and societies;”

The framework document of the Global South Catechism has a far more catholic understanding of the responsibility of ALL the faithful when it comes to the interpretation of scripture – it even says rather naughtily that people should study the scripture themselves so that they are not in thrall to their local bishop’s interpretation!

“Bishops and synods” should read “bishops IN synods” …… Oh dear so much, just so much ....

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Thursday, 7 February 2008 at 9:11am GMT

A second thought, if I may. The Church of England response wanted this written in to the covenant:

"[We commit ourselves] to refrain from intervening in the life of other Anglican churches (sc. provinces) except in extraordinary circumstances where such intervention has been specifically authorised by the relevant Instruments of Communion."

It wasn't. I wonder why?


Posted by: Matthew Duckett on Thursday, 7 February 2008 at 9:52am GMT

Drexel Gomez should have resigned from, or been removed from, the Design Group after he participated in the Kenya consecrations of Attwood and Murdoch last August. Ne no longer has the integrity to participate in, let alone chair, an already highly suspect process.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Thursday, 7 February 2008 at 10:42am GMT

"[We commit ourselves] to refrain from intervening in the life of other Anglican churches (sc. provinces) except in extraordinary circumstances where such intervention has been specifically authorised by the relevant Instruments of Communion."

Might it be that some members of both the CofE and the GS can see what's coming?

Posted by: kieran crichton on Thursday, 7 February 2008 at 12:40pm GMT

Hugely significant is the comment that just 13 Churches (I’m not too keen on Provinces!) found the interest/time/resources to respond to the Nassau Draft.

Among those responding we are told: “both the idea of covenant and the usefulness of the term “covenant” were questioned”

Yet the Commentary to the draft strangely then concludes “all signalled a willingness to move forward, despite various questions and concerns, and a clear mandate was given to this meeting of the CDG.”

I have commented on earlier threads that one of the principle problems apparatchiks at Lambeth and the ACO experience is the (sometimes almost total) lack of response when they attempt a consultation amongst the family of Churches. This has not gone unnoticed by those who are in ecumenical dialogue with the ACO.

There has been a demand from these quarters that the “processes of reception” are more clearly defined and that the locus of authority within the Anglican Communion is more easily identified so that the reception process can be seen to be working and that agreements can be seen to have some standing. They have indeed asked that the Anglican Communion behave more like A Church.

The Anglican Communion Office is used to finessing this lack of response and assuming agreement and is ever more keen to do so on this occasion as it attempts to create A Church. Presumably consultation will be superfluous then.

A third of Anglican churches reply, there are some who question the whole process – yet somehow and from somewhere the Covenant Design Group has a gold plated mandate. No sir, not so!

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Thursday, 7 February 2008 at 3:37pm GMT

Listen to Jennifer, friends, and then go back, read and reflect. I am still unconvinced that we need a covenant, but if the Communion as a whole eventually agrees that we should, then this draft, and its differences from the previous one, should be weighed up as dispassiontely as possible, rather than provoking knee-jerk reactions.

Posted by: Eamonn on Thursday, 7 February 2008 at 3:59pm GMT

This seeming improvements from the previous draft to this draft are only cosmetic.

The bizarre provision for the ACC to decide post facto that some particular action means that people have expelled themselves is simply the stupidest clause I've ever read in a legal document, draft or otherwise.

The curial - indeed, quasi-papal - authority handed to the Primates collectively is not diminished, merely disguised.

Just say "no."

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Thursday, 7 February 2008 at 5:47pm GMT

Martin Reynolds raises a good question regarding "responses" and their representation. We discussed this at length. It is interesting that the majority of formal provincial responses came from Western churches where both the habit and capacity for discursive meetings of church officials, leaders, and representatives are well-rooted, and where English is a first language. Many Provinces in Africa and Asia, on the other hand, were able to offer only informal responses, usually conveyed through other means (Primates, representatives on other international commissions, etc.) than Provincial synods or committees. Are these informal responses accurate (they were largely quite positive)? That is hard to say, although it is what we have to go on. But the need for greater clarity on this score is one reason why every bishop at the Lambeth Conference will have a concrete and well-specified opportunity to provide written comments on the current draft, and why these comments will be taken very seriously at the next meeting of the Design Group. Further, it is why the post-Lambeth draft will be offered to the Provinces with a greater opportunity, both in terms of schedule and direction, to gather the fullest response possible.

Posted by: Ephraim Radner on Thursday, 7 February 2008 at 7:18pm GMT

"There has been a demand from these quarters that the “processes of reception” are more clearly defined and that the locus of authority within the Anglican Communion is more easily identified so that the reception process can be seen to be working and that agreements can be seen to have some standing. They have indeed asked that the Anglican Communion behave more like A Church."

Then, I say, that is THEIR problem, not ours. The Anglican Communion is not a is a brotherly/sisterly bond among autonomous churches with a common history. They should be seeking reception with each of the churches, not with the communion.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Thursday, 7 February 2008 at 8:30pm GMT

Martin Reynolds --

Excellent point! Of course there is no one person or group who speaks with authority for the WWAC -- that is why all ecumenical agreements have been between specific churches (or provinces), rather than the Communion as a whole (although a "trickle across" theory has often been assumed).

At some place Andrew Brown (IIRC) suggested that he did not think that Rowan Williams really believes in the Anglican Communion -- if so, he is certainly doing his best to see that it does not exist in future!

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Thursday, 7 February 2008 at 8:42pm GMT

Glad to have some comments from one of the Designers. I wonder if the process for responding to the next draft will respet the timelines of the Provinces' internal processes? e.g. the next General Convention for ECUSA is 2009 and the next General Synod for the Anglican Church of Canada is 2010. That would allow for a preliminary response to the post-Lambeth draft. Any reasonable process would allow Lambeth 2018 to take a look before a final version is sent to the Provinces for ratification.

Also, there is a problem with the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury within the C of E. What if the C of E is accused of creating trouble? To whom does the complaint go? I have in mind an actual threat to the unity of the Communion with respect to the introduction of a serious ecclesiological innovation by the General Synod which threatens to tear dioceses and Provinces apart at the seams: namely the flying bishop scheme which has given rise to demands for "alternative oversight". Such an innovation should not have been introduced without serious discussion in the rest of the Communion.

Posted by: Nom de Plume on Friday, 8 February 2008 at 3:03am GMT
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