Tuesday, 16 November 2010

What is the Anglican Covenant For?

Paul Bagshaw has written What is the Covenant supposed to solve?

…But what problems is the Covenant supposed to solve (now, as opposed to when it was first conceived)?

First, the unity of the Communion. Sadly, I think it’s too late - and perhaps was always too late. In fact it increasingly seems that pushing people to sign will be the last step in the de facto schism. By going for a Covenant that was acceptable to a sufficient majority of the players in Global Anglicanism the Covenant Design Group has failed to bring enough of the Communion on board.

Second, to provide the framework for future disputes. Sadly the Covenant procedures will almost certainly only work for little disputes or issues exclusively between two parties. And they could probably be resolved in any framework.

Or they will work to exclude TEC and Canada - and then everyone will take fright because they could be next. They will move quickly to dismantle the Covenant - it will prove to have been a disastrous one-shell cannon.

The Covenant framework will not be adequate to any significant dispute. It’s back-to-front: what happens is that administrative structures & agreements work because people agree to make them work. In normal times conflicts flow through, and are contained by, the channels of the pre-existing system: people and systems are in continual dialogue. In abnormal (though not uncommon) times disputes overflow the system and leave it in pieces. Then people coming together, pick up the pieces and rebuild. The cycle starts over again: systems cannot be imposed without assent.

Third: as one more step in a long-term programme to reform the Communion by centralising and reducing the differences between provinces. This goal might well be met, in part at least, by the process to arrive at a Covenant as much as by the document itself. In the course of debate, it seems to me, the previously normative idea that the Communion was a federal structure with central consultative bodies seems to have been replaced by the normative idea that the Communion is a single entity whose centre needs to be strengthened because its component parts are too fissiparous.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 at 10:00am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England
Comments

YES ! I am sure the Anglican 'Covenant' will be able to advise on the use of the amice and the role of the monstrance...

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 at 11:44am GMT

Maybe some see the component parts as 'too hissy-parous'.

Posted by: Dr. Don Hands on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 at 12:47pm GMT

i suspect Paul Bagshaw is right and the communion is already fragmented. I am interested in his ideas for keeping future communication open.Can we learn anything from other world denominations I wonder? The problem of homosexuality affects not only us, but Lutherans and Reformed. How does the World Lutheran Federation or its Reformed equivalent manage this sort of conflict? Or Poorvoo for that matter. The Nordic Churches have ( increasingly) openly partnered gay clergy/ a lesbian bishop/ same sex blessings etc. Questions are asked in Synod, letters sent by Synod boards but is it likely thet the C of E will formally suspend communion with Denmark/Sweden/Finland so soon after establishing it ? And the Old Catholics? Havent heard of official moves to withdraw from the Bonn
Agreement over same sex blessings...all a bit odd it seems to me. Or do we in fact rate our communion with a province like Uganda or the diocese of Sydney more highly? If we do then perhaps we ought to be more explicit about this to these ecumenical partners.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 at 5:29pm GMT

fissiparous. That's one I shall use sometime...

Posted by: Suem on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 at 9:34pm GMT

The problem of homosexuality affects not only us¨ Perry Butler

True, I was impacted greatly by it.

I almost killed myself by acting out in a state of drunken self-loathing--but then, quick as can be, zappo/presto, God took the self-loathing away from me...that was 33 years ago in December, and thanks to God, the Episcopal Church (and a few thousand other friends who supported me in my recovery) I became the authentic person God originally wanted me ¨to be.¨ No twisted Soul, afterall--where did it go? I knew intuitively the ¨homosexual problem¨ wasn´t even about ME (me, me, me), it was about YOU, YOU, YOU! Whew, Thanks be to God, that was a close one!

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Wednesday, 17 November 2010 at 2:59am GMT

"First, the unity of the Communion. Sadly, I think it’s too late - and perhaps was always too late. In fact it increasingly seems that pushing people to sign will be the last step in the de facto schism. By going for a Covenant that was acceptable to a sufficient majority of the players in Global Anglicanism the Covenant Design Group has failed to bring enough of the Communion on board."

- Paul Bagshaw -

If there were to be only one reason for NOT signing up to the Covenant, it would be this one. Schism - big-time - has already happened in the Communion. Evidence of this lies with the existence of GAFCON and ACNA - both of which sodalities have expressed disdain for the life of the Communion as it had always been - based on fraternal co-independence and reliance on the saving Grace of the Gospel.

What we have left would seem to be the Biblical Fundamentalist v the Prophetic Church, which treasures Scripture, tradition and REASON. This would be a very diffult alliance to belong to - for both sides. And anyway, the Global South seems not too keen to join, so why should we fuss around trying to accommodate their 'special needs', when there's a hurting world out there that needs to be loved.?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 17 November 2010 at 8:38am GMT

Wow thanks for sharing that testimony Leonardo. It was almost like reading about myself.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Wednesday, 17 November 2010 at 2:26pm GMT
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