We have linked previously to articles by Paul Bagshaw of Modern Church.
See two recent items here.
Modern Church has now issued a press release, the text of which is below the fold. The web publication mentioned in the press release is titled A very un-Anglican Covenant.
Media release: the case against the Anglican Covenant
‘The biggest change to the Church since the Reformation’ is how the proposed Anglican Covenant is described in Modern Church’s new web publication presenting the case against it.
Modern Church, formerly the Modern Churchpeople’s Union, has been arguing against the Covenant since it was first proposed by the Windsor Report in 2004.
‘We have lots of evidence of church leaders and clergy who don’t like it one bit but feel afraid to say so openly’, said Jonathan Clatworthy, the General Secretary.’ ‘We have produced the most extensive account yet of the case against it’.
The main objection is that it will turn the Church from an open one, where Anglicans are free to disagree with each other, into a confessional one where an international committee will lay down what Anglicans are expected to believe.
Arising out of the debate over gay bishops, the Covenant is designed to establish a formal method for declaring Anglican teaching. The immediate intention is to condemn the belief that same-sex partnerships are morally permissible; but the wording of the Covenant allows the same process to apply to any controversial new development.
The authors of Modern Church’s publication, Jonathan Clatworthy and Paul Bagshaw, argue that the intention of the Covenant is to draw a clear dividing line between those who accept the new ‘authoritarianism’ and those who do not. This, they say, has already been pre-empted by the Anglican Communion Office in its decision to exclude the USA from an ecumenical Anglican committee, IASCUFO. Although the USA cannot legally be expelled from the Anglican Communion, the wording of the Covenant implies that churches which refuse to sign it will no longer be treated as equally Anglican.
For the present, the argument runs, proponents are presenting the Covenant as a small matter, in order to persuade provinces to sign it. Once they have signed, the original authoritarian intention will be reasserted, and from then on there will be an international committee with power to suppress genuine disagreement by making official declarations of ‘what Anglicanism teaches’. Modern Church argues that the Church should retain its traditional openness and comprehensiveness and accept differences of opinion as normal.
The text is on www.modernchurch.org.uk/anglicancovenant.