The Anglican Archbishop of Dublin is concerned about the emergence of a two tier Anglican Communion. This is one way of describing what could happen if some Anglican churches sign the Covenant and some do not. But here is an interesting comment to a post on Preludium about Archbishop Orombi's letter:
'On another matter, I agree with Orombi that expressions of regret from TEC have been insincere. They have been attempts to placate the Communion while ignoring what was being asked of TEC. We should have said something like the following: “We're sorry you feel that way. We believe we are right, however, and, since you have no power over us, we will do what we think we must do. We believe that other Christian churches, including Anglican churches, will eventually come to the same understanding that we have. We pray that happens quickly. Thank you for your concern.”'
This speaks to me of a two-speed Communion (with or without Covenant). There are the pioneers racing ahead of the rest on certain matters, and the drag-at-heels who lag behind (and, worse, question whether the pioneers are heading in the right direction).
Quite what these pioneers understand about catholicity is an interesting question. If catholicity means anything at all it means the pioneers in the church (a) stay in touch with the laggards (b) have some sense of accountability to members of the body (c) do not think in terms of who has power over whom but in terms of the health and strength of fellowship between members of the body.
We may applaud this kind of honesty and bluntness. But this is two speed Anglicanism which strains, if not breaks any sense of catholicity as a hallmark of being in Communion.
Is this thinking what is really going on in the mind of TEC's movers and shakers? (It would not be the only comment of its tone and texture which you could find on the internet these days). On the logic of this kind of thinking, should TEC 'consider its position' in relation to the remainder of the Communion? Not because it is wrong, bad, or heretical. But because - if this thinking be the widespread real thinking in the mind of TEC - it is a moot point whether TEC continues to share with the remainder of the Communion what it means to belong to the Communion.
As I reflect further, I think there is also a two-tieredness at work here (again, note, even without the Covenant): on one tier of the Communion, member churches do what they think is right and deny others have any power over them to negate their belief; on the other tier of the Communion, member churches of the Communion listen to what others have to say, and make decisions in the light of what is heard.
We will find, I suggest, that GSE4 is a gathering of member churches of the Communion on a different tier to TEC. Coincidentally they will share a great enthusiasm for the prospect of an Anglican Covenant.