In a completely surprising move (not!) the Archbishop of Canterbury has come out at the General Synod of the Church of England with a powerful, knowledgeable, and clear address in favour of the Covenant!
The Covenant is not what its opponents constantly deride it as being:
'The Covenant text itself represents work done by theologians of similarly diverse views, including several from North America. It does not invent a new orthodoxy or a new system of doctrinal policing or a centralised authority, quite explicitly declaring that it does not seek to override any province's canonical autonomy. After such a number of discussions and revisions, it is dispiriting to see the Covenant still being represented as a tool of exclusion and tyranny.'
As often stated here at ADU, the alternative to the Covenant is continued disintegration of the Communion:
'It is an illusion to think that without some changes the Communion will carry on as usual, and a greater illusion to think that the Church of England can somehow derail the entire process. The unpalatable fact is that certain decisions in any province affect all. We may think they shouldn't, but they simply do. If we ignore this, we ignore what is already a real danger, the piece-by-piece dissolution of the Communion and the emergence of new structures in which relation to the Church of England and the See of Canterbury are likely not to figure significantly. All very well, you may say; but among the potential casualties are all those areas of interaction and exchange that are part of the lifeblood of our church and of many often quite vulnerable churches elsewhere. These relations are remarkably robust, given the institutional tensions at the moment, and, as I've often said, many will survive further disruption. But they will be complicated and weakened by major fracture and realignment.'
The Covenant is realistic: it offers the possibility of something better than division but does not promise that unity in the Communion is easily achieved:
'The Covenant offers the possibility of a voluntary promise to consult. And it also recognises that even after consultation there may still be disagreement, that such disagreement may result in rupture of some aspects of communion, and that this needs to be managed in a careful and orderly way. Now the risk and reality of such rupture is already there, make no mistake. The question is whether we are able to make an intelligent decision about how we deal with it. To say yes to the Covenant is not to tie our hands. But it is to recognise that we have the option of tying our hands if we judge, after consultation, that the divisive effects of some step are too costly.'
Lest we forget: Anglican opponents around the globe protest much about the Covenant. It is not what it seems, it is punitive, it is unnecessary to the future health of the Communion itself. Oh, and by the way, we are Anglicans through and through (and, in North America, we are real Anglicans, not like the ersatz crowd over at ACNA).
Interesting then to ponder this: these real Anglicans, these thoroughgoing Anglicans with the Communion's best interests at heart, know better than the Archbishop of Canterbury what those best interests require!
Given that the Archbishop of Cantebury is the cornerstone in human terms of the Communion, since it is defined in terms of communion with the See of Canterbury, and that the ABC by virtue of roles in the Communion and its meetings knows more about the Communion than any other living Anglican, it is an extraordinary claim opponents of the Covenant are making: we know better than the Archbishop of Canterbury what is good for the Communion!
Yet I am not without hope. In this last week the leading opponent of condoms offered a smidgeon of a sign of changing his mind :) If he can see the light, so can opponents of the Covenant.