Tobias Haller might have a claim to be the most learned anti-Covenanter in TEC (if he is not, then I haven't come across the writings of the better claimant)! He has published a major talk (lecture?) given in the Diocese of Albany, entitled. Savi Hensman, writing at Ekklesia, as far as I can tell not a member of TEC, so this is not about her claims v. Tobias', tackles the Covenant from a different angle, pointing to the possibility of a different Covenant which would be 'clearer' and 'less divisive.'
I commend both their offerings for consideration. I find each unpersuasive.
Savi Hensman does make a good point that in the middle of a situation of division, diversity and difference, a new form of the Covenant which is more agreeable would be good. But she does not persuade me that what she cites is that new form. It would be most agreeable to those who do not want the Covenant to have any teeth. Some of us do want a Covenant with teeth, though not to devour people with, but to engage with one another in a manner of life which effects change when change is required.
Tobias' Haller offers various excurses which are tempting to digress upon. I shall resist that temptation, not least because if I do not, Tobias will undoubtedly come to comment and to point out that I have not focused on his main fare. Catholicity and Covenant succumbs. Tobias comments! (For what it is worth, my sympathies are with the former, and if the latter reads this, Yes, I have started reviewing your book and the project is currently in abeyance).
I think Tobias' core idea in developing his thesis that the Covenant is not necessary is this sentence (H/T Titus One Nine),
"In short, the process of organic development is afoot, it is not going to stop, and reception is or isn’t happening as I speak."
Anglicanism, in other words, is this Christian phenomenon which evolves ("organic development"). Nothing can stop the evolution, nothing ought to constrain the evolution. Some receive the gradual changes as they happen, some do not. But eventually all fall in line with the developmental line the Communion takes. In Covenantal terms, this development neither requires the Covenant nor needs constraint by the Covenant.
But right at the heart of the sentence, as Ad Orientem notes in comment at T19, is a sleight of theological hand: 'organic development' can mean two things. For Tobias it means the development of the Anglican Communion in any and every possible way, even in contradictory ways. For others, perhaps especially those with a keen eye on catholicity within our Anglican tradition, it means development of the Anglican Communion in a manner which is coherent and contiguous with what has gone before. If the former view of organic development is accepted then no Covenant is needed and none ought to be applied to Anglican life. If the latter view is held to, then a Covenant is needed and ought to be applied to our life, precisely to guide us as to what is organic development and what is not.
In the end much as I am tempted by Tobias' excurses (which are connected to his overall theme of Anglican Disunion), and by the steps in his exposition that I disagree with, I suggest the most important thing is not to deconstruct his argument and adjunct arguments, but to ask what kind of Anglicanism do we Anglicans want? What Tobias wants is incompatible with the Covenant. What I want is compatible with the Covenant. For Tobias the Covenant is quite scary but not, I suggest, because it might punish this church or discipline that, but because it represents a quite different vision for global Anglicanism. For me it is quite scary not having a Covenant! Not, I hasten to add, because this church might go unpunished or that one might escape discipline. No. Scary because it would mean a different vision for global Anglicanism was prevailing, a vision in which bit by bit 'global Anglicanism' loses its significance. And with each bit, for catholic Anglicans the temptation must grow to belong to Rome or Constantinople. Or the torture must increase for those who believe in Anglicanism as an alternative to the misconceptions of those other branches.
It is not about the Covenant, in the end. The great issue beyond all issues for Anglicans with a world vision is what kind of Anglican world do we want.