Ron Smith at KiwiAnglo's Blog draws attention to Malcolm French at Simple Massing Priest making a simple point about ++Rowan Williams and the Covenant, namely that he seems to say one thing when talking about the Anglican Communion and its need for a Covenant (for which there is no alternative) and the Porvoo Communion (of northern European Anglican and Lutheran churches) and its lack of a need for a Covenant, in particular noting the latter Communion is able to agree to disagree on same sex blessings.
Ron diplomatically fails to communicate the abrasive nature of French's comments about the Archbishop, but a sentence such as this, "In an intellectual fiddle which should be an embarrassment to any current or former academic, the Archbishop's defence of his pet project makes less sense than Glenn Beck on acid," is not a compliment.
But what is embarrassing is finding people who presumably think of themselves as thinking Anglicans (including Episcopal Cafe which also publishes excerpts of French's post) not thinking about the differing situations of the Anglican and Porvoo Communions. The only fiddle of an intellectual nature going on is in the logic which avoids analysis of the two quite different situations. The Porvoo Communion is a communion which has arrived at a point of agreeing to disagree and has made a statement which reflects that state of affairs. The Anglican Communion is a communion which has not arrived at a point of agreeing to disagree and under ++Rowan's leadership is trying to find a way to live with disagreement. The Covenant is a statement (so to speak) which reflects that state of affairs. If it comes into operation it may yet lead to a situation in which we agree to disagree, not least because it is a mechanism for member churches to keep talking to each other about what they differ on.
If the Covenant does not come into effect there is no alternative strategy being worked out for the whole Communion which would keep us in communion though, as canvassed in recent comments on this blog there are one or two possibilities for a way forward for a majority of the current Communion to be some kind of formal Communion together (albeit based on agreement and not on agree-to-disagree).
A few moments' thought shows that ++Rowan Williams is a consistent leader, adeptly responding as best he can in different situations, all driven by desire to hold as many Christians together in one body as possible. Even as he does his best he is heavily criticised, whether abrasively, as French does, or more gently as commenters here have been doing recently.
Poor guy. Can't win! At least that's what I think!