Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Notes on the Anglican Covenant

Here are some links to keep abreast of responses to the Anglican Covenant.

Bosco Peters offers a robust, reasoned case against the Covenant here. His verdict is, "The proposed “covenant” is not “fit for the purpose” and will not do what so many of its advocates are convinced it is meant to do."

Incidentally, h/t to Bosco, another form of comparison between the former and present versions of Section 4 can be found here thanks to the work of Lionel Diemel.

The Living Church offers several posts on the Covenant:

Catholic Voices: Four Responses to the Covenant (Kings, Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Clavier, Kew).

The Covenant Arrives on Schedule.

Essential Aspects by Christopher Wells highlights important changes in Section 4.

To Arrive Where We Started is an editorial by Christopher Wells. He concludes with these words (written, note, from within TEC itself):

"What will the Episcopal Church do? Of course, many if not most in our church, as well as in the Communion, presume that our church will decline to adopt the Covenant, and that may be true. There is, however, freedom in Christ, and Episcopalians can decide for ourselves whether to accept this mission. The Living Church considers these the minimal criteria of Christian responsibility for discerning God’s will in this matter:

1. Take up the Covenant and read it, carefully and prayerfully.

2. Discuss it in your parish and diocese and decide if you can commit yourself to it and endorse it, as the Covenant Working Group has encouraged.

3. Decide if you will support its adoption on the provincial level."

Finally, it is always good to hear what Ephraim Radner, one of the architects of the Covenant, has to say as the wording evolves. His comments are reported in an article by Douglas LeBlanc. Dr Radner offers these observations about TEC's place in the global Communion:

"Because changes to the fourth section did not reflect what Episcopal Church leaders were seeking, Dr. Radner said, the document helps change that province’s standing. He described it as being part of a pattern, along with the ecumenical dialogues of the Anglican–Roman Catholic International Commission and the recent meeting of the Archbishop of Canterbury with Pope Benedict XVI.

“You take this, with the restarting of the ARCIC dialogue and what Rowan was engaged in at Rome, and there is a shift going on, and that shift is leaving the Episcopal Church behind,” he said. “There’s nothing the Episcopal Church can do about it at this point.”

While acknowledging the archbishop’s explanation that the Covenant is “not going to be a penal code for punishing people who don’t comply,” Dr. Radner said of Episcopal Church leaders: “They’re not going to be able to claim any moral high ground. They’ve been sidelined.”

Those leaders are not being shown the exit, he said, but “they’re on a path that’s going around the side of the building.”

He highlighted Section 4.1.6, which says simply, “This Covenant becomes active for a Church when that Church adopts the Covenant through the procedures of its own Constitution and Canons.”

Conservative provinces in the Global South “ought to be able to go ahead with it,” he said about adoption of the Covenant, “whatever problems there are with this or that detail.”"

Also just noticed, a post by the Anglican Communion Institute.

No comments: